Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Our Final Hour: A Scientist's warning - How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind's Future in This Century — On Earth and Beyond” as Want to Read:
Our Final Hour: A Scientist's warning - How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind's Future in This Century — On Earth and Beyond
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Our Final Hour: A Scientist's warning - How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind's Future in This Century — On Earth and Beyond

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  259 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews

Bolstered by unassailable science and delivered in eloquent style, Our Final Hour's provocative argument that humanity has a mere 50/50 chance of surviving the next century has struck a chord with readers, reviewers, and opinion-makers everywhere. Rees's vision of our immediate future is both a work of stunning scientific originality and a humanistic clarion call on behalf

...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 14th 2004 by Basic Books (first published March 19th 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The World Without Us by Alan WeismanCollapse by Jared DiamondWith Speed and Violence by Fred PearceThe Hot Zone by Richard   PrestonAn Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore
Apocalyptic Non-Fiction
14th out of 29 books — 25 voters
Technological Slavery by Theodore J. KaczynskiEclipse of Man by Charles T. RubinCollapse by Jared DiamondOur Final Hour by Martin J. ReesThe Technological Society by Jacques Ellul
Critics of Progress
4th out of 8 books — 1 voter


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 814)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ruth
Jul 29, 2013 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Possibly the scariest book you'll ever read.

For my signed copy, The Good Professor restored the question mark that he wanted in the title,i.e. "Our Final Century?", but the publishers, in their wisdom, omitted. Apparently in US it was published as "Our Final Hour", possibly telling us all we need to know about Americans. I am amazed that someone as erudite and establishment as a Professor and Lord still can't get his book published with the title he wanted.

Putting that to one side, we're still
...more
Krista
Feb 18, 2014 Krista rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2014
I heard about Our Final Hour when I watched Martin Rees' Ted talk on the mounting risks that the Earth now faces, here. I thought that I would be getting a more in-depth treatment of the topics he covered in the video, but for the most part, I had already learned his most interesting ideas. Also, since the immediacy of the issues is a main thrust of the book, it has gone a bit stale already, as in:

Some innovations just don't attract enough economic or social demand: just as supersonic flight a
...more
Brett
Jul 10, 2011 Brett rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to sound smart at parties
Shelves: environment, science
The most common objection to Our Final Hour seems to be alleging that it is alarmist. This stems from Martin Rees' assertion that there is about a 50/50 liklihood of humankind surviving the next 100 years. I guess I don't really buy that it's alarmist--first, because when you encounter an alarming phenomenon, the proper response is urgency--and secondly because, though Rees deals with some ideas that I think have a very small chance of negatively affecting our species, he always takes care to be ...more
Neil Breeze
Feb 16, 2016 Neil Breeze rated it liked it
I was very much looking forward to reading this book with a certain nervousness. It is, in my opinion, becoming ever-more apparant that we are living in a dangerous world. People have extreme views, right-wing political parties seem to flourish and humanity seems to be fuelled by greed, hatred and a painful short-sighted recklessness.

I read this book to get some answers and in some ways, to seek a calm acceptance or even some hope. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly what I had hoped for.

First of a
...more
Kristina
Jan 13, 2016 Kristina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apocalypse
Interesting. Some of his analyses are already easy to see happening. The tendency for the internet to focus and limit opinions rather than widening them by allowing individuals to search solely for likeminded sites and views, ignoring anything that challenges their prejudices, is a fascinating if non-catastrophic proposal.
Overall, this is a scientific book, even if the science being looked at is not mainstream. It becomes increasingly obvious that the author's main interest is cosmology as the l
...more
Peter Ellwood
Hmm. I have a lot of time for Martin Rees’ cosmology work, but I’m not so sure about this one. Neither, so it seems, is anyone else! It’s the very first book I’ve come across which has virtually no Goodreads description, and not a single review. Maybe I should keep similarly silent.

In today’s disaster-obsessed age, it ought to be a sure-fire winner. The book is a procession of all the beastly things that might happen to humanity, whether external, unstoppable events like comets crashing into ear
...more
Leonardo
May 20, 2016 Leonardo marked it as to-keep-reference
Otros escenarios aún más terroríficos proceden de Martin Rees, astrónomo real de Inglaterra. En su libro "Nuestra hora final", Rees describe varios experimentos de lo más catastróficos, actualmente en discusión entre los físicos, que, según él, podrían —si algo saliese mal— barrer no solo la especie humana, sino la Tierra y también el cosmos. Otros científicos opinan que esta alegación carece de sentido.

La Revolución de la Riqueza Pág.108
Cyrus
Oct 18, 2013 Cyrus rated it liked it
This was an interesting and thought provoking book. The author presented a list of the natural and man made ways that humanity and/or civilization could be destroyed. He talked about ways to measure and think about risk, especially risk with very small probability but extremely horrific results. He also talked a bit about the spread of humanity into space and some talk of whether or not life was common or not and how that should affect how we think about the risks we are taking and their impact ...more
Tony Boyles
I was surprised by how underwhelmed I was by the book. Sir Martin's work may have been at the forefront of thinking about existential risk fifteen years ago, but the field has become much richer and more precise since then. I wish there were an updated version to cover current expert opinions on bioengineering, nanotechnology, and superintelligences. Never-the-less, it is a critically important work, and accordingly one I will honor with a place on my bookshelf for the foreseeable future.
Robert
This was a great book on a subject near and dear to my heart. I have no direct descendants so I often concern myself with the fate of our entire species. This book is a great introduction into SOME of the EXISTENTIAL threats to our species and to the entire EARTH. The purpose is not to keep you up at night but to inform you about some things that TRUELY MATTER to our decedents on 50-100 year (2-5 generations) time scale.

It is ABSOLUTELY FALSE that there is NOTHING we can do about these matters.
...more
Kohei
Sep 08, 2009 Kohei rated it liked it
I remember when my brother first read this and I was kind of interested at the time in knowing what it was about. Years later I finally read this book and it is actually somewhat interesting. The author, Sir Martin Rees, talks about how human involvement in this world can cause a global disaster and end mankind. He goes all the way back into history coming up with theories based on evidence on how the mistakes we, the government and others in the world contribute to the end of the world. Before ...more
Pamela
The book covers many topics in a broad way, while not getting into any good depth. Despite the title the last few chapters are hopeful, as they look at the possibility of alien life or our potential to get off the planet where we reside. Written over ten years ago now, this is surprisingly not a dated book at all, still quite relevant, with a few exceptions of course. Just an okay book, not stunning or revelatory; more for someone just getting into the topics of how humans can fail big. If you h ...more
Sky
Oct 13, 2011 Sky rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. The author makes a good case for how the realities of technology, science, and advancements should be weighed and planned for in the effects, repercussions, and consequences of our relentless pursuit for "what's next". Essentially the heart of the book is a discussion in asking "are we creating more problems than solutions with our advancements of technology", and it's something many living int the 21st century should be asking.

I disagree with some of the authors conclusions
...more
Joe Krudys
Jan 26, 2016 Joe Krudys rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Meh. It was OK, I guess. It just felt disjointed and hastily written. And edited. Plus it seems somewhat dated already.
David Walsh
May 28, 2016 David Walsh rated it it was ok
A bit of a drab read. Little new information or thought. Feels a bit formulaic. Thankfully short.
Bethk
Apr 27, 2015 Bethk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doomgloom, nonfiction
This book is identical to _Our Final Hour_, other than this being the UK edition of the book.

It contains a sobering message of how humankind's future may be threatened later this Century - or within the decade, by scientific error and environmental disaster either from unpredictable natural causes or environment disaster caused by human intervention in a system without taking account of all of the consequences.
Taylor
Mar 29, 2007 Taylor rated it really liked it
Great book to read late at night, which keeps you paranoid and not able to fall asleep. This book gives a description of a multitude of events that could all lead to the end of the world before the end of this century. Whether it's advances in nanotechnology, political unrest mixed with nuclear weapons or environmental disaster, make your bets as to which one will do us all in...
Linda
Jun 30, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, 2009
This was a good book to read behind The World with out us. It covers the many things we as people and scientist can do to destroy the world, and discusses temperance in those things. It briefly covers some of the natural disasters that could occur to destroy the earth as well. the odds of those vs the odds of man doing it.
H Wesselius
Good science writers don't always make good doomsday writers. He should stick to explaining the cosmos and leave the speculation to the stock market, economist, priests and the weatherman. His drivel on space travel and mars colonization was sleep inducing.
Lauren
Dec 13, 2007 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Terrifying, absolutely. Scientists who know the most are the gloomiest people around. Read this and you will likely feel as if you are a walking corpse--but the good news is that it will likely make you more motivated to ride your bike around.
Chris
Jul 12, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
I'm actually reading Our Final Century. As the Professor observes during an entertaining TED talk, it was published as Our Final Hour across the Atlantic in order to satisfy the American desire for immediate gratification.

So far, it's very good.
Steven
A relatively short book that gives a good snapshot of future scientific concerns and for the most part avoids excessive scaremongering when covering topics such as nuclear weapons.
Jared
Jul 25, 2007 Jared rated it really liked it
For true pessimists and cynics alike! An interesting, informative look at how humanity is doomed, but with some hope at the end so you don't become a nihilist. Too late.
14
Feb 23, 2010 14 rated it liked it
Could be fear-based propaganda, but I like Sir Martin Rees and will keep an open mind.
Tommy
Feb 02, 2008 Tommy rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecointelligence
Very well written by Sir Martin Rees.
George
George added it
Aug 23, 2016
Adam
Adam marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2016
Tim
Tim marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2016
Martin
Martin rated it really liked it
Aug 21, 2016
Karl
Karl marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 27 28 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Global Catastrophic Risks
  • The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change
  • Millennial Project
  • Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment
  • Sea Sick
  • Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth
  • Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age
  • Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond To The Redesigned Human Of The Future
  • Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order
  • Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming
  • The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview
  • People, States, and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era
  • Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization
  • When the Rivers Run Dry: Water--The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century
  • The Biophilia Hypothesis
  • Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human
  • A Rough Ride to the Future
  • The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era--A Celebration of the Unfol
46749
Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, OM, PRS (born June 23, 1942 in York) is an English cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995, and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004. He became President of the Royal Society on December 1, 2005.
More about Martin J. Rees...

Share This Book



“Some innovations just don’t attract enough economic or social demand: just as supersonic flight and manned space flight stagnated after the 1970s, today (in 2002) the potentialities of broadband (G3) technology are being taken up rather slowly because few people want to surf the Internet or watch movies from their mobile phones.” 1 likes
“The other naturally occurring viruses, like ebola, are not durable enough to generate a runaway epidemic.” 1 likes
More quotes…