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The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (P.S.) Paperback – Illustrated, June 7, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 825 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.” (George Gilder, National Review)

“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.” (Washington Post)

“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 civilizations move forward.” (John Tierney, New York Times)

“A delightful and fascinating book filled with insight and wit, which will make you think twice and cheer up.” (Steven Pinker)

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.” (Ian McEwan)

“Ridley eloquently weaves together economics, archeology, history, and evolutionary theory…His words effortlessly turn complicated economic and scientific concepts into entertaining, digestible nuggets.” (Barrett Sheridan, Newsweek)

“Invigorating…For Mr. Ridley, the market for ideas needs to be as open as possible in order to breed ingenuity from collaboration.” (Trevor Butterworth, Wall Street Journal)

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.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

“This inspiring book, a glorious defense of our species…is a devastating rebuke to humanity’s self-haters.” (Sunday Times (London))

“Original, clever and …controversial” (The Guardian)

From the Back Cover

For two hundred years the pessimists have dominated public discourse, insisting that things will soon be getting much worse. But in fact, 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. Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people's lives as never before.

In his bold and bracing exploration into how human culture evolves positively through exchange and specialization, bestselling author Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. An astute, refreshing, and revelatory work that covers the entire sweep of human history—from the Stone Age to the Internet—The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.


Product details

  • Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
  • Paperback : 480 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0061452068
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0061452062
  • Dimensions : 5.31 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Publisher : Harper Perennial; Illustrated edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 825 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
825 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 10, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on July 17, 2020
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legionsofcaesar
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting and Thought Provking Read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2020
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Danpuel
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 17, 2019
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EPMUL91
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, but
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 20, 2015
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Jonathan D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Networking is good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 21, 2020
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Felicia Constantin
1.0 out of 5 stars Not really my book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 30, 2019
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