The Rational Optimist Hardcover – 27 May 2010
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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.
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Overall though a great read and it has gave me a newfound respect for the human propensity for trade and specialisation. To be read with an open-mind and prior knowledge of the authors political and economic views.
If you want to read an optimist's account of the world today, this book is a must. I just finished it and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Lord Ridley's vision is refreshing and illuminating and his writing style is crisp and clear. 5/5.
Ridley starts with putting Darwinism back where it should have stayed: nice theory, but a bit too small to get so much attention. Ridley then goes on to show that many of the doom scenarios that certain scientific people and even more politicians have wished us to believe through the years. Again he does this by showing that there is a lot more to say about all these issues.