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 lecture was a great success. He also received great publicity on Italian newspapers and we also received a great evening with a very bright and very entertaining man. Thanks a lot for your help.” – International Technology Firm
Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. He argues that human beings’ ability to connect, collaborate and co-operate 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 a self-employed writer, speaker and businessman. He currently writes the Mind and Matter column in the Wall Street Journal and writes regularly for The Times.
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 latest 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.
From the industrial revolution and the rise of China, to urbanisation and the birth of bitcoin, Matt Ridley demolishes conventional assumptions that the great events and trends of our day are dictated by those on high. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the ground up. In this wide-ranging and erudite book, Matt Ridley brilliantly makes the case for evolution as the force that has shaped much of our culture, our minds, and that even now is shaping our future.
As compelling as it is controversial, as authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridley’s deeply thought-provoking book will change the way we think about the world and how it works.
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.
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