there is an important category of people who are dissatisfied with the status quo and at the same time are averse to risk and to change. It is an interesting pathology, but I think it is misleading to term it complacency.
A few more thoughts.
1. There is a lot to the book. You should read it. Even though it is getting a lot of coverage, don’t just assume that you can pick up its contents by osmosis. But prepare to disagree with him at times.
2. I wrote the review in a hurry. I can imagine re-reading the book and writing a different review.
3. I am still not happy with Tyler’s use of the term “complacency.” I can think of three senses of the word that are floating around in the book.
a. Complacency is “a general sense of satisfaction with the status quo.”
b. Complacency is a desire to avoid risk and resist change.
c. Complacency is a belief that the current social order is stable, that we will not suffer from a sharp increase in violence or a major breakdown of norms and institutions that maintain order.
Tyler explicitly writes (a), but I don’t think he really means it. The first three-quarters of the book are about (b), amassing evidence that modern Americans suffer from (b) much more than our forefathers. The last quarter of the book is about (c) and why Tyler believes it is wrong. He wants to claim that a big reason that (c) is wrong is that (b) has become so prevalent. Think of a Minsky model of social change: stability leads to instability.