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.
- innovation and collaboration
- macro-history and human progress
- climate change