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An extended argument that human intelligence and the well-being it allows is created, collected, maintained, distributed and extended by trade. Trade is "ideas having sex." Ridley builds his case with point after point then examines all the usual counterexamples and objections, taking them out one by one. It's a wonderful book. Of course it helped that he was preaching to the choir with me. What's most delightful is Ridley's goodhearted skewering of pessimists -- the technological and environmentalist Jeremiahs in particular -- with the most obvious of weaknesses is their flimsy cases. He's almost embarrassed for them. Ridley is a bit repetitive at times, but maintains a wry humor and lighthearted tone throughout, which makes his writing all the more effective. He's a good writer and he's right about everything.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
We really are living in special times. This book with Pinker's "Better Angels of our Nature" show how we are living at a very special time and things will most likely only get better. The book demonstrates how humans became special through our ability to trade with one another. You'll learn about prehistory and how the average person has it better than the Sun King, Louis XIV. After all, we have Novocaine and a seamlessly but complex system of trade which brings food from all over the world to my local table for an incredibly affordable price.
If you can give a person only one gift, let it be the gift of optimism. They will live longer on average and have happier lives. This book will help even the most pessimistic among us become an optimist.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful