We live in a time of unprecedented upheaval, with questions about the future, society, work, happiness, family and money, and yet no political party of the right or left is providing us with answers. Rutger Bregman, a bestselling Dutch historian, explains that it needn't be this way.
Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilization – from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy – was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a 15-hour work week can become reality in our lifetime.
This guide to a revolutionary yet achievable utopia is supported by multiple studies, lively anecdotes and numerous success stories. From a Canadian city that once completely eradicated poverty, to Richard Nixon's near implementation of a basic income for millions of Americans, Bregman takes us on a journey through history, beyond the traditional left-right divides, as he introduces ideas whose time has come.
About the Author
Rutger Bregman is one of Europe's most prominent young thinkers and has published four books on history, philosophy and economics. His History of Progress was awarded the Belgian Liberales prize for best non-fiction book of 2013 and he has twice been nominated for the prestigious European Press Prize at The Correspondent.
The Dutch edition of Utopia for Realists became a national bestseller and sparked a basic income movement that soon made international headlines. He has contributed to the Washington Post, the Guardian and the BBC. In 2016 he gave a Tedx Talk which he will follow up on with a Ted Talk in 2017.
If you're bored with hackneyed debates, decades-old right-wing and left-wing cliches, you may enjoy the bold thinking, fresh ideas, lively prose, and evidence-based arguments in Utopia for Realists -- Steven Pinker, author of 'The Language Instinct' In this surprising, accessible and often counterintuitive book Bregman explores some brilliant but simple ideas for making a better world -- Brian Eno This is a Read Now book. Nothing dystopian about this one: a young, practical set of ideas for how the next generation can do better -- Jeanette Winterson If you're fed up with moaning, you owe it to yourself to read this book * Evening Standard * Where is the vision, the ambition, the belief? Into this bleak picture drops a book and an author bristling with hope, optimism and answers. Utopia for Realists has taken Holland by storm and could yet revitalise progressive thought around the globe.
Better than that, though, it is not a dry, statistical analysis - although he doesn't shy from solid data - but a book written with verve, wit and imagination. The effect is charmingly persuasive...
Bregman has a vision. And it's a pretty clear one.
The result is a hybrid that's reminiscent of the New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell: lots of compelling anecdotes, backed up with information from an array of surveys and research papers delivered in a tremendously readable style.
But there's also an extra layer of idealism with Bregman, a belief that people are essentially good and that all it requires is a rational analysis of the facts and good governance to make the most profound and lasting changes.
Yes, he is a utopian, but a practical one. He knows there are many problems to overcome, but the first and toughest is the belief that things can change. In that he has made a major contribution. Listen out for Rutger Bregman. He has a big future shaping the future -- Andrew Anthony * Observer * It's a wonderful, well-written book, easily the crispest and least dry explanation of the research and history behind basic income as an idea I've seen in print. The sixth chapter, on the bizarre history of Richard Nixon's 1970 plan for a negative income tax, is worth the price of admission alone * Vox * I was moved and convinced by Bregman saying we might not achieve Utopia but could find solace in working towards a fairer world ... This book is energetic, passionate and rigorously intelligent. His commonsensical ideas deserve to be gratefully welcomed -- Jake Kerridge * Sunday Express * You may not dream the same dreams as Bregman - but he invites you to take dreaming seriously. For that alone, this book is worth a read -- Will Hutton * Observer * This is a book stuffed full of ideas, presented persuasively and pithily, but it is also just a part of the new zeitgeist - which is why it is one for today's dreamers and tomorrow's realists -- Danny Dorling * Times Higher Educational Supplement * The Dutch wunderkind of new ideas * Guardian * Brilliant, comprehensive, truly enlightening, and eminently readable Obligatory reading for everyone worried about the wrongs of present-day society and wishing to contribute to their cure -- Zygmunt Bauman, Professor Emeritus of Leeds University and one of the world's most eminent social theorists An excellent read and full of well-told stories and details I didn't know -- Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist A wonderfully readable breath of fresh air, a window thrown open to a better future ... Bregman combines deep research with wit, challenging us to think anew about how we want to live and who we want to be. Required reading -- Philipp Blomm, author of 'The Vertigo Years' Superbly written, upbeat, insightful -- Philippe van Parijs, Harvard University professor and co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network If energy, enthusiasm and aphorism could make the world better, then Rutger Bregman's book would do it ... The writing is powerful and fluent ... A boisterously good read * Independent * If you'd like to see a fairer world but don't know how to get there, this book is for you. Bregman brilliantly shows how ideas commonly dismissed as utopian are eminently possible, indeed have almost happened -- Ben Rawlence, Ben Rawlence, author of 'City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp' Bregman shows us we've been looking at the world inside out. Turned right way out we suddenly see fundamentally new ways forward. If we can get enough people to read this book, the world will start to become a better place -- Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level A boisterously good read -- John Rentoul * Independent * Rutger Bregman makes a compelling case for Universal Basic Income with a wealth of data and rooted in a keen understanding of the political and intellectual history of capitalism. He shows the many ways in which human progress has turned a Utopia into a Eutopia - a positive future that we can achieve with the right policies -- Albert Wenger, entrepreneur and partner at Union Square Ventures, early backers of Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Etsy and Kickstarter The impact of this book in the Netherlands has been huge. Not only did Rutger Bregman launch a highly successful and long-running debate in the media, he also inspired a movement across the country that is putting his ideas into practice. Now it's time for the rest of the world -- Joris Luyendijk, author of Swimming with Sharks A wonderful call to utopian thinking around incomes and the workweek, and a welcome antidote to the pessimism surrounding robots taking our jobs -- Charles Kenny, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and author of The Upside of Down A bold call for utopian thinking ... Highly recommended! -- Nick Srnicek, co-author of Inventing the Future A short, sharp big ideas book set to make waves * Sunday Express * Superbly written, upbeat, insightful -- Philippe van Parijs, Harvard University professor and co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network Utopia for Realists is tipped to be a bestseller in English as it was in its original Dutch -- Bryan Appleyard * Sunday Times * Bregman writes with energy, verve and panache ... Utopia for Realists will probably be a terrific hit -- Ian Martin * The Times * Bregman has many tightly-spun arguments, case studies, and statistics ... He treats his topic with an accessible style and touch of humour * Western Mail * Bregman's book is breezy, wide-ranging and littered with interesting examples and research. It has something of the flavour of Freakonomics * Sunday Times * Energetic, passionate and rigorously intelligent. His commonsensical ideas deserve to be gratefully welcomed * Sunday Express * A brilliantly written page-turner. It goes into serious depth, without ever feeling dense, as it weaves its way through the challenges we face and onto proposals for doing things differently -- Caroline Lucas * Independent * Fantastic... Bregman will help you raise your spirits and banish your Brexit blues * The National * The questions that Bregman poses must be addressed, and urgently * The New Scientist *