Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Review : Humanity on a Tightrope

Title : Humanity on a Tightrope ( thoughts on empathy, family and big changes for a viable future)

Authors : Paul R. Ehrlich and Robert E. Ornstein

ISBN : 978-1-4422-0648-9

Through 'Humanity on a Tightrope', two award winning authors - Paul Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein undertake the task of bringing a unique perspective to the global problems that our species is facing - the tightrope that we need to walk from humanity's past to the future. They begin by enumerating the endless troubles we need to deal with and much more gruesome future that is in store for us if nothing is modified - the increasing natural imbalance, climate changes, unmanageable human population and the impact of these in the form of - depleting natural resources, many species becoming endangered, terrorism, insecurity, nuclear proliferation, and much more. We have reached a point where 'our species is endangering its own life-support system and the infrastructure of the rest of the world.'

The well analyzed study of the fundamental problems of homo sapiens due to premature birth patterns and the reasons for the formation of family setup are very neatly presented. This tendency of humans forms the basis of how and why we consider just a few members of the species as part of our family. The stern definitions of 'us' and 'them' based on every possible reasons be it color, class, caste, religion, country led to many horrific times in the history of our species. But now in order to bridge the gap between 'us' and 'them', the 'family' entity needs to be redefined making it more open, broader and generalized. The feelings of empathy and semblance is to be cultivated and are extremely important in order to avert the collapsing civilization. It is high time that we educate ourselves with the basics of empathy that we have lost while being focused on catering to our individual needs. We all need to renew our knowledge of this one indispensable trait which can help all of us in thinking about our common life-planet.

This compact writing is based on science, information and knowledge and the two authors have analyzed the same in such a brilliant manner so as to present the whole intelligence in a palatable, chewable and digestible form. It is very thought provoking, sincere attempt by the authors towards building a global family. The lectures are very well supported by appropriate case studies and anecdotes from the past to further the points that are to be made. They have made use of the findings from varied fields and streams such as evolution, biology, anthropology, psychology and sociology, to name just a few. However, at some points the explanation of situations seemed a little inadequate while on some occasions the findings felt repetitive which could have been intentional to reiterate the same point from different perspectives.


  1. Wow..I'm watching out for this book.Have you read Next?You might like it.

  2. Is it by Crichton? I will look for this book.


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