But What If We're Wrong?

But What If We're Wrong?

Thinking About the Present as If It Were the Past

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
But What If We're Wrong? visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who'll perceive it as the distant past. 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?

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."
Alternative Title: But what if we are wrong?
Publisher: New York : Blue Rider Press, [2016]
ISBN: 9780399184123
Branch Call Number: 303.49
Characteristics: 272 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jun 26, 2017

The author starts with the premise that most, if not all, of what we currently think and believe about our universe, and even our own existence, is probably wrong. Then he spends 262 pages attempting to prove that his premise is right!

This book is so full of pseudo-scientific psycho-babble and personal author opinions that I got dizzy trying to read it. He would have been much better off filling the book with blank pages to illustrate his point. Then I probably would have given it a 5-star rating and had some extra paper to use for something more worthwhile.

May 14, 2017

Far too much rambling covers up some interesting explorations of how future generations will interpret our media, such as music, TV, and sports. This reads as a series of blog posts strung together.

LPL_MeredithW Mar 11, 2017

A really interesting thought experiment that considers what we "know" by assuming we're wrong about almost all of it. I sometimes find Chuck Klosterman's style tiring, but I liked it here. A great read!

Jan 16, 2017

I liked the premise of his book, but couldn't get through the examples of pop culture repeatedly used. Had to stop reading as I found it a waste of time.

Jan 13, 2017

Tedious repetition of one argument. Klosterman can be a funny and engaging writer - I found his footnotes usually offered one or the other - but the content of this book left me bored and uninterested. There's no insight here, other than Klosterman asking the same question for every topic, and his readers asking why they bothered to pick this up in the first place.

Dec 21, 2016

This book was humorous, intelligent and thought provoking. I wished I had a person to discuss some of the philosophical and metaphysical questions raised. Highly recommended for those who enjoy actually thinking

Oct 02, 2016

Well, it is an odd book, but enjoyable nonetheless. Thought provoking if a bit long winded.
Definitely not the worst thing I've read lately.

Sep 23, 2016

After reading (and agreeing with) all of the comments posted below - I really don't see any need for me to state my opinion, as well, about Klosterman's redundant book, except to say that it sure was an unsatisfactory read and fell mighty short of its apparent potential.

Sep 03, 2016

Okay, but rather disappointing - it started off with a bang but quickly became an increasingly (and unnecessarily) long-winded way of reminding us of the pitfalls of declaring certainty about anything.

Aug 24, 2016

Well, darlings - This book may have (to its advantage) an attention-grabbing, upside-down cover that immediately catches one's eye - But, unless you like to read pure gibberish (and I hope you don't), then "But What If We're Wrong?" is going to be a book that you'll soon find is just an utter waste of time.

This is one of those disappointing books whose gabby, little author promises the reader everything, but, in the long run, delivers nothing in the least bit memorable or worthwhile.

I'd say that you'd probably get more education out of reading the newspaper funnies, than you would with this redundant and rhetorical rubbish.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SLPL

To Top