The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
  • Alternative view 1 of The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
  • Alternative view 2 of The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

3.5 29
by Matt Ridley
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 006145205X

ISBN-13: 9780061452055

Pub. Date: 05/18/2010

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone,

Overview

Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061452055
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/18/2010
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
301,145
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.46(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago