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Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play…
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Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (edition 2020)

by Bill McKibben (Author)

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2138100,910 (4.13)9
Thirty years ago Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now he broadens the warning: the entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out. Bill McKibben's groundbreaking bookThe End of Nature --issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic -- was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience. Faltertells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben's experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We're at a bleak moment in human history -- and we'll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away. Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.… (more)
Member:davidroche
Title:Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
Authors:Bill McKibben (Author)
Info:Holt Paperbacks (2020), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

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I am so late in discovering Bill McKibben, given that his 1990 book, End of Nature, apparently alerted us to everything that we now know to be a) true and b) happening right now. Thirty wasted years later, Falter (Wildfire), gives explanations of how we got to where we are, how catastrophic that could be if unchecked – or even if we do not act decisively or soon enough – and how the tipping point is right now. McKibben writes brilliantly on this most important topic of them all with the confidence of wisdom and researched knowledge of the subject, while still making it clear that we need to act, and change dramatically, right now. He also does this without a preachy anger that lacks the pragmatism possibly needed to get the majority of people onside. It covers morality, politics, business, and the reasons why it is so difficult for the narrow-minded, short term, tiny number of those with their hands on the controls to do what is necessary. Bill McKibben has been called ‘the Michael Jordan of climate change activism’, and Naomi Klein describes this book as “'a love letter, a plea, a eulogy, and a prayer”. I would add that it’s a set text that we should all subscribe to. ( )
  davidroche | Nov 25, 2021 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I’ve been a fan of Bill McKibben for many years, for almost the entire thirty years that he’s been warning us all about the dangers of climate change. So many more people are aware of the threat nowadays, but the learning curve appears to have such a lag time that the world will never be the same ever again. The book is not all doom and gloom, as there is a question mark at the end of it’s subtitle Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? He does offer some hope with the suggestions he offers, but we don’t have the option of filing all this away and doing something about it later, when we can get around to it. McKibben built his 350.org organization with hopes of organizing efforts to bring people together around some ways to proceed, but nothing is a long-term effort to change things, as we have wasted all the time we had for the long term. Changes need to be in the short term and there is no going back to the old ways—if we are serious.

The text on the book’s jacket states it well. “We’re at a bleak moment in human history—and we’ll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forbears built slip away.
Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.” ( )
1 vote jphamilton | Jun 14, 2021 |
The world is screwed. I dont think I'll be around to see it, but it sure does NOT look like this is going to end well. So many things are broken. ( )
  bermandog | Apr 10, 2021 |
Bill McKibben is one of the most active and important environmentalists of our time. His End of Nature, written in the late 1980s, was one of the first and most successful attempts to explain climate change to a popular audience. Falter is a little bit of a different kind of book. Falter is polemic that ponders if humankind is on the verge of a catastrophe that is largely of its own making. Falter is divided into four sections focusing each on climate change, maldistribution of wealth (not only within societies, but globally), the rise of computers (including Artificial Intelligence and genetic modification, which are fundamentally changing the human species), and proposed solutions. ( )
1 vote gregdehler | Dec 7, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was a teenager in the late 1960s when I read Ayn Rand's novels. I was still reading for story and too young to understand Rand's philosophy. I never returned to reread her books. Bill McKibben's Falter has educated me on Rand and the impact of her ideas on shaping the world we live in today.

The list of Rand-inspired movers and shakers is impressive: Alan Greenspan was a personal friend of Rand and people who revere Rand include Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Paul Ryan, Rex Tillerson, Ronald Reagan, Mike Pompeo, Ray Dalio (a Trump confidant), and Donald Trump.

Rand called her philosophy 'objectivism,' which is really libertarianism. It's anti-government, believing there should be no limits on the individual's self-interest and quest to personal achievement. There is no consideration of the needs of others, the people who can't or won't do for themselves, those leeches on society. Don't take limit my rights and privilege for the common good and tax my wealth for the government to give to those people.

It is a philosophy readily adopted by business. Unimpeded growth without restraints is the goal of capitalism. Drill for all the oil and dig for all the coal anywhere, without limit. It's someone else's problem to clean up any mess we create. Too bad if we contaminate the water or air or devastate the land or cause earthquakes.

Right-wing politicians love Rand; don't tax me to pay for programs that benefit the losers; small government is good government. This leads to obscenely rich business owners, like the Koch brothers, funneling money to right-wing politicians who will protect their interests.

Then there are the Silicon Valley visionaries funding research into aging and how to live forever and genetic engineering and the creating of AI.

Are these good things? Will these technologies improve human life? Or will they create a larger socio-economic divide, even a separation between regular humans and improved humans? What would a world without death look like? Would those living suppress the number of humans to be born?

McKibben asks, has the 'human game' begun to 'play itself out?' Has our progress advanced to the point that we are negatively impacting our species? Is continual growth sustainable? Growth in technology, wealth, improvement via genetic engineering?

Can we alter climate change? Will we slow down growth to a sustainable rate? Will we put our effort into renewable energy? We are the only species on Earth that can place limits on ourselves, band together to achieve outcomes that improve our mutual community. But...will we? Or will humanity's future look like the movie Wall-E, brain-dead screen-addicts floating in space while a robot runs our lives?

Will the pendulum be swung away from disaster by nonviolent activism and a WWII era rise in commitment to the common good--fighting for our lives? Our fate is in our hands.

I received a free book from the publisher through LibraryThing. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
1 vote nancyadair | Oct 11, 2019 |
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Thirty years ago Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now he broadens the warning: the entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out. Bill McKibben's groundbreaking bookThe End of Nature --issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic -- was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience. Faltertells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben's experience in building 350.org, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We're at a bleak moment in human history -- and we'll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away. Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.

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