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65 Reviews
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimistic argument that life on Earth is better than you think
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...
Published on 10 Nov 2010 by Rolf Dobelli

versus
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, so long as you interrogate it
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...
Published 22 months ago by J. Goddard


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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A bad book., 24 Aug 2013
This review is from: The Rational Optimist (Paperback)
The author is deeply and hopelessly in thrall to his own rose tinted world view.

On almost every page there is one or more opportunities to doubt what is written or the construction placed upon information that is itself often questionable - to put it no higher.

Coincidence and causation are mistaken for each other. Jaw dropping simplifications abound. Assumptions and leaps of faith jostle each other for a place on the page. Non-sequiturs and the casual overlooking of inconvenient reality grate routinely.

Market idolatry should have been the title.
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22 of 82 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Chutzpah, thy name is Matt Ridley, 8 Jun 2010
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B. Stanley (Warsaw, Poland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm not usually given to writing book reviews, but I'd just like to say I particularly enjoyed the chapter where Ridley reflected on the welcome exogenous shock given to the evolution of prosperity when Northern Rock was allowed to fail by the British government.

Oh.
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23 of 87 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Northern Rock?, 10 Jun 2010
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Flicked through this book and found it very depressing,then found out the author was a chairman or something of Northern Rock.Maybe sometimes even 'rational optimism'can be misplaced.Prosperity only seems to evolve for the psychopaths running big business and right wing politicians.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Facts you know, but you've never considered on the whole, 2 July 2010
This book doesn't really say nothing new and sometimes it tells many things without bothering to give you some evidence, but it's a real pleasure to read it and it does make you think that everything is going to be all right.
And the proof of this is just in front of you.
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9 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars With streams of purest water, 10 July 2010
The product description tells us that 'the availability of almost everything a person could want or need has been going erratically upwards for 10,000 years and has rapidly accelerated over the last 200 years' and that amongst the examples of these copious benefits is included 'clean water'.

So, 10,000 years ago, the earth was covered with polluted water and now, thanks to progress, everyone on the planet has an uninterrupted supply of as much clean water as they can drink. What an interesting book!
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The Rational Optimist
The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley (Paperback - 31 Mar 2011)
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