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Book Recommendations

The Good Ancestor by Roman Krznaric

April 2023
— Reading Time: 2 minutes

Have you ever wanted to read a book that challenged your thinking and persuaded you to think more long term? The premise of this book is that the most important question we can ask ourselves individually, and collectively, is, ‘How can we be good ancestors?’ What this question demands us to consider is, ‘How can we live in such a way that future generations will speak of our wisdom?’

Roman Krznaric (pronounced kriz-NAR-ik) is a renowned philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. He is particularly known for his work on empathy and long-term thinking. After growing up in Sydney and Hong Kong he is currently the Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing. Roman is also the co-founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum.

In reading this book, Krznaric’s writing spoke powerfully and directly to me – he made me think in different ways.  He helped me, as the sub-title of his book suggested it would, ‘to think long term in a short-term world.’

His six ways to think long so that we can give future generations, and our planet, a better chance at tomorrow include: Deep-time humility, Legacy mindset, Intergenerational justice, Cathedral thinking, Holistic forecasting, and Transcendent goals.

Sprinkled with stories and uplifting examples of times across history when humans have embraced long-term thinking Krznaric provides us with hope, inspiration, and strategies to truly look after our world and leave it a better place for our children’s children.

I will leave you with an inspiring tip that is incredibly powerful in its simplicity. To help us consider future generations and to encourage us to think long or in ‘deep-time’, simply place a zero in front of the year every time you write the date.  So today’s year is really 02023 – suddenly we can imagine and empathise tens of thousands of years into the future!

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