Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World Book Summary - Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World summary

Jim Brumm

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

4 (75 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.

Table of Contents

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

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    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.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World?

    Key ideas in Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    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.

    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
    example alt text

    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.

    Categories with Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World

    Book summaries like Long-Term Thinking for a Short-Sighted World

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial