Summary of Countdown

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Countdown book summary


9 Overall

10 Importance

8 Innovation

8 Style


Journalist Alan Weisman issues a storm warning against the dangers of overpopulation and environmental destruction. His narrative, based on astounding reporting, circles through nearly every corner of the planet. He explores the ways people are coping with life that is becoming increasingly less sustainable. Humanity now lives in an era when the art of survival means mastering the compulsion to consume. “Less is more” has never been so true. Moreover, technology is not the solution, and the belief that growth can cure bad financial habits is wrong. While “demography isn’t destiny,” Weisman urges individuals and governments to act more aggressively to find a proper balance between the environment and humankind. getAbstract recommends his deeply informed argument – based on fostering a more refined sense of what it means to be human – to policy makers, legislators, activists and citizens seeking a clear presentation of arguments against consumption and population growth.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How population growth is increasingly undermining human existence,
  • Why technological advances alone cannot save society and
  • How to live in a fragile ecosystem.

About the Author

Prize-winning journalist Alan Weisman also wrote the New York Times bestseller The World Without Us. He teaches at the University of Arizona.



Four Questions
Consider four central questions in the face of looming human overpopulation: What’s the maximum population the Earth can sustain without destroying humanity? What’s the most effective way to teach people that they must address overpopulation...

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