Summary of The Rational Optimist

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The Rational Optimist book summary


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Send your inner pessimist packing – along with organic crops and ethanol. That’s the contrarian message of Matt Ridley’s insightful, entertaining look at humankind’s steady progress over the millennia. Ridley dips into biology and economics to support his case that life is good and getting better. His wide-ranging look at humanity’s past and future makes it clear that those who long for the good old days just don’t realize how rugged hunting and gathering or medieval medical care must have been. Ridley meanders at times, yet, as the title suggests, his book offers a fundamentally optimistic analysis of humankind’s ability to solve the planet’s problems, even now. getAbstract recommends it to readers seeking a thought-provoking analysis of contemporary issues that doesn’t hew to conventional wisdom.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What role trade plays in human prosperity,
  • Why organic foods and green fuels are folly, and
  • Why even the poor are better off than you think.

About the Author

Matt Ridley has sold more than 800,000 copies of his books about evolution, genetics and society. He is the author of Genome, The Agile Gene and The Origins of Virtue.



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    Rudi Hoffman 5 years ago
    I have read the actual (audible version) of Ridley's book 3 or 4 times. The summary does not do justice to the paradigm changing nature of this tremendous book by scientist Ridley.

    Ridley shows...and quantitatively documents...that by nearly EVERY is better for the vast majority of us than it has been for virtually anyone on the planet in earlier times. Be those times fifty years ago, five hundred, five thousand, or 5 hundred thousand. We are living in the middle of the "golden age" dreamed of for centuries, and most of us are so wrapped in our own problems that we don't realize this amazing fact. Along with Diamandes's "Abundance" , "The Rational Optimist" is highly recommended.

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