Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World Book Summary - Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World Book explained in key points
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Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World summary

Jim Brumm

Restoring happiness, balance, and sanity to our lives and our planet

3.8 (88 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

'Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World' by Jim Brumm is a guide to developing the mindset required to look beyond short-term gains and act in a way that benefits both us and future generations. The book features actionable ideas for fostering a long-term focus in daily life.

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    Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    History shows that people are shortsighted by nature.

    Humans can be pretty good at devising specific solutions for specific problems, but we’re not very good at thinking about the long-term consequences of those solutions. To put it another way: we’re shortsighted.

    Once upon a time, our shortsightedness was beneficial. It kept our prehistoric ancestors focused on the important things – finding food, for instance, and avoiding predators. Our myopia ensured our survival.

    Today, however, it’s beginning to usher us toward our own downfall.

    Between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, humans invented agriculture. This allowed us to sustain ourselves in the long term, but, despite this revolutionary technology, we remained, by nature, shortsighted.

    And when we look back, we can clearly see how this is at the root of our destructive behavior today: humans settle down somewhere and deplete the area’s natural resources, thereby causing their own downfall.

    This is exactly what happened on Easter Island. Once home to a thriving community, the island was decimated by its inhabitants, who made the fatal error of cutting down all the trees. Most of the wood they used for fuel; the rest they shaped into logs, which they used to roll about their giant statues. This deforestation is believed to be a central reason for the eventual dying out of Easter Island’s population.

    But instead of learning from our mistakes, we continue in our shortsightedness, to devastating effect.

    In the 1950s, when faced with the problem of malaria-carrying mosquitoes on the Asian island of Borneo, the World Health Organization (WHO) responded by spraying vast areas of the island with DDT, a toxic pesticide.

    They succeeded in obliterating the mosquitoes, but this short-term solution failed to take into account any of the long-term problems it created.

    Geckos ate the contaminated insects and subsequently died of DDT poisoning. Cats then fed on the contaminated geckos and they began dying as well. This left rats with a reduced number of predators, and as their numbers skyrocketed, so too did cases of typhus and plague.

    Due to WHO’s shortsightedness, the Royal Air Force was forced to airdrop cats into Borneo’s affected areas to bring the rat population back down.

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    What is Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World about?

    Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World (2012) reveals the root of many of the world’s problems: our own short-sightedness. From climate change to rampant consumerism and oil depletion, find out how many of the challenges we face today are the result of our inability or unwillingness to see the big picture. These blinks will set you on the path to thinking about the long-term consequences of the actions we take.

    Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World Review

    Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World (2021) by Jim Brumm presents a compelling case for adopting a more future-oriented mindset and explores the consequences of short-sighted thinking. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers insightful analysis of the challenges we face as a society and provides practical tools for fostering long-term thinking.
    • Through compelling examples and thought-provoking ideas, the book challenges prevailing short-sighted attitudes and encourages readers to consider the bigger picture.
    • The book's engaging approach to complex issues, along with its accessible language, ensures that readers stay engaged and informed without being overwhelmed.

    Best quote from Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World

    We are the only [species] that has the capacity to alter our environment so profoundly as to render it unlivable.

    —Jim Brumm
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    Who should read Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World?

    • Environmentalists
    • Anyone asking themselves why our society has so many problems
    • Readers who want to make a difference to the future of the world

    About the Author

    Jim Brumm has over 25 years of experience as a writer and editor at magazines, newspapers, a web design firm and an environmental restoration business. He currently lives in Santa Rosa, California, where he works as a freelancer and musician.

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    Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World FAQs 

    What is the main message of Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World?

    The main message of Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World is the importance of thinking and planning for the future in a world focused on short-term gains.

    How long does it take to read Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World?

    The estimated reading time for Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World is a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World is a valuable read for anyone concerned about the future. It offers insights and strategies for long-term planning in a short-sighted society.

    Who is the author of Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World?

    The author of Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World is Jim Brumm.

    What to read after Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World?

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