The Good Ancestor
How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term World
One of Britain’s most popular public philosophers introduces the six ways we can drastically change the way we think in order to ensure a tomorrow: long-term thinking for a short term world.
The greatest challenge facing humankind is not climate change, or extreme inequality, or terrorism; it is our inability to think long term.
We are living in the age of now. Businesses can barely see beyond the next quarterly report nor politicians beyond the next election. Markets spike then crash in speculative bubbles. In this right here, right now society, we rarely stop to consider if we're being good ancestors. But the future depends on it.
Here, leading public philosopher and bestselling author Roman Krznaric explains how we lost sight of the future, and introduces the six simple, practical ways that we can change our thinking today to give our children, and our planet, a chance at a better tomorrow.
Praise for The Good Ancestor
This is the book our children's children will thank us for readingThe Edge, U2
Beautiful to read, heartfelt and persuasive The Good Ancestor is one of those landmark books with the power to shift a mindset. One turns the pages feeling a growing compulsion for change. Krznaric’s clarion call for long-term thinking makes him an ancestor all future generations can be proud ofIsabella Tree, author of Wilding
It deserves to be widely read - by policy makers, and indeed by all citizens who care about the prospects for their children and grandchildrenProfessor Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
A great antidote to the short-term thinking that comes easily to us all. If you want to be a good ancestor, start by reading this bookNigel Warburton, author of A Little History of Philosophy
Clear-sighted and inspiring – a must-read for anyone who's looking for the good newsBrian Eno
I judge a book’s usefulness by how many pages I’m compelled to dog-ear and underline. This book on the pragmatics of long-term thinking earned 50-plus dog-earsStewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog and co-founder of The Long Now Foundation
An important and fascinating book that asks whether we’ve got what it takes to become citizens rather than consumers and create an ecological civilisation. The Good Ancestor is a triumphSir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project
How timely can a book be? Roman Krznaric fizzes with ideas about how we tackle that cuckoo in the nest, short-term thinking. We need to think today for tomorrow, to give future generations their rightful seat at the tableLord John Bird MBE, founder of The Big Issue
There’s a paradox about our situation: that there’s nothing more urgent than acting slowly, with a long view. That we desperately, urgently need to become long-termist in our way of thinking and acting. Krznaric walks this paradox delicately, instructing us in how we could learn to think like an acorn or like a cathedral - and helping us imaginatively to enter into the pressing importance of doing so. As a result, there could be few more urgent tasks for any thinking person alive today than encountering this book. Read it: with slow deliberate care...Professor Rupert Read, UEA, author This Civilisation is Finished and Extinction Rebellion Political Liaison and Spokesperson
Krznaric’s seamless and magical prose delights on every page. Let’s engrave his ‘six ways to think long’ across the gateway to every Parliament in the worldProfessor Tim Jackson, author of Prosperity Without Growth
From the seventh-generation thinking of Native American tribes to legally empowered guardians of the future and citizens’ assemblies, Krznaric explores a wealth of ways we can become good ancestors. For anyone who is interested in how we can get today’s society to leave the world better than they found it – this is your guideSophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales
Krznaric asks the defining moral question for our age: how will future generations look back on our legacy? A superb intellectual history and razor-sharp analysis of contemporary politics, this book will change how you think about the world and is a call to action. Read it. You owe it to your children’s childrenKevin Watkins, Chief Executive, Save the Children
With a dazzling range of sources, zinging with ideas, stories and jaw-dropping graphics, The Good Ancestor is packed with information and insight. Every school should have a copy, with its maps and plans on every classroom wallMichael Wood, historian, broadcaster and author of The Story of China
In this persuasive book, one of our leading thinkers Roman Krznaric expands his ground-breaking work on empathy to argue that our only hope of survival is to develop deep empathy for future generations across time and spaceProfessor Morten Kringelbach, neuroscientist, Universities of Oxford and Aarhus, Denmark
A fascinating and inspiring exploration of one of the great relationship questions of the 21st century: how can we extend our circle of care to future generations?John Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus
Roman Krznaric passionately argues that thinking long term would bring untold benefits and may very well be vital to our survival as a species. Lose yourself in these pages, expand your time horizons, and reimagine your relationship to time, to the future, to activismRob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Town movement and author of From What Is to What If