We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

‘A fascinating book . . . Bhaskar is a reassuringly positive and often witty guide’
Observer

‘A fascinating, must-read book covering a vast array of topics from the arts to the sciences, technology to policy. This is a brilliant and thought-provoking response to one of the most critical questions of our age: how we will come up with the next generation of innovation and truly fresh ideas?’
Mustafa Suleyman, cofounder of DeepMind and Google VP

‘Have “big ideas” and big social and economic changes disappeared from the scene? Michael Bhaskar’s Human Frontiers is the best look at these all-important questions.’
Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation and The Complacent Class

‘Michael Bhaskar explores the disturbing possibility that a complacent, cautious civilization has lost ambition and is slowly sinking into technological stagnation rather than accelerating into a magical future. He is calling for bold, adventurous innovators to go big again. A fascinating book’
Matt Ridley, author of How Innovation Works

Where next for humanity? Is our future one of endless improvement in all areas of life, from technology and travel to medicine, movies and music? Or are our best years behind us?

It’s easy to assume that the story of modern society is one of consistent, radical progress, but this is no longer true: more academics are researching than ever before but their work leads to fewer breakthroughs; innovation is incremental, limited to the digital sphere; the much-vaunted cure for cancer remains elusive; space travel has stalled since the heady era of the moonshot; politics is stuck in a rut, and the creative industries seem trapped in an ongoing cycle of rehashing genres and classics.

The most ambitious ideas now struggle. Our great-great-great grandparents saw a series of transformative ideas revolutionise almost everything in just a few decades. Today, in contrast, short termism, risk aversion, and fractious decision making leaves the landscape timid and unimaginative.

In Human Frontiers, Michael Bhaskar draws a vividly entertaining and expansive portrait of humanity’s relationship with big ideas. He argues that stasis at the frontier is the result of having already pushed so far, taken easy wins and started to hit limits. But new thinking is still possible. By adopting bold global approaches, deploying cutting edge technology like AI and embracing a culture of change, we can push through and expand afresh.

Perfect for anyone who has wondered why we haven’t gone further, this book shows in fascinating detail how the 21st century could stall – or be the most revolutionary time in human history.

Reviews

A fascinating, must-read book covering a vast array of topics from the arts to the sciences, technology to policy. This is a brilliant and thought-provoking response to one of the most critical questions of our age: how we will come up with the next generation of innovation and truly fresh ideas?
Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder, DeepMind; Google VP
Michael Bhaskar explores the disturbing possibility that a complacent, cautious civilisation has lost ambition, and is slowly sinking into technological stagnation, rather than accelerating into a magical future. He is calling for bold, adventurous innovators to go big again. A fascinating book
Matt Ridley, author of HOW INNOVATION WORKS
Have 'Big Ideas' and big social and economic changes disappeared from the scene? Michael Bhaskar's HUMAN FRONTIERS is the best look at these all-important questions
Tyler Cowen, author of THE GREAT STAGNATION and THE COMPLACENT CLASS
Sweeping in scope and thought-provoking throughout, HUMAN FRONTIERS is vital for understanding every aspect of Big Ideas: their origins, their role in societal progress, and how we can make more of them ... A paean to curiosity, HUMAN FRONTIERS is essential reading for understanding how science and progress works, and how it can work in the future
Samuel Arbesman, Scientist in Residence, Lux Capital; author of OVERCOMPLICATED and THE HALF-LIFE OF FACTS
The world's big ideas are slowing down, but it needn't be that way. Bhaskar brilliantly shows how we can do better. If you loved books like HUMANKIND and SAPIENS, you'll love HUMAN FRONTIERS
David Bodanis, author of EINSTEIN’S GREATEST MISTAKE and THE ART OF FAIRNESS
Ideas through history often reconfigure our world. But is this vital process slowing down and stagnating? With infectious enthusiasm and verve, Michael Bhaskar addresses these questions by taking us on an exhilarating grand tour of the history and future of big ideas. Bhaskar's inspiring call to arms, shining a bright and unflinching light on the challenges we face, is itself a reason to feel hopeful
Ziyad Marar, author of JUDGED: THE VALUE OF BEING MISUNDERSTOOD
the most important book that I have read in a long time. With a broadside of explosive arguments, superb examples that effortlessly jump from big science to literature and back again, and an unputdownable writing style, Michael Bhaskar explains why our civilization appears to have run out of big ideas. An essential read
Mark Piesing, journalist and author of N-4 DOWN: THE HUNT FOR THE ARCTIC AIRSHIP ITALIA
Bhaskar wants us to believe that big ideas, sometimes seized upon in an instant, propel humankind's progress. The thesis is boldly and elegantly stated; the examples work in its favor. This important book demands our answer
Margaret C. Jacob, University of California, Los Angeles
Michael Bhaskar deftly delivers big ideas about big ideas ... HUMAN FRONTIERS is an admiring stroll through the history of ideas and an impressive display of innovation erudition
Safi Bahcall, author of LOONSHOTS: NURTURE THE CRAZY IDEAS THAT WIN WARS, CURE DISEASES, AND TRANSFORM INDUSTRIES
Michael Bhaskar's HUMAN FRONTIERS is a greatly welcome contrast to both doom-and-gloom and overly boosterish views of humanity's future. It combines a masterful breadth of social perspective with an impressive grasp of our problems and potential solutions. Visionary and convincing
Christine Peterson, co-founder, Foresight Institute
A brilliant, and brilliantly readable, survey of the frontiers of human ingenuity and how we might, just, think our way through the big challenges of the century ahead
Professor Sir Geoff Mulgan, UCL
Full of fascinating stories and surprising insights, HUMAN FRONTIERS is one of the most exciting and thought-provoking books I've read in years. Only a genuine polymath like Michael Bhaskar could write a book as big and bold as this
Roman Krznaric, author of THE GOOD ANCESTOR: HOW TO THINK LONG TERM IN A SHORT-TERM WORLD
A fascinating book . . . Bhaskar is a reassuringly positive and often witty guide
Observer