My guest today is Matt Ridley, a British science writer, journalist and businessman who holds a PhD from Oxford in Biology. He’s worked for many famous publications such as The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and The Times (London).
Matt is probably best known within the FIRE community for his award-winning book, The Rational Optimist, published in 2010.
This is one of the best books I’ve ever read that offers a counterpoint to the prevailing pessimism of our age and proves, however much some people like to think to the contrary, that things are getting better.
Some of the topics we cover are:
- How did Matt come to be a writer? (08:18)
- As a scientist, what attracted Matt to economics, business and politics? (14:17)
- The relationship between evolution and human innovation (16:39)
- Why did Matt write The Rational Optimist? (20:25)
- Matt’s famous TED Talk – “When Ideas Have Sex” (24:56)
- How much better are we living in the 21st century compared to our ancestors? (30:03)
- Is the 24/7 continuous flow of information good or bad for humanity? (36:27)
- Matt talks about his new book – “Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19” (50:50)
- Book – The Rational Optimist
- TED Talk – When Ideas Have Sex
- Animated version of essay – I, Pencil – Leonard E. Read
- Book – Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19
- Website – mattridley.co.uk
If you like books in this vein, couple of others are 1. Factfullness by Hans Rosling, 2. Enlightenment Now – Steven Pinker.
Thanks for the recommendations, Chloe. I’ll have to check them out 🙂
This is your best podcast yet. Well done, would love to hear more content like it.
Yeah, agree. Fascinating conversation, thanks for branching out AF!
Thanks a lot Bill 🙂
I’ve got more interesting conversations coming up!
Great work AFB, glad to see you branching out to other topics instead of just shutting down after the updated ASIC guidelines. What a great pod, Matt has an interesting view of the world and it has certainly given me some food for thought!
Glad you decided not to edit out the controversial parts… Stuff the haters mate!
I really appreciate the feedback Jared.
Maybe ASIC forcing me to branch out into other areas will end up being a good thing haha.
I’m all about interesting conversations these days and I’ll away try to bring them back to a FIRE context.
I’m glad you enjoyed this one 🙂
I rarely leave a comment, but I felt compelled to do so. I loved it! I don’t agree with everything that was said but I thoroughly enjoyed the different perspective on so many topics.
I thought this was one of the best podcast that I have listened to in long time. Please keep up the amazing work!
Thanks so much for the feedback Hp 🙂
Really enjoyed this one mate. It’s always amazing to me that people seem to think that things are so bad when it’s beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’re living in far better times than any other people in history.
Great talk on the Covid stuff as well, without wanting to get into the politics of it too much it’s fair to say that I think what Matt was saying made a lot of sense.
He’s a very interesting character, isn’t he? I love his books!
This was a cracking episode
I’ve only just listened to this podcast – it was suuuuuuper interesting. Loads to think about, thanks
Thanks Sianzilla 🙂