The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
  • The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
  • The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

3.5 29
by Matt Ridley
     
 

"A delightful and fascinating book, filled with insight and wit, which will make you think twice and cheer up" "---Steven Pinker" "A fast-moving, intelligent description of why human life has so consistently improved over the course of history, and a wonderful overview of how human civilization move forward!"---James Watson" "Ridley's enthusiasm for his subject is

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Overview

"A delightful and fascinating book, filled with insight and wit, which will make you think twice and cheer up" "---Steven Pinker" "A fast-moving, intelligent description of why human life has so consistently improved over the course of history, and a wonderful overview of how human civilization move forward!"---James Watson" "Ridley's enthusiasm for his subject is contagious....He writes with panache, wit, and humor and displays remarkable ingenuity in finding ways to present complicated materials for the lay reader." "---Los Angeles Times on the Agile Gene" "A fascinating tour of the human genome....If you want to catch a glimpse of the biotech century that is now dawning...Genome is an excellent place to start." "---Wall Street Journal on Genome" "Matt Ridley manages to combine a scholarly approach with a great dash and wit, which puts him well ahead of the field; stimulating and great fun." ---Financial Times on the Origins of Virture.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061452055
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/18/2010
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
169,512
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.46(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: when ideas have sex 1

1 A better today: the unprecedented present 11

2 The collective brain: exchange and specialisation after 200,000 years ago 47

3 The manufacture of virtue: barter, trust and rules after 50,000 years ago 85

4 The feeding of the nine billion: farming after 10,000 years ago 121

5 The triumph of cities: trade after 5,000 years ago 157

6 Escaping Malthus's trap: population after 1200 191

7 The release of slaves: energy after 1700 213

8 The invention of invention: increasing returns after 1800 247

9 Turning points: pessimism after 1900 279

10 The two great pessimisms of today: Africa and climate after 2010 313

11 The catallaxy: rational optimism about 2100 349

Acknowledgements 361

Notes and references 363

Index 421

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