Matt Ridley Keynote Speaker

  • Best selling author of "The Rational Optimist" and "The Evolution of Everything"
  • Scientist and journalist who champions the potential for human progress
  • Former Science and America Editor, The Economist


Matt Ridley is the author of thought provoking books on evolution, genetics and society. He argues that human beings’ ability to connect, collaborate and cooperate gives our species an often underestimated capacity for change and social progress.

Matt worked for the Economist for nine years as Science Editor, Washington correspondent and American editor, before becoming an independent writer, speaker and businessman. He writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal, The Times, The Spectator and The Telegraph.

In his best-selling book, “The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves” (Fourth Estate, 2010), Matt takes on contemporary pessimism to argue that, in spite of disasters and reverses, the world has been getting better and better for humanity over the last two centuries, and that our quality of life and material wealth will continue to increase in the 21st century. In our lifetime, per capita income has trebled, lifespan has increased by one third and child mortality has fallen by two thirds. The book was longlisted for the FT’s Business Book of the Year, short-listed for the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction, and won the 2011 Hayek Prize and the 2012 Julian Simon award.

Speaking at TEDGlobal 2010, Matt Ridley showed how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he argues; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is. Innovation comes from people and human exchange, not from government policy or elite diktats. The talk has over 2 million views.

His book “The Evolution of Everything” (2015), argues that humanity’s most important achievements develop from the bottom up, and counters conventional assumptions that major scientific and social imperatives are dictated by top-down authorities.

Matt’s latest book, “How Innovation Works” (2020) explores how innovation has evolved as a human habit, and how it is constantly shaping the world we live in.

Speaking Topics:

  • innovation and collaboration
  • macro-history and human progress
  • climate change
Read More

Videos of Matt Ridley

When ideas have sex
When ideas have sex
Chartwell Bites - Matt Ridley (2020)
Chartwell Bites - Matt Ridley (2020)
The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge
The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge
Rational Optimism about Planet Earth
Rational Optimism about Planet Earth

Books by Matt Ridley

The Evolution of Everything
The Evolution of Everything
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
How Innovation Works

Check Matt Ridley's speaking availability and fees

Interested in booking Matt Ridley to speak at an event? Please provide your details and we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.

    View our related Speakers

    Marcus Orlovsky Speaker
    Marcus Orlovsky
    Social Entrepreneur and expert on leadership and change
    Kirby Ferguson Speaker
    Kirby Ferguson
    Viral Film Producer
    Daniela Rus Speaker
    Daniela Rus
    Director of the MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)
    Natalie Fée Speaker
    Natalie Fée
    Environmental Campaigner
    Stephen Trzeciak Speaker
    Stephen Trzeciak
    Physician, Scientist and Professor
    Olaf Groth Speaker
    Olaf Groth
    Expert on Disruptive Technology Trends & Futures
    James Wallman Speaker
    James Wallman
    Futurist and author of 'Time and How to Spend It'
    Adah Parris Speaker
    Adah Parris
    Futurist, Keynote Speaker, Cultural Strategist; TED2019 Emerging Innovator
    Olivia Fox Cabane Speaker
    Olivia Fox Cabane
    Expert on the science behind charisma and creativity
    Tom Chatfield Speaker
    Tom Chatfield
    Commentator on Technology & Culture

    We use cookies

    We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our website, to show you personalized content and targeted ads, to analyze our website traffic, and to understand where our visitors are coming from. By browsing our website, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies.

    Accept Cookies