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Download The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, by Matt Ridley Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,651 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matt Ridley Narrator: L. J. Ganser Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; 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 two hundred years.

Yet 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 specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair.

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 invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.

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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 Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by James Hacker | 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. "

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