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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.

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Reviews

""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 "Original, clever and ...controversial"--The Guardian "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..."--New York 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 dose of just the kind of glass-half-full information we need right now...A powerful antidote to gloom-n-doom-mongering."--Washington Examiner ""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) "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 "A mesmerizing book."--Los Angeles Times "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 delightful and fascinating book filled with insight and wit, which will make you think twice and cheer up."--Steven Pinker 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.--Donald Luskin, Smart Money 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" A dose of just the kind of glass-half-full information we need right now A powerful antidote to gloom-n-doom-mongering. --Washington Examiner" A mesmerizing book. --Los Angeles Times" 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... --New York Post" "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 "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 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" 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"

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