In Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Wright asserts that, ever since the primordial ooze, life has followed a basic pattern. Organisms and human societies alike have grown more complex by mastering the challenges of internal cooperation. Wright's narrative ranges from fossilized bacteria to vampire bats, from stone-age villages to the World Trade Organization, uncovering such surprises as the benefits of barbarian hordes and the useful stability of feudalism. Here is history endowed with moral significance–a way of looking at our biological and cultural evolution that suggests, refreshingly, that human morality has improved over time, and that our instinct to discover meaning may itself serve a higher purpose. Insightful, witty, profound, Nonzero offers breathtaking implications for what we believe and how we adapt to technology's ongoing transformation of the world.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a breathtaking re-examination of the past, and a visionary look forward.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The night of October 30, 1995, was like no other in Canadian history. The young, modern nation that the UN Human Development Index had ranked #1 for the two previous years now faced its greatest challenge: the possibility of fracturing as Quebecers made a fateful decision—whether to separate from Canada—in a referendum that pollsters estimated would be as close as close could be.
The Quebec-sovereignist juggernaut that began with the creation of the Parti Quebecois in 1968 climaxed in the provincial referendum on October 30th. On that extraordinary evening, Canadians from all walks of life, in every region of the country, sat glued to their television screens as polling results trickled in from across Quebec. Unlike the 1980 referendum, when the victory of the federalist No vote led by Pierre Trudeau was a foregone conclusion, the 1995 race was a dead heat. All evening, the returns pitched and rolled, and anxious Canadians pitched and rolled along with them. In the end, the No vote won by the narrowest of margins, 50.58% to 49.42%. This was no euphoric victory, no easy vindication of Sir John A. Macdonald's federalist dream. Never before had the country come face to face with its own imminent extinction.
In The Night Canada Stood Still, Robert Wright revisits the drama and intrigue that brought Quebecers, and indeed all Canadians, to the very edge of this watershed event.
From one of America’s greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.
Robert Wright famously explained in The Moral Animal how evolution shaped the human brain. The mind is designed to often delude us, he argued, about ourselves and about the world. And it is designed to make happiness hard to sustain.
But if we know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, what do we do? Wright locates the answer in Buddhism, which figured out thousands of years ago what scientists are only discovering now. Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly—and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people.
In Why Buddhism is True, Wright leads readers on a journey through psychology, philosophy, and a great many silent retreats to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age. At once excitingly ambitious and wittily accessible, this is the first book to combine evolutionary psychology with cutting-edge neuroscience to defend the radical claims at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. With bracing honesty and fierce wisdom, it will persuade you not just that Buddhism is true—which is to say, a way out of our delusion—but that it can ultimately save us from ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
In this fascinating portrait of an unusual relationship between two enigmatic world leaders, author and historian Robert Wright brings to life three days of Canadian politics played out on the international stage. In a revealing look at both leaders’ personalities and political ideologies, Wright shows how these two towering figures—despite their official positions as allies of rival empires—determinedly refused to exist merely as handmaidens to the United States and forged a long-lasting relationship.
Many of this volume's contributors draw upon newly declassified sources and original interviews, providing unique insight into the historical, economic, and political realities affecting the Canada-Cuba connection. Featuring twelve original essays by a variety of scholars as well as a short memoir by former Canadian Ambassador to Cuba, Mark Entwistle, this important interdisciplinary collection calls into question past understandings of the Canadian-Cuban relationship. It is a must-read for anyone interested in Canadian and Cuban history of the last half-century, and the dynamics of North American politics more broadly.
On January 26, 1976, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau became the first leader of a NATO country to visit Cuba since the crippling 1960 American economic embargo. Three Nights in Havana is a fascinating portrait of an unusual relationship between two enigmatic world leaders, Pierre Trudeau and Fidel Castro. In a revealing look at both leaders’ personalities and political ideologies, Wright shows how these two towering figures—despite their official positions as allies of rival empires—determinedly refused to exist merely as handmaidens to the United States and forged a long-lasting relationship.
The world watched with fear in November 1979 when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. As the city exploded in a fury of revolution, few knew about the six American embassy staff who had escaped into hiding. In Our Man in Tehran, Robert Wright tells the story behind a major historical flashpoint, a story of cloak-and-dagger intrigue, the stuff of John le Carré and Frederick Forsyth made real.
A Hill-Times Best Book of the Year
Nearly twenty years after his death and more than thirty since his retirement from active politics, Pierre Elliott Trudeau is at long last receding from the lived memory of Canadians. But despite the distance of time, he still holds court in the minds of many, and today his son Justin now lives at 24 Sussex Drive, his own man, though still a Trudeau holding Canada’s highest office.
Trudeaumania is about Pierre Trudeau’s rise to power in 1968. This is a story we thought we knew—the epic saga of the hipster Montrealer who drove up to Ottawa in his Mercedes in 1965, wowed the country with his dictum that “the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation,” rocked the new medium of television like no one since JFK, and in scant months rode the crest of Canadians’ Centennial-era euphoria into power. This is Canada’s own Camelot myth. It embodies the quirkiness, the passion and the youthful exuberance we ascribe to the 1960s even now. Many of us cherish it. Unfortunately, it is almost entirely wrong. In 1968 Trudeau put forward his vision for Canada’s second century, without guile, without dissembling and without a hard sell. Take it or leave it, he told Canadians. If you do not like my ideas, vote for someone else. We took it.
By bestselling and award-winning author Robert Wright, Trudeaumania sets the record straight even as it illuminates this important part of our history and shines a light on our future.