Non-fiction Audiobook Review: Falter, by Bill McKibben

Important stuff, but hard to hear.

Title: Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

Author: Bill McKibben. Ready by Olivery Wyman

Publication Info: Macmillan Audio 2019. 11 hours. Hardback by Henry Holt & Co., 291 pages.

Source: Library

(Goodreads): Thirty years ago Bill McKibben offered one of the earliest warnings about climate change. Now he broadens the warning: the entire human game, he suggests, has begun to play itself out.

Bill McKibben’s groundbreaking book The End of Nature -- issued in dozens of languages and long regarded as a classic -- was the first book to alert us to global warming. But the danger is broader than that: even as climate change shrinks the space where our civilization can exist, new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics threaten to bleach away the variety of human experience.

Falter tells the story of these converging trends and of the ideological fervor that keeps us from bringing them under control. And then, drawing on McKibben’s experience in building, the first truly global citizens movement to combat climate change, it offers some possible ways out of the trap. We’re at a bleak moment in human history -- and we’ll either confront that bleakness or watch the civilization our forebears built slip away.

Falter is a powerful and sobering call to arms, to save not only our planet but also our humanity.


My Review:
I'll say it right up front: this was difficult and infuriating stuff to listen to. Can't blame McKibben for that--he's just the messenger. But there's nothing fun about realizing that our society is being manipulated by people who actually believe that there's no such thing as society, only the individual, and that anyone who does anything other than look out for #1 is a misguided fool. Certainly explains a lot, but not in a happy way. It's no comfort to realize the book is already 5 years out of date, and we may have already passed the tipping point.

I will say that McKibben's book helped me to understand a lot more about where were are and how we got here. Climate Change isn't exactly a new idea for me, and I went into this book with at least a vague idea of most of the stuff he brings up on that score. It was the prognosis that got me down. I didn't find a lot of encouragement in the "possible ways out of the trap" that the book offers--because it requires a societal push to do so, and he spent most of the book explaining why the people in control of most stuff (and almost all the money) really don't care. 

I'm going to hear McKibben speak next month. I hope I come away from that with more sense of what can be done. 

My Recommendation:
Not for the faint of heart, but it is educational. It certainly makes it clear how much of humanity's future is hanging in the balance this November.

FTC Disclosure: I checked Falter out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."  




  1. Sounds like a tough, but informative read. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


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