Have you ever heard how a TV news producer decides what the lead story will be? Or how a managing editor decides which stories get the front page of the newspaper? It comes down to this: “If it bleeds, it leads.” Sad, but too often true. With all of this negative news leading, Dr. Bradley R.E. Wright’s book Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World is indeed surprisingly good news!
Dr. Wright notes that sociologist Joel Best “classifies the different types of bad statistics as follows: some numbers are bad to begin with; some numbers get bad as they are passed along; and some numbers are chosen because they are bad.” In other words, there’s just a lot of bad news out there!
But despite all of this negative press, people around the world are surprisingly upbeat. That’s because when a sociologist like Dr. Wright gets a hold of all of these statistics, he can put them into the proper perspective. He looks at the data on a variety of topics:
- Personal finances
- Crime and war
- Marriage and divorce
- The environment
“The trouble with this country is that there are too many people going about saying ‘the trouble with this country is….’” — Sinclair Lewis
Do bad things happen? Yes. Are there some issues that still need to be addressed? Absolutely. Is the world ready to collapse all around us? It doesn’t appear so. Christians should have the clearest and keenest worldview because it’s a biblical worldview. Dr. Wright does an excellent job of helping the reader find the perspective that is realistic, yet balanced.
Economist professor Julian Simons summarized it this way —
Almost every economic and social change or trend points in the positive direction, as long as we view the matter over a reasonably long period of time. That is, all aspects of material human welfare are improving in the aggregate.
I am a Bethany House book reviewer.