Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Rational Optimist

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity EvolvesAfter hearing Matt Ridley's interview with Russ Roberts on the podcast Econtalk, I knew that I needed to read this book. The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves is a cursory analysis of human development, the growth of civilizations and its subsequent prosperity. Ridley develops the first half focusing on how trade affected the individual and through the individual, the world. The second half takes off, demonstrating how dire predictions of failing civilizations have been wrong before, and are likely to continue being only falsehoods.

Unique among authors dealing with the economics of the future, Ridley is by training an Evolutionary Biologist. As the world is created by God, I was hesitant about this initially, believing this to be a bad foundation for a work about human development. My suspicions were allayed as the book spends very little time dealing with the origins of man, and rather with how we moseyed along once we had existence.

I recommend this book. My personal experience was as an Audiobook, and the narration was well done, although I spent much of the time at +20% speed.
From the written side, Matt Ridley's blog is also stimulating, and I have quoted this book before.

Audiobook (Remember the Free Book)


If you liked Freakonomics, Blink, or A Splendid Exchange you will like this.

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