Aussie Firebug

Financial Independence Retire Early



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)


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