“A delightful and fascinating book filled with insight and wit, which will make you think twice and cheer up.”
“The Rational Optimist teems with challenging and original ideas…No other book has argued with such brilliance and historical breadth against the automatic pessimism that prevails in intellectual life.”
“Ridley eloquently weaves together economics, archeology, history, and evolutionary theory…His words effortlessly turn complicated economic and scientific concepts into entertaining, digestible nuggets.”
“Invigorating…For Mr. Ridley, the market for ideas needs to be as open as possible in order to breed ingenuity from collaboration.”
A fabulous new book... I was so delighted, amused and uplifted by it that I bought a couple hundred copies and sent one to all my clients.
“A dose of just the kind of glass-half-full information we need right now…A powerful antidote to gloom-n-doom-mongering.”
“Ridley’s dazzling, insightful and entertaining book on the unstoppable march of innovation is a refresher course in human history...Great ideas spring up unexpectedly from every direction, with each new one naturally coordinating with others...”
“The Rational Optimist will give a reader solid reasons for believing that the human species will overcome its economic, political and environmental woes during this century.”
“A mesmerizing book.”
“This inspiring book, a glorious defense of our species…is a devastating rebuke to humanity’s self-haters.”
“Original, clever and …controversial”
“A very good book…a rich analysis…Ridley is a cogent and erudite social critic…He bolsters his argument with an impressive tour of evolutionary biology, economics, philosophy, world history.”
“A superb book…Elegant, learned, and cogent…a far-reaching synthesis of economics and ecology, a triumphant new demarche in the understanding of wealth and poverty…Inspiring.”
…[Ridley] bolsters [his] argument with an impressive tour of evolutionary biology, anthropology, economics, philosophy and world history. His intellectual heroes are Charles Darwin and Adam Smith…This rich analysis shouldn't properly be reviewed until 2110, because only then will we know if Ridley's confidence in human ingenuity is warranted. Futurists don't have a great track record, but let's hope that future generations will review this rose-tinted vision favorably.
The Washington Post
Ridley comes to praise innovation's ability to forestall any number of doom and gloom scenarios, everything from climate change to economic catastrophe. While sounding strikingly similar to narrator Anthony Heald, L.J. Ganser keeps a steady reading pace of Ridley's prose that keeps listeners engaged through the more challenging quantified material (statistics, data, lists) and the more nuanced conceptual material. His escalation, speed, deliberation, and pauses faithfully guide listeners through the text and at times improves upon the dry prose. However, Ganser is prone to over-project, and his forceful overemphasis can wear on the listener's attention. A Harper hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 12). (June)