Monthly Dinner Meetings—It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear


In the year of COVID and fear, it can seem that everything is getting worse. But is that really true? It’s Better Than It Looks (published 2018, paperback now out) argues that by almost all objective measures, life in the United States, and in most of the world, has never been better.

  • Long term declines in most forms of pollution
  • Long term declines in war and criminal violence—even with recent uptick of urban crime, 2020 is the safest year in human history
  • Long term rise in longevity, decline in most diseases
  • American and global education levels the highest ever
  • Living standards, the highest ever (“destroyed middle class” statistically not true)
  • Long term decline in discrimination against minorities and gays; long-term rise in opportunities for women
  • Till COVID, economy in fine shape (“manufacturing destroyed” statistically not true); once there’s a vaccine, previous positive economy trends likely to resume

It’s Better Than It Looks shows than in nearly all past crises, the optimistic view proved far more likely to be correct than the pessimistic view. Optimism is a better guide to life than pessimism, simply because optimism is usually right. One of my goals is to make optimism intellectually respectable again—right now the Ivy League, New York Times etc. tolerate only alarmists and doomsayers.

The lesson learned is that for today’s really troubling issues – climate change, inequality, the virus – the optimistic view is likely to prove correct. For that reason, we should not fear reforms. Historically, most reforms have had the positive result of making the world better.

It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook Cover review, New York Times Book Review; feature stories on NPR, BBC and in the New Yorker; starred reviews; "masterly" the Wall Street Journal; "excellent" Walter Isaacson.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about past crises
  • Understand why optimism is better than pessimism
  • Obtain a positive outlook on the future

About the Speaker

Gregg Easterbrook

Gregg Easterbrook

Gregg Easterbrook is the author of eleven books, including the New York Times bestseller It’s Better Than It Looks. He has been a staff writer, national correspondent or contributing editor of The Atlantic for nearly 40 years. Easterbrook has written for the New Yorker, Science, Wired, Harvard Business Review, the Washington Monthly, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He was a fellow in economics, then in government studies, at the Brookings Institution, and a fellow in international affairs at the Fulbright Foundation. In 2017 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

About The Monthly Dinner Meetings

The PMIWDC Monthly Dinner Meetings are held at the Sheraton Tysons (8661 Leesburg Pike, Tysons, VA 22182), typically on the third Tuesday of each month (subject to change due to holidays and venue/speaker availability). Members and non-members are welcome to join us for the best speakers and networking the Washington, DC area has to offer.

The presentations are educational and informative to those professionals operating in the field of project management and functioning in leadership roles in industry and government. It is also of great value to those looking to step into the field of Project Management and begin their certification process. Each event will present specific learning points focusing on building a talent triangle of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management skills, unique to the presenter's area of expertise and the subject matter discussed while directly relating to improving the practice of managing projects and leading others. At each Monthly Chapter Event certified PMPs can earn 1 Professional Development Unit (PDU).

Please note: At this time, all PMIWDC Monthly Dinner Meetings are virtual due to COVID-19. Please visit the event calendar for upcoming dates and details.

Event Details

Date & Time

15 December 2020

7:30 PM - 8:30 PM (EST-05:00)


Virtual Meeting