The subtitle of Chuck Klosterman's book is "Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past", but don't get scared by that phrase circling around in your head. Klosterman's book is an entertaining look at that premise and covers topics such as the future of football, earthquake possibilities and what musician is most likely to stand the test of time. A quick read, despite the intellectually ambitious subject.
— Len, Chicago ORD
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.”
About the Author
Chuck Klosterman is the bestselling author of seven books of nonfiction (including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and I Wear the Black Hat) and two novels (Downtown Owl and The Visible Man). He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Guardian, The Believer, Billboard, The A.V. Club, and ESPN. Klosterman served as the Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine for three years, appeared as himself in the LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits, and was an original founder of the website Grantland with Bill Simmons.
“Full of intelligence and insights, as the author gleefully turns ideas upside down to better understand them.... This book will become a popular book club selection because it makes readers think. Replete with lots of nifty, whimsical footnotes, this clever, speculative book challenges our beliefs with jocularity and perspicacity.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“Klosterman conducts a series of intriguing thought experiments in this delightful new book...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.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A spin class for the brain… Klosterman challenges readers to reexamine the stability of basic concepts, and in doing so broadens our perspectives…. An engaging and entertaining workout for the mind led by one of today’s funniest and most thought-provoking writers.” —Library Journal (starred review)
"Klosterman is a joy to hang out with: He relishes the contradictions he examines while making complex ideas comprehensible. In this new world, though, his voids of certainty aren’t just exhilarating, but ominous." —Ryan Vlastelica, A.V. Club (Favorite Books of 2016)
"But What If We’re Wrong? is a book about the big things we’re wrong about that don’t get discussed, just because everyone assumes they can never happen. That’s as true for culture as it is for science, and the uniquely intellectual and dexterous Klosterman dives in with verve. Bonus points for interviews with some fascinating—and stubborn—people in the process." —Bloomberg Best Books of 2016, recommended by Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group
“Klosterman is outlining the ideology of a contrarian here and reminding us of the important role that revisionism plays in cultural writing. What matters is the way he thinks about thinking—and the way he makes you think about how you think. And, in the end, this is all that criticism can really hope to do.” —Sonny Bunch, The Washington Post
“[Klosterman’s] most wide-ranging accomplishment to date… As inquisitive, thoughtful and dryly funny as ever, But What If We’re Wrong?... [is] crackling with the writer’s signature wit.” —Will Ashton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“In But What If We’re Wrong? [Klosterman] takes on the really big picture . . . He ranges far and wide over the realm of known knowns and known unknowns.” —Brigitte Frase, Minneapolis Star Tribune
“I have often wondered how the times I live in will be remembered once they turn into History. It never occurred to me to figure out how to write a book about it, though, which is one of the reasons why Chuck Klosterman is smarter than I am.” —Aimee Levitt, The Chicago Reader
“Klosterman has proven himself an insightful and evolving philosopher for popular consumption . . . In his latest, But What If We’re Wrong?, Klosterman probes the very notions of existence and longevity, resulting perhaps in the most mind-expanding writing of his career.” —Max Kyburz, Gothamist
“Chuck Klosterman is no time traveler, but he's got a lot of ideas about how the future will shake out . . . in [But What If We’re Wrong?] he ponders the limits of humanity’s search for truth.” —Chris Weller, Tech Insider
“Prolific pop-culture critic Chuck Klosterman tackles his most ambitious project yet in new book But What If We’re Wrong?, which combines research, personal reflections and interviews.” —Alexandra Cavallo, The Improper Bostonian
“This book is brilliant and addictively readable. It's also mandatory reading for anyone who loves history and for anyone who claims to have a capacity for forecasting. It'll probably make them angry because it turns so many sacred assumptions upside down—but that's what the future does. Klosterman's writing style is direct, highly personal and robotically crisp—he's like a stranger on the seat next to you on a plane who gives you a billion dollar idea. A terrific book.”—Douglas Coupland