Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There (Paperback)
  • Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There (Paperback)

Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There (Paperback)

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Paperback 336 Pages
Published: 08/02/2018
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Let’s start with a little history lesson: in the past, everything was worse.

We live in a time of unprecedented upheaval. Everywhere there are pressing questions: about the future, society, work, happiness, family and money. 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 divide, as he introduces ideas whose time has come.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408893210
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 275 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


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 practical set of ideas for how the next generation can do better - Jeanette Winterson

If you're bored with hackneyed debates, decades-old right-wing and left-wing clichés, 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'

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

Rutger Bregman is the most exciting radical thinker of my generation. If you read him and you aren’t thrilled, mentally expanded, and infused with hope, call for the undertaker - I suspect you’ve died. Oh - and did I mention he is a beautiful writer too? - Johann Hari, Sunday Times bestselling-author of 'Lost Connections'

Listen out for Rutger Bregman. He has a big future shaping the future - Andrew Anthony, Observer

The Dutch wunderkind of new ideas - Guardian

An excellent read and full of well-told stories and details I didn’t know - Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist

If you’re fed up with moaning, you owe it to yourself to read this book - Evening Standard

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

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

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

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 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

I loved it … Bregman takes an idea you think sounds daft and does a brilliant job of persuading you it isn’t daft at all - James Rebanks, author of 'The Shepherd’s Life'

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

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

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“This book will change the way you are thinking....”

The utopia in the title refers to a series of answers to problems facing the world today and a vision for a more equal society.

This book doesn't contain brand new ideas. Rather it updates established ideas for... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 178


Comprehensively changed my view on politics and economy to one that keeps you sane during this time of trouble. Really easy to read, really worth reading.

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 124

“highly entertaining and thought provoking!”

I recommend this book to anyone even vaguely interested in the concepts of basic income or the 15-hour work week - wether you're a sceptic, an opposer or agree with it. It is well written in understandable... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 69

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