Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair.
This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better. less
Reviews and Recommendations
We've comprehensively compiled reviews of The Rational Optimist from the world's leading experts.
Mark Zuckerberg Founder/FacebookMy next book for A Year of Books is The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. Two of the books I've read this year -- The Better Angels of Our Nature: and Why Nations Fail -- have explored how social and economic progress work together to make the world better. The Better Angels argues for that the two feed off each other, whereas Why Nations Fail argues that social and political progress ultimately controls the economic progress a society makes. This next book argues the opposite -- that economic progress is the greater force is pushing society forward. I'm interested to see which idea resonates... (Source)
James Altucher Founder/StockPickrBasically if you want to know the future, read Bold. Supplement it with “Abundance” by the same two and “Tomorrowland” by Steven Kotler” and even “The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley. I feel “Abundance” is like a sequel to “The Rational Optimist”. So I’m giving you four books with one recommendation. (Source)