The Rational Optimist

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April 2011



Life is getting better, and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income and lifespan 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; 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 200 years. 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 specialisation - which started more than 100,000 years ago - has created a collective brain that set human living standards on a rising trend. 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 likely consequences of climate change. Thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will tip your way of thinking about the world for the better.


Matt Ridley received his BA and D. Phil at Oxford researching the evolution of behaviour. He has been science editor, Washington correspondent and American editor of The Economist. He is the author of bestselling titles The Red Queen (1993), The Origins of Virtue (1996), Genome (1999) and Nature via Nurture (2003). His books have sold over half a million copies, been translated into 25 languages and been shortlisted for six literary prizes. In 2004 he won the National Academies Book Award from the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine for Nature via Nurture. In 2007 Matt won the Davis Prize from the US History of Science Society for Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code. He is married to the neuroscientist Professor Anya Hurlbert.


'A triumphant blast on the vuvuzela of common sense' Boris Johnson 'A glorious defence of our species... a devastating rebuke to humanity's self-haters' Sunday Times 'No other book has argued with such brilliance against the automatic pessimism that prevails' Ian McEwan 'His theory is, in a way, the glorious offspring that would result if Charles Darwin's ideas were mated with those of Adam Smith' The Economist 'Original, clever and controversial' Guardian 'As a work of bold historical positivity it is to be welcomed. At every point cheerfulness keeps breaking through' The Times
EAN: 9780007267125
ISBN: 0007267126
Untertitel: How Prosperity Evolves. 'Fourth Estate'. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Harper Collins Publ. UK
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2011
Seitenanzahl: 453 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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