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's Biography

Matt Ridley is bestselling author of several thought provoking books on evolution, genetics and society and expert speaker on innovation and collaboration, macro-history and human progress and climate change.

Matt Ridley’s books have sold over a million copies, been translated into 31 languages and won several awards. 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. 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.

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. 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. He is also the author of ‘The Red Queen’ and ‘Genome’.

He joined the House of Lords in February 2013 and has served on the science and technology select committee and the artificial intelligence select committee.

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 was founding chairman of the International Centre for Life in Newcastle. He created the Mind and Matter column in the Wall Street Journal in 2010, and was a columnist for the Times 2013-2018.

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Academy of Medical Sciences, and a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Matt Ridley spoke at TEDGlobal 2010, and showed how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. Innovation comes from people and human exchange, not from government policy or elite diktats. The talk has over 2 million views.

Speaking Topics:

  • Innovation and collaboration
  • Macro-history and human progress
  • Climate change
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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

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