Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ascent of Humanity” as Want to Read:
The Ascent of Humanity
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ascent of Humanity

4.5  ·  Rating details ·  331 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The Ascent of Humanity is a radical exploration of the history and future of civilization from a unique perspective: the human sense of self. Eisenstein traces all of the converging crises of our age to a common source, which he calls Separation. It is the ideology of the discrete and separate self that has generated these crises; therefore, he argues, nothing less than a ...more
Paperback, 604 pages
Published March 15th 2007 by Panenthea Productions
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ascent of Humanity, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Ascent of Humanity

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Ascent of Humanity falls into a selective category of books which has redefined my life simply by the process of reading it. Similar to the breath of fresh air I received when reading Krishnamurti or Arthur Koestler for the first time, Charles Eisenstein is the modern practical philosopher. But to call him a philosopher is to diminish the all-encompassing treatise that Ascent of Humanity is to the modern human.

The modern American culture has persuaded us that everything is ok, whether by fo
David Kano
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it
I read Sacred Economics first. Skipped chapters where he describes his vision for a global shift of paradigms, as it felt like repeat of what he wrote in his other book, only more wordy. Repeats himself a lot in both books, a style I don't appreciate.

I went back and read the chapters I skipped. They did contain some new ideas and information that was worthwhile. If you are going to read one of his books I'd still recommend Sacred Economics over this one.

The biggest problem I have with his visio
Bryan Winchell
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book radically shifted my understanding about the world, our cultures, what science is telling us, language, how we use time, education, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is philosophy with relevance for the world we live in today. Long, but worth the time!
Amanda Avery
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An orchestrated deconstruction of our collective technology-as-dues ex machina wish fullfillment fantasies, weaving together strings of history, psychology, mythology, and physics, in a straightforward fashion simple enough for my comparatively simple brain. However, this is NOT a fast read. The result is an elegant culmination of disparate variables; events, myths, and obsessive fanatical scientism that offers an explain for our current human condition--notably a misguided Cartesian conception ...more
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Every human being on the planet needs to read this book! It is a very clear deconstruction of culture and an explanation of how things came to be as they are. Read it!

Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have given other books five stars, but reading this one makes me want to demote them to a mere three or four stars. My old favorite book (my favorite since I was 15 when I first read it), The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, has just been replaced by Mr. Eisenstein's thorough and articulate work. It illuminates for me why I so enjoyed The Silmarillion, which describes the wonderful world of Middle Earth (which Tolkien always described as our own world, but in a mythical time). In Middle Earth, ...more
Christopher Ramirez
"The best books are those that tell you what you already know." 
                          -George Orwell, 1984

This quote eloquently summarizes how I felt throughout the entire journey of reading this book.  Eisenstein was able to capture all of the subtle anxieties underlying everyday experiences of modernity with astounding depth and clarity. The Ascent of Humanity lucidly shows the crises that have emerged out of humanity's growing conception of self as isolated from the universe, which has be
Alexi Caracotsios
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Half of me wants to praise this book the other half wants to say it was a waste of time. When Eisenstein stays in the philosophical realm he does provide some thought provoking arguments that I believe would be beneficial for most people to think about. However, the thing that bugged me about this novel was that Eisenstein also made claims on subjects very scientific in nature in a way that was not scientific. These claims seemed iffy and ruined his credibility in some ways I believe. All in all ...more
Joslyn Dmello
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Life Changing! Stellar to no end!
if you read one book, make it this one
Feb 09, 2011 marked it as to-read
You can read it online :
T. P. Alexanders
Ready to take your mind for a walk. I have just the book. Eisenstein challenges your every belief. He pushes you to see your life and the world around you differently. Filled with current science the book jumps from fact to philosophy almost seamlessly unifying the two in unbelievable ways.

This can be purchased or read as a e-book for free here.
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I recommend this book highly. It is one of the most even treatments of decolonization of the mind and critique of civilization. Its hopeful note also inspires action, and almost a kind of metanoia.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I could never put it into words, all of this, so it's just as well someone has! It's extremely interesting, innovative, and beautifully written. This book goes through a range of topics such as language, religion, science, etc. - the main issues have affected us through history, and relates each one to us as modern people, while making a study of first world maladies such as addiction and depression. If you feel that you're often acting against your better values or interests, and those of your ...more
Enrique Mañas
Nov 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished
It has a throbbing start.

And then the author starts praising the primitive times. And modernity has been a terrible time, did separate our souls from our body, and we are heading towards the disaster.

And then some bright perks that make sense.

And then again some intentional lies ("English is the richest language that ever happened in the human history").

And then some more bright perks.

And then a furious attack on the Scientific Methods, and praise to homeopathy.

And then I decided to close it, an
Shelley Hartman
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I agree with some of the ideas about the cost of technological and scientific "progress" that have been downplayed by society, and separation from each other and nature causing problems. However, I think the author glorifies primitive culture as a whole and doesn't admit that some of our advances truly are advances. There are positive aspects to so-called primitive cultures like a stronger sense of community, connection with nature and innate spirituality, but I'm not about to trade in my moder ...more
Brian Ishmai Naim
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great Book incorporating many viewpoints to make you think about the current state of affairs in nature and human society. How have humans managed to progress so far, yet stray so far from the true nature of our being? Absolutely fascinating, paradigm-changing read that incorporates many divergent ideas. I don't necessarily agree with all of the theories put forth here, but they certainly get you to think about what you do believe.
James Chin
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A personal brush with death, or even the passing of a loved one, connects us to a reality beyond the constructs of me and mine. Death opens our hearts. Death reminds us, with a clarity that trumps all logic, that only love is real. And what is love, but a melting of the boundaries between self and other? As many poets have understood, love too is a kind of death.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sustainability
Any person who considers him or herself enlightened, or wanting to become enlightened, should read this book.

The very first sentence -- in the preface to the 2013 edition -- hooked me: "For my entire life a foreboding of doom has lapped at the edge of my attention."

If you identify with that, read the book.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book several years ago and have taken quite a long time to finish it. It is densely written with lots of thought provoking ideas. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see the world in a new way.
Frank Hamrick Jr.
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Eisenstein is just incredible. I think he picks up where Quinn left off...or completes things I found missing in Quinn. Without a doubt one of the most insightful books I've ever read.
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. Doctorate level in scope and execution. Incredible. Should be mandatory learning.
Terryl Warnock
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Charles Eisenstein's work is the most important - certainly the most hopeful – I’ve read lately in the "how to save the world" genre. I was drawn to seek out his work because of his article on the artificiality of scarcity, and The Ascent of Humanity does not disappoint.

Books about our doomed world and culture are so abundant in these dismal days as to constitute a category of pain porn in their own right. There are many who can articulate the problems, but few who can identify and articulate th
Kristen Sabol
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The arguments presented in this book are worthy of a five star rating. It takes great bravery and skill to meld together accomplished and respected scientific thinkers with lesser known, new age inspired thinkers representing the best of today's counter-cultural movements. He does this well...though the reader may feel resistant to it as the chapters wind and wend. The overall writing style takes patience, even for those well educated. This is part and parcel of the argument he is trying to make ...more
Nov 25, 2013 added it
I dunno, I listened to the first 3 chapters and he just kept losing me more and more. I'm certainly interested in the critique of symbolic culture and all that stuff, but there's just wasn't enough political analysis in a lot of the topics he was bringing up, and when he mentioned something about the feminine and masculine within us, I finally gave up. I don't want even a hint of gender essentialism in my books, thanks.
Nick Scott
Jul 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Highs and lows. Extremely disappointed in the chapter attacking the scientific method and other parts attempting to lend credence to quack quantum physics, biodynamics, homeopathy and other empirically invalidated "alternatives." While there are some dogmatic scientists, the enterprise of science is a dogma remedy. The author is at his best addressing irrational technofixes and the erosion of social, spiritual, natural, and cultural capital. A mixed bag of a book
Xavier Shay
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A friend once described reading a good book as "marinating in someone else's brain for a while". That is the best description I have of this book. Many challenging thoughts, though a large part of it could be cut. As a rule, philosophers should not try to interpret science. 5 stars if it was half the length.
Mar 27, 2010 added it
This book describes how humanity evolved to a point where separation can no longer be supported. Reviewing the process and steps of our ascent into a separate self identity enabled me to realize even further how the world/Self view of perennial philosophy is precious. It is not a question of belief but more of understanding that the choice is ours to make.
Irma Walter
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's a book that will be remembered in centuries to come. My only regret is that it took me 6 months to finish, it's not an easy read. Nevertheless, it goes into all the aspects of how our lives are being monetised in detail and the conclusions are bold and surprising.
John R Naugle
Nov 15, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: wishlist
I really like how the author of this book summarizes it: "More than anything, The Ascent of Humanity is about how to create the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible." The Peace Millennium looks brighter each day... as I discover works of art such as this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth
  • Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
  • For the Common Good: Redirecting the economy toward community, the environment, and a sustainable future.
  • The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century's Sustainability Crises
  • The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered
  • God Wants You Dead
  • State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible?
  • The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination
  • Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming
  • Left Hemisphere: Mapping Contemporary Theory
  • The Global Heart Awakens: Humanity's Rite of Passage from the Love of Power to the Power of Love
  • Wake Up Now: A Guide to the Journey of Spiritual Awakening
  • Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources
  • Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power
  • The Empathic Civilization: The Race To Global Consciousness In A World In Crisis
  • Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing
  • Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century
  • The Psychotropic Mind: The World According to Ayahuasca and Iboga
Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. His writings on the web magazine Reality Sandwich have generated a vast online following; he speaks frequently at conferences and other events, and gives numerous interviews on radio and podcasts. Writing in Ode magazine's "25 Intelligent Optimists" issue, Da ...more
More about Charles Eisenstein...

Share This Book

“Apparently, boredom was not even a concept before the word was invented around 1760, along with the word “interesting.”20 The tide of boredom that has risen ever since coincides with the progress of the Industrial Revolution, hinting at a reason why it has, until recently, been an exclusively Western phenomenon. The reality that the factory system created was a mass-produced reality, a generic reality of standardized products, standardized roles, standardized tasks, and standardized lives. The more we came to live in that artificial reality, the more separate we became from the inherently fascinating realm of nature and community. Today, in a familiar pattern, we apply further technology to relieve the boredom that results from our immersion in a world of technology. We call it entertainment. Have you ever thought about that word? To entertain a guest means to bring him into your house; to entertain a thought means to bring it into your mind. To be entertained means to be brought into the television, the game, the movie. It means to be removed from your self and the real world. When a television show does this successfully, we applaud it as entertaining. Our craving for entertainment points to the impoverishment of our reality.” 2 likes
“The apparent objectivity of written words explains why people tend to believe what they read more than what they hear” 1 likes
More quotes…