Life with purpose
Johan Norberg: Open
The Thinkers Series

Johan Norberg: Open

We asked five of the world’s leading thinkers what one quality they thought was key to a kinder, more equitable, and greener world.

“The more we are open to different solutions and different perspectives on these problems, the better off we are.”

5th Jul 2021

Are human beings fundamentally open or closed-minded? According to historian Johan Norberg: we are both.

Named by the Guardian as “a prophet of anti-pessimism” and “a blast of good sense” by the Economist, Johan is an expert on how we operate as a species. He is skilled at thinking big picture – meditating on the world and humankind from a bird’s eye view. He is senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. and the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels, and has written over twenty books speculating on a wide range of fields, from global economics to popular science. 

In his most recent book, Open: The Story of Human Progress – an Economist book of the year – he makes the case that humanity is both collaborative and conflicted, open and closed. Tracing human behavior from Stone Age hunter-gatherers to contemporary Chinese-American relations, he argues that it is the open side of our nature which has ultimately been the key to our success.

In the first episode of The Thinkers Series, we asked him what led to his current view of humanity, and how the pandemic has shaped his thinking about the future of human collaboration and success.

“We’re all part of one and the same world and we need access to all the talent, the ideas, the production capacity of everybody.”