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Matt Ridley's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Matt Ridley recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Matt Ridley's favorite book recommendations of all time.

"This is a very scary book by a very bright man, offering a picture of humanity's future that is both ominous and exhilarating."
-Edward O. Wilson

This eye-opening book by the legendary author of the National Book Award-winning Whole Earth Catalog persuasively details a new approach to our stewardship of the planet. Lifelong ecologist and futurist Stewart Brand relies on scientific rigor to shatter myths concerning nuclear energy, urbanization, genetic engineering, and other controversial subjects, showing exactly where the sources of our dilemmas lie and...
Recommended by Matt Ridley, and 1 others.

Matt RidleyIt’s a paean for three things he thinks the environmental movement should adopt and has got wrong. One is nuclear power, the other is GM food and the third is cities. (Source)

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What Technology Wants

From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Inevitable-- a sweeping vision of technology as a living force that can expand our individual potential

In this provocative book, one of today's most respected thinkers turns the conversation about technology on its head by viewing technology as a natural system, an extension of biological evolution. By mapping the behavior of life, we paradoxically get a glimpse at where technology is headed-or "what it wants." Kevin Kelly offers a dozen trajectories in the coming decades for this...
Recommended by Matt Ridley, and 1 others.

Matt RidleyThe writer realises that there’s an inexorability about the way technology changes and that it’s almost as if technology has its own agenda. (Source)

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The sheer volume of talk about energy, energy prices, and energy policy on both sides of the political aisle suggests that we must know something about these subjects. But according to Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills, the things we think we know are mostly myths. A better understanding of energy will radically change our views and policies on a number of very controversial issues. In The Bottomless Well, Huber and Mills show why energy is not scarce, why the price of energy doesn't matter very much, and why "waste" of energy is both necessary and desirable. Across the board, energy... more
Recommended by Matt Ridley, and 1 others.

Matt RidleyIt’s a wonderful explanation of the technologies and how they fit into the world. (Source)

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The Skeptical Environmentalist

The Skeptical Environmentalist challenges widely held beliefs that the environmental situation is getting worse and worse. The author, himself a former member of Greenpeace, is critical of the way in which many environmental organisations make selective and misleading use of the scientific evidence. Using the best available statistical information from internationally recognised research institutes, Bjørn Lomborg systematically examines a range of major environmental problems that feature prominently in headline news across the world. His arguments are presented in non-technical, accessible... more
Recommended by Matt Ridley, David Lipsey, and 2 others.

Matt RidleyMost of the environmental trends in the world are getting better not worse. There is more forest now than there was 50 years ago. (Source)

David LipseyThis is for those more interested in politics than politicians. Environmentalists hate Lomborg, who dares to questions their all-or-nothing ideology. Economists on the other hand love him, since he (unlike most environmentalists) understands that environmental decisions can involve costs as well as benefits. For example, take Lomborg’s position on global warming. It probably is happening, he... (Source)

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The Ultimate Resource 2

Arguing that the ultimate resource is the human imagination coupled to the human spirit, Julian Simon led a vigorous challenge to conventional beliefs about scarcity of energy and natural resources, pollution of the environment, the effects of immigration, and the perils of overpopulation. The comprehensive data, careful quantitative research, and economic logic contained in the first edition of The Ultimate Resource questioned widely held professional judgments about the threat of overpopulation, and Simon's celebrated bet with Paul Ehrlich about resource prices in the 1980s enhanced... more
Recommended by Matt Ridley, Rosamund McDougall, and 2 others.

Matt RidleyJulian Simon is really the god of this subject and a fanatic for digging up trends. (Source)

Rosamund McDougallWe need technology to help solve the problems we have, but to place faith in technology to the exclusion of other methods is crazy. (Source)

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The Double Helix

By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry & won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions & bitter rivalries. With humility unspoiled by false modesty, Watson relates his & Crick's... more

Peter AttiaOne of the books that considers to be an important read for people interested in his career path. (Source)

Matt RidleyAn astonishing literary achievement, and it was about the greatest scientific discovery of the 20th century. (Source)

Matt CalkinsIt gives you an insider’s look at how innovation happens, the struggles in it and the rivalry in the race to get to the heart of molecular structures. It felt like a business story but it’s really about science and innovation. (Source)

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The Selfish Gene

Inheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we had since Mendel's work was rediscovered, we turn it around and imagine that "our" genes build and maintain us in order to make more genes. That simple reversal seems to answer many puzzlers which had stumped scientists for years, and we haven't thought of evolution in the same way since.



Charles T. Mungerrecommends this book in the second edition of Poor Charlie’s Almanack. (Source)

Matt RidleyTurned evolutionary biology on its head and was written like a great detective story. (Source)

Phil LibinHad a profound influence on me pretty early on. (Source)

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