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Penguin: Adult Hardcover & Trade Paperback Summer 2019

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The Optimist's Telescope
Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age
By (author): Bina Venkataraman
9780735219472 Hardcover English General Trade BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History Aug 27, 2019
$37.00 CAD
Active 6.32 x 9.27 x 1.04 in 336 pages Riverhead Riverhead Books
A trailblazing exploration of how we can plan better for the future—our own, our families’, and our society’s.

Many of us never learned—or have forgotten—how to make smart decisions for the long run. In a world where immediate satisfaction is the norm, it’s easy to avoid thinking ahead. Whether it’s decisions about our health (our chronic overuse of antibiotics has triggered a shocking rise in superbugs that are resistant to them), our finances (20 percent of Americans save nothing for retirement), or our jobs (we slash R&D budgets to improve short-term profit and then can’t keep pace with competitors), we lack the tools to choose what’s best for the future. Today more than ever, we need to know how to make better long-term decisions—for ourselves, our families, and the world.

Bina Venkataraman understands this. A former journalist and senior adviser in the Obama administration, she forged partnerships between government and business to combat climate change, and she learned firsthand why people don’t think ahead. In The Optimist’s Telescope, she draws from her own experience, the stories she has reported from around the world, and research in biology, psychology, economics, archaeology, and beyond to identify the best ways to make decisions that benefit us over time. She dispels the myth that human nature is impossibly reckless, and explains how culture and environment shape our behavior. She highlights the surprising and successful practices that each of us can adopt. The result is a book brimming with useful ideas and insights to help us make better decisions about the future.

A READABLE BOOK OF BIG IDEAS: Like Nudge and When, this is a big-idea book that takes an abstract idea - making big decisions for the future—and gives it real-world value by delving into the surprising ways we can make more effective decisions that affect our future.

AN ENGAGING, DYNAMIC VOICE: Bina Venkataraman brings a wealth of experience to this kind of book and audience. As an instructor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at MIT, she has a deep knowledge about how we think (or don’t think) about the future and what the opportunities and consequences are of what we do. She brings a fresh perspective to her ideas and the examples, and insights she shares in the book are lively and unexpected.

A WELL-CONNECTED AUTHOR: Venkataraman is well known and well regarded in the areas of politics, technology, science, and academia, and she already has garnered terrific pre-pub blurbs from Adam Grant and Arianna Huffington, with more to come.

AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ISSUE: Every day in government, business, education, and beyond, the debates about what our individual and collective futures should be are becoming more heated and more important. This book is a lucid, welcome, and reasoned approach to understanding the future in ways that we had lost or hadn’t thought of before.

Bina Venkataraman teaches in the program on Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and is a fellow at New America. A former journalist for The New York Times and The Boston Globe who also served as senior adviser for climate change innovation in the Obama White House, she is now director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Venkataraman is an alumna of Brown University and the Harvard Kennedy School. She grew up in Ohio and now lives in Boston.

Author Residence: Boston, Massachusetts

Author Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Marketing: Online Advertising

Social Media and Online Promotion

Academic Marketing and Library Promotions

Facebook



Publicity: National electronic media

NPR interviews

National print and online reviews and features

Radio satellite tour

Regional author tour with lecture tie-in



Author Social Media: Twitter: @BinaJV

Praise for The Optimist’s Telescope:

“Most of us only see the future after it becomes the past. The Optimist’s Telescope is here to change that. It’s a rare read that’s as fascinating as it is important. In it, Bina Venkataraman brings together powerful narrative, cutting-edge behavioral science, and the rich experience of a high-impact career.”—Adam Grant, author of Originals

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