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But What If We're Wrong?

Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


New York Times bestselling author Chuck Klosterman asks questions that are profound in their simplicity: How certain are we about our understanding of gravity? How certain are we about our understanding of time? What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today? How seriously should we view the content of our dreams? How seriously should we view the content of television? Are all sports destined for extinction? Is it possible that the greatest artist of our era is currently unknown (or—weirder still—widely known, but entirely disrespected)? Is it possible that we “overrate” democracy? And perhaps most disturbing, is it possible that we’ve reached the end of knowledge?

Klosterman visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who'll perceive it as the distant past. Kinetically slingshotting through a broad spectrum of objective and subjective problems, But What If We’re Wrong? is built on interviews with a variety of creative thinkers—George Saunders, David Byrne, Jonathan Lethem, Kathryn Schulz, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, Junot Díaz, Amanda Petrusich, Ryan Adams, Nick Bostrom, Dan Carlin, and Richard Linklater, among others—interwoven with the type of high-wire humor and nontraditional analysis only Klosterman would dare to attempt. It’s a seemingly impossible achievement: a book about the things we cannot know, explained as if we did. It’s about how we live now, once “now” has become “then.”

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 18, 2016 – Klosterman (I Wear the Black Hat) conducts a series of intriguing thought experiments in this delightful new book about how we conceive of the future. He begins with a conundrum virtually all writers contemplate at some point: why do some writers achieve literary immortality while others are totally forgotten? From there, he works through similar questions with respect to rock music and then shifts to wondering which of our established scientific principles might be replaced in the centuries to come. This is pop philosophy, but Klosterman takes it seriously enough to bring in heavyweight experts such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and George Saunders. Klosterman also considers the long-term viability of the NFL and team sports in general. He asks, supposing that the ancient Egyptians had TV, which of their TV shows would interest us most the Egyptian Breaking Bad? He argues that we'd want the most realistic portrait of society possible, and that level of realism is only achieved unintentionally. As usual, Klosterman's trademark humor and unique curiosity propel the reader through the book. He remains one of the most insightful critics of pop culture writing today and this is his most thought-provoking and memorable book yet.

Customer Reviews

Small town columnist

A book that pondered, probed and posed what people way into the future would think of how we make our ways through life today. A great book and in the end, I too am not afraid of the future. I just hope that it isn't exactly like yesterday.

Thought Provoking

Interesting book that provokes the mind to think. Original thought is better than being force fed information from all the various sources that are injected in our day to day lives. Whether you agree with the content of this book or not doesn't really matter as it pushes you to think.

So What if We're Wrong?

3 stars = worth reading on my scale. I have 1 general criticism for this booked it is: I found it a bit too heavy on examples once the point had been made; this was especially so for the sections on literature and music. As for the book I was expecting,I would have liked reading MORE about the potential ramifications of what happens in the wake of realizing we've been wrong (i.e. more Copernican Revolution-type stuff).

But What If We're Wrong?
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Jun 07, 2016
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings