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
     
 

ISBN-10: 006145205X

ISBN-13: 9780061452055

Pub. Date: 05/18/2010

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

"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:
181,019
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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The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth a read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An uplifting and evidence based account of how far we have come and why we should not be whining about the prospects for our future.
GeologyJim More than 1 year ago
Ridley's principal point is that trade and exchange of things (tools and food) opened the door for modern man to evolve from subsistence hunter/gatherer to inventor/innovator. Trading improves the lives of both parties by encouraging each to specialize and innovate. In serial time-slices, Ridley demonstrates how culture and knowledge evolved over the last million years or so to todays marketplace of ideas that continues to improve quality of life worldwide. Not everywhere and not on all occasions, but in aggregate everything gets better through trade, as long as markets are free to reward/punish. This is a very entertaining read and Ridley deftly pulls information together to show relationships and evolutionary trends that may seem novel or unexpected. Lots of reference notes and links in the back will allow you to check facts and sources. What a great way to start the New Year. Buy a copy for a friend or your book club. Lots of discussion will ensue.
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Jared_B More than 1 year ago
This book was a great and thought-provoking read. Unfortunately, this ebook version is rife with errors and bizzare formatting issues thar are distracting and make the book difficult to read. Please fix this!
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RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Send your inner pessimist packing - along with organic crops and ethanol. That's the contrarian message of Matt Ridley's insightful, entertaining look at humankind's steady progress over the millennia. Ridley dips into biology and economics to support his case that life is good and getting better. His wide-ranging look at humanity's past and future makes it clear that those who long for the good old days just don't realize how rugged hunting and gathering or medieval medical care must have been. Ridley meanders at times, yet, as the title suggests, his book offers a fundamentally optimistic analysis of humankind's ability to solve the planet's problems, even now. getAbstract recommends it to readers seeking a thought-provoking analysis of contemporary issues that doesn't hew to conventional wisdom.
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