Here is an extract of the Table of Contents with comments by the author.

  1. Preface – Why you want to read this book.
  2. Introduction – An engineer’s point of view and why you need to cultivate your tolerance for ambiguity.
  3. Earth History – A brief summary of the geologic history of our planet.
  4. 100,000 Years Ago – What was life on Earth like before mankind joined the struggle?
  5. The Meaning of Life – Is there some underlying reason why we are here?
  6. Societies – Why animals and people form into groups.
  7. Man – Humanity joins the struggle for domination of the environment.
  8. Religion – Rituals take on cultural importance.
  9. Civilization – Tribal organization begins to rule over animal anarchism.
  10. Feedback – We introduce some basic engineering concepts to help us understand some of life’s questions.
  11. Commandments – The Bible tells us the two rules that define civilization.
  12. Good and Evil – Virtue and vice compete for your attention.
  13. Fairness, Summary, Government – Why fairness matters. A summary of major points we have covered so far. What types of government have been tried by humanity?
  14. Social Organization – Feudalism, socialism, and the family unit.
  15. Capitalism – A brief summary of this largely misunderstood concept.
  16. Motivation – Why you do the things you do.
  17. Choices – How people select their behavior patterns and use of judgment.
  18. Kill or be Killed – Both animal and man need to distinguish friend from enemy.
  19. Independence – Oppressed peoples stumble towards freedom.
  20. Lifestyle – We can choose how we organize our lives.
  21. Theme Park Fantasy Syndrome – Many folks act as though they live in a cartoon world.
  22. Anthropomorphism – How we maintain our modern mythologies.
  23. Hollywood Syndrome – Find out if you live by a faulty belief system.
  24. A. Hack – A generic politician reveals his true thoughts.
  25. Government – The question of ethics in government.
  26. Better Government – What are the valid functions of governments.
  27. Other Functions of Government – Governments need to avoid competing with their citizens.
  28. County Government – Analyze government at the local level.
  29. Recycle – Sacred cows in our own modern society.
  30. Population – Are there too many people on our planet?
  31. Stories – Several points from this book are illustrated with a little creative nonfiction.
  32. Recipe for Disaster – Life on our planet may look like a hopeless cause, but is it really?
  33. Balance of Power –The secrets to the advance of civilization.
  34. Afterword –What to do if you disagree with this book.
  35. Epilog
  36. Bibliography