But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman
Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past

81%

9 Critic Reviews

Replete with lots of nifty, whimsical footnotes, this clever, speculative book challenges our beliefs with jocularity and perspicacity.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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.
 

About Chuck Klosterman

See more books from this Author
Chuck Klosterman is the New York Times bestselling author of seven previous books, including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs; Eating the Dinosaur; Killing Yourself to Live; and The Visible Man. His debut book, Fargo Rock City, was the winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. He has written for GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Believer, and The Onion A.V. Club. He currently serves as “The Ethicist” for the New York Times Magazine and writes about sports and popular culture for ESPN.
 
Published June 7, 2016 by Penguin Books. 287 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference, History. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jun 26 2016
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for But What If We're Wrong?
All: 9 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Mar 14 2016

Replete with lots of nifty, whimsical footnotes, this clever, speculative book challenges our beliefs with jocularity and perspicacity.

Read Full Review of But What If We're Wrong?: Thi... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Aug 12 2016

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.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Jim Holt on Jun 29 2016

So this book left me exasperated. But it never left me bored. Reading it is a bit like being at a dinner party where a smart and opinionated guest is squiffily holding forth, in an almost stream-of-­consciousness mode, on everything from the future of football to the dangers of unfriendly A.I...

Read Full Review of But What If We're Wrong?: Thi... | See more reviews from NY Times

Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Brigitte Frase on Jun 07 2016

Klosterman concludes, ending with the unanswerable questions he started with. He writes with self-deprecating humor in an endearingly informal style that makes his philosophical inquiries easy to read.

Read Full Review of But What If We're Wrong?: Thi... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Jim Holt on Jun 29 2016

So this book left me exasperated. But it never left me bored. Reading it is a bit like being at a dinner party where a smart and opinionated guest is squiffily holding forth, in an almost stream-of-­consciousness mode, on everything from the future of football to the dangers of unfriendly A.I...

Read Full Review of But What If We're Wrong?: Thi... | See more reviews from NY Times

The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Jun 08 2016

“But What If We’re Wrong?” is a well-written and utterly engaging intellectual exercise - frothy and funny, yet thoughtful and possessed of surprising depth. It’s another outstanding offering from the mind of Chuck Klosterman.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Good
Reviewed by Will Ashton on Jul 10 2016

...always crackling with the writer’s signature wit, and never afraid to give hopeless meditations to mull upon, it’s still a fun exercise in futility. If that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right

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20Something Reads

Good
Reviewed by Ron Kaplan on Jun 22 2016

It’s difficult to get through BUT WHAT IF WE’RE WRONG?, not because it isn’t fascinating, but because it is. I predict the reader will have to stop on numerous occasions to consider the points Klosterman is trying to make, which can lead down a rabbit hole to further mind-numbing possibilities.

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https://bookpage.com

Above average
Reviewed by Henry L. Carrigan Jr. on Jun 07 2016

...mischievously poses these questions about many aspects of culture and science in an effort to get us to consider the relative character of all knowledge.

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Reader Rating for But What If We're Wrong?
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