Curating Content To Support Learning About Humanity's Transition

The Good Ancestor

The Good Ancestor

by Roman Krznaric
How to Think Long-Term in a Short-Term World
A call to save ourselves and our planet by targeting the root of our inaction: extreme short-sightedness

To be launched in October 2020. Pre-order is available.

Commentary by TLLP


“The most important question we must ask ourselves is: Are we being good ancestors?” So said Jonas Salk, who cured polio in 1953. Salk saved millions of lives, but he refused to patent his cure or make any money from it. His radical rethinking of what we owe future generations should be an inspiration to us all, but it has hardly taken hold: Businesses can barely see past the next quarter; politicians can’t see past the next election. Markets spike, then they crash in speculative bubbles. We rarely stop to consider whether we’re being good ancestors . . . but the future depends on it.

In The Good Ancestor, leading public intellectual, philosopher, and bestselling author Roman Krznaric explains six practical ways we can retrain our brains to save our future—such as adopting Deep Time Humility (recognizing our lives as a cosmic eyeblink) and Cathedral Thinking (starting projects that will take more than one lifetime to complete). His aim is to inspire a “time rebellion”—to shift our allegiance from our generation only to all humanity, present and future.


Roman Krznaric
Public Philosopher | Author | Founder Empathy Museum | Research Fellow of the Long Now Foundation

Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. His books, including EmpathyThe Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained, have been published in more than 20 languages. His new book, The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short Term World, will be published in July 2020, and has been described by U2’s The Edge as ‘the book our children’s children will thank us for reading’.

After growing up in Sydney and Hong Kong, Roman studied at the universities of Oxford, London and Essex, where he gained his PhD in political sociology. He went on to found the world’s first Empathy Museum and the digital Empathy Library, and was also a founding faculty member of The School of Life. He is currently a Research Fellow of the Long Now Foundation.


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