Download The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves Audiobook

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves Audiobook, by Matt Ridley Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Matt Ridley Narrator: L. J. Ganser Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2010 ISBN: 9780061997655
3.00121065375303 out of 53.00121065375303 out of 53.00121065375303 out of 53.00121065375303 out of 53.00121065375303 out of 5 3.00 (1,652 ratings) (rate this audio book)
Regular Price: $28.99 Add to Cart
— or —
BEST PRICE!
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$7.95$7.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

“Ridley writes with panache, wit, and humor and displays remarkable ingenuity in finding ways to present complicated materials for the lay reader.” — Los Angeles Times

In a bold and provocative interpretation of economic history, Matt Ridley, the New York Times-bestselling author of Genome and The Red Queen, makes the case for an economics of hope, arguing that the benefits of commerce, technology, innovation, and change—what Ridley calls cultural evolution—will inevitably increase human prosperity. Fans of the works of Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel), Niall Ferguson (The Ascent of Money), and Thomas Friedman (The World Is Flat) will find much to ponder and enjoy in The Rational Optimist.

Download and start listening now!

BK_HARP_002183

Quotes & Awards

  • 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, New York Times bestselling author

  • “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.” 

    New York Times

  • “Original, clever and …controversial.”  

    Guardian (London)

  • “With vivid storytelling illuminating the huge role of markets and trade in material progress…[A] fascinating history of trade and innovation.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “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

Listener Reviews

Write a Review
  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kevin | 2/3/2014

    " Although the author's arguments for why we should all be starry-eyed optimistic about our common future regardless of the circumstances appear persuasive, on closer examination the author quite frequently confuses correlation and cause in the service of scoring political points (scantily) dressed up as the book's thesis. Hence, apart from some interesting historical vignettes, the book fails to persuade me of much other than the author's need to review logic 101. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nic | 1/28/2014

    " Interesting take on the future of our global trading markets based on an understanding of the trading and specialization movements in ancient human civilizations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Felix | 1/13/2014

    " Matt Ridley explains the upcoming conditions and all the despair that sorrounds the actual conditions, he explain wrong considerations that are just biased but not supported by facts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 1/13/2014

    " It's a nice breath of fresh air to read arguments about how things aren't getting worse and we're not all going to die immanently. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Armen | 12/29/2013

    " as an extremely well written and though-out antidote to "the sky is falling" mentality, but it is more than that. Really enjoying this book--maybe because it is further support for what I've thought and been saying for years? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 12/15/2013

    " Many stretches of 4 stars with patches of 2 and 3. Having said that it was a great strike for a general optimism based on history and experience, in the face of the doomsdayers, environmentalists , and other prophets of catastrophe. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Thomas | 11/25/2013

    " I read and enjoy Ridley's blog. This seemed like just a collection of blog entries. I thought it was a bit repetitive in style and I didn't learn too much more than what is is his blog. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gary | 11/13/2013

    " 2.5 stars. I'm not sure all his explanations hold enough water. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Red | 8/17/2013

    " I am an optimist - and do think that people and the world will adapt and continue to flourish. But there was a lot in this book that I either don't really agree with or that was over simplified. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 2/26/2013

    " Great alternative perspective of the state of the world and human development. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/19/2013

    " I read Rational Optimism shortly after finishing Life Ascending. The latter is a good tour through the evolution of life. Rational Optimism is an even better tour through the evolution of ideas, as well as a good antidote to the profusion of doom and gloom writing in which we are always immersed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anthony | 11/22/2012

    " Commerce and trade lead to ideas mating. Ideas mating leads to new technology and innovation. Technology is the primary driver of rising living standards and increased prosperity. Ideas are mating faster than ever. It's therefore rational to be optimistic about the future. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Manish | 9/17/2012

    " I was thinking that the author is going on and on about the financial crisis at the start of the book and every one has suddenly become an expert on that topic. It became more interesting after that. Recommended if you like to review things in historical context. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Frank | 9/13/2012

    " Some worthwhile insights, especially at the outset; after that: polemic and superficial. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 8/28/2012

    " I can't say I was gripped by his passages about early man, but all told this is a welcome antidote to pessimism found in much of our discourse. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Spencer | 7/2/2012

    " I liked very much the case the author makes that in almost every metric the life/the world/everything is better now than 50 years ago and doomsayers notwithstanding there is a very good chance that in 50 years from now it will be better still. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lincoln | 5/17/2011

    " Really awesome read - mixes history, economics, evolution, politics, and global warming all in one! It's a fun book that made some interesting connections and really made me think about the future possibilities. I definitely recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 5/10/2011

    " A book that really hits home the value of individual freedom. He underplays the impact of financial irresponsibility and environmental degradation, but the tenet that allowing ideas to grow through ingenuity and trade will I tue end serve man kind is an important one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 4/5/2011

    " Damn, we have it good. Thoughtprovoking. Worth reading just for the first few pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan | 4/3/2011

    " Brilliant, must read book. Makes you think about psychological reasons behind everyone's pessimistic view of the way the world is going. Most people have always felt the future was going to be worse, most people have experienced it as immeasurably better. Great stats and graphics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacob | 3/26/2011

    " Great book, makes an excellent case against intellectual pessimism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Spencer | 1/6/2011

    " I liked very much the case the author makes that in almost every metric the life/the world/everything is better now than 50 years ago and doomsayers notwithstanding there is a very good chance that in 50 years from now it will be better still. "

About the Author

Matt Ridley’s books have been short-listed for six literary awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His book The Agile Gene: How Nature Turns on Nurture won the award for the best science book published in 2003 from the National Academies of Science. He has been a scientist, a journalist, and a national newspaper columnist, and he is the chairman of the International Centre for Life in Newcastle, England. He is also a visiting professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.

About the Narrator

L. J. Ganser is the winner of the prestigious Audie Award for Best Nonfiction Narration for his work in The Island at the Center of the World. He has recorded over 450 titles, ranging from preschool books to crime noir thrillers, from astronomical adventures in both science and science fiction, to Arctic Circle high-school basketball stories.