The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
  • RRP: £20.00
  • You Save: £1.05 (5%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The Rational Optimist: Ho... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Sold by Greener_Books
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: **SHIPPED FROM UK** We believe you will be completely satisfied with our quick and reliable service. All orders are dispatched as swiftly as possible! Buy with confidence!
Trade in your item
Get a £0.34
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves Hardcover – 27 May 2010

74 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£18.95
£10.00 £1.66
£18.95 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves + Nature via Nurture: Genes, experience and what makes us human
Price For Both: £26.94

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £0.34
Trade in The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.34, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition edition (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007267118
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007267118
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 4.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 355,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matt Ridley received his BA and D. Phil at Oxford researching the evolution of behaviour. He has been science editor, Washington correspondent and American editor of The Economist. He is the author of bestselling titles The Red Queen (1993), The Origins of Virtue (1996), Genome (1999) and Nature via Nurture (2003). His books have sold over half a million copies, been translated into 25 languages and been shortlisted for six literary prizes. In 2004 he won the National Academies Book Award from the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine for Nature via Nurture. In 2007 Matt won the Davis Prize from the US History of Science Society for Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code. He is married to the neuroscientist Professor Anya Hurlbert.

Product Description

Review

Reviews for Nature via Nurture:

‘Nature via Nurture sets the modern terms for an ancient debate, and at the same time delivers a superb tutorial on contemporary genetics; the feedback loop that embraces genes and environment is generally not well understood. And yet this plasticity, this elegant mutuality, seems crucial if our new understanding of human nature is to inform public policy. These times need a book like this.’ Ian McEwan

‘Lucidly explains the most recent discoveries on what makes us what we are, and how we should think about these discoveries as we ponder who we want to be…A treat, written with insight, wisdom, and style.’ Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate

‘Bracingly intelligent, lucid, balanced – witty, too. Nature via Nurture is a scrupulous and charming look at our modern understanding of genes and experience.’ Oliver Sacks

‘A real page-turner. What a superb writer he is, and he seems to get better and better.’ Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene

‘Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist, in glorious contrast, tells us what we really should want to hear: that the human species, through our unique ability to exchange ideas and thus innovate at the speed of thought, has overcome all the challenges that have ever confronted us, and will do so in future. This inspiring book, a glorious defense of our species, explains why: it is a devastating rebuke to humanity's self-haters.' Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

About the Author

Matt Ridley received his BA and D. Phil at Oxford researching the evolution of behaviour. He has been science editor, Washington correspondent and American editor of The Economist. He is the author of bestselling titles The Red Queen (1993), The Origins of Virtue (1996), Genome (1999) and Nature via Nurture (2003). His books have sold over half a million copies, been translated into 25 languages and been shortlisted for six literary prizes. In 2004 he won the National Academies Book Award from the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine for Nature via Nurture. In 2007 Matt won the Davis Prize from the US History of Science Society for Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code. He is married to the neuroscientist Professor Anya Hurlbert.


Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:


Related Media

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jim 8888 on 31 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
To be honest, I was expecting more optimism from this book than I got. Instead of a straight counterblast to much of the doom-mongering we receive from the media today (not that this is a new thing, as Ridley often points out) we get much more about how the free market, and how the trading of goods and ideas has improved mankind's lot. The central argument boils down to this - that if I'm a good cook and you're a good hunter, we'd get a better deal together if we both specialised in what we're good at and shared the spoils. In this way, mankind has flourished. The more we can do to encourage this trade, the better we will improve. And we've just built the best "sharing tool" ever in the internet. There's a lot to be optimistic about, and it's difficult to disagree with Ridley. It's easier, however, to focus on the downside, which is what many people have a vested interest in doing. You could argue that it's this paranoia that drives us forward - if we didn't worry about climate change, would we bother trying to tackle it? If we were all "rational optimists", or even if the majority were, maybe we wouldn't drive ourselves so relentlessly forward? After all, as the old joke goes, just because we're paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get us.
It's a stimulating read and I found the book easier to get through in short doses. I think it could have been a bit shorter, a bit punchier and a bit more aggressive toward the nay-sayers, but overall I found it a refreshing change to a lot of the messages we receive today about us all being doomed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Schmuecker on 24 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Most of the news I get bombarded with is negative: Greek debt close to default, economic decline in Europe, you name it ... and it feels that our civilisation has reached its peak and is in constant decline. Interestingly, this has been true for many years and we are still around and overall are better of than ever before. Why is that?

"The Rational Optimist" brings it down to the simple principal of "comparative advantage". While I did know about comparative advante, I did never think about it's consequences. Finally, a believable argument why we can have hope that our "world" will continue to improve and move forward.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JohNE0 on 9 Feb. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
French beans from Kenya, may seem like a crazy idea, but if their delivery to my plate in the UK involves the consumption of only 25% of the energy required of those grown 10 miles away...that is not what I had expected. That the wheat the anti GM movement are happy to be grown, were developed by irradiation and selection of radiation mutated genes is not part of their mantra, or the massive number of blind children denied "Golden Rice" (rice with a gene that adds vitamin A to the grain, and thus improves their diet).....OK read the book...it changed my perspective, uncomfortably!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arthur on 4 July 2011
Format: Paperback
An enjoyable and thought provoking read, if somewhat lacking proper intellectual rigour or originality. Ridley's Hayekian approach to markets and the role of the state are nothing new and his up-beat analysis is too often journalese masquerading as something deeper (you often get the impression he's doing all his research on Wikepedia). But his views on climate change and food production are clearly thought through and are genuinely strong and heartfelt arguments. To my mind this is when the book succeeds the most. The problems arise in Ridley's general lack of nuance in understanding the subtleties of human psychology and emotion (e.g. when he's describing the social changes caused by the industrial revolution or enclosure acts). This is not helped by the book's sometimes geeky, lecturing and boffin-like tone which lacks a certain gravitas. But putting these criticisms aside, I would definitely recommend the book, if only for the reason that he demands an intellectual response and makes you question your ideological and political assumptions. Now that can't be a bad thing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By J. Goddard on 1 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is much to admire in this book. Ridley makes a good overall case, based on solid and substantial research. It is a hefty corrective to much sloppy thinking in current political and social debates. It's a pity he mars it by some glib over-simplication in places and by caricaturing his opponents to a silly degree.

On the plus side, he says many things that need to be said. It's a book I'd recommend to anybody, simply because of the sheer number of shibboleths of both left and right that he deftly and enjoyably skewers. This sort of thing is essential in a world where too many of all political persuasions have given up thinking for themselves and rely instead on timeworn cliches. He also, true to his rationalist title, leans heavily on a weighty ballast of credible evidence drawn from a range of good sources.

It's a pity, then, that in places he lets his enthusiasm run away with him and writes like a journalist rather than an academic. For example, I'm no expert in primatology, but even I know that you can't make simplistic points about the relative nastiness of our fellow primates (p.65) without acknowledging that there are relevant distinctions between our two closest cousins, the common chimpanzee and the bonobo. Given his academic credentials, Ridley should be better than this (indeed, I'm surprised it wasn't pointed out to him by Frans de Waal, whom he cites in his acknowledgments). Then again, he isn't the first well-known writer to dive into into the exciting field of primatology, grab the first thing he sees to back up his point and rush for the surface to catch breath; see Francis Fukuyama's latest on the origins of political order for an even worse example of exactly the same approach.
Read more ›
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback