FT Business Book of the Year

Best business books

All the books listed for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

The Rational Optimist

Ridley can no more disprove the doomsters than they themselves can substantiate their case. It is always possible that the next alarm will be vindicated. But we can learn a great deal by examining past scares and why they were falsified. — Read the complete FT review


We are wealthier, healthier, happier, kinder, cleaner, more peaceful, more equal and longer-lived than any previous generation. Thanks to the unique human habits of exchange and specialisation, our species has found innovative solutions to every obstacle it has faced so far.

In The Rational Optimist, acclaimed science writer Matt Ridley comprehensively refutes the doom-mongers of our time, and reaches back into the past to give a rational explanation for why we can – and will – overcome the challenges of the future, such as climate change and the population boom.

Bold and controversial, it is a brilliantly confident assertion that the 21st century will be the best for humankind yet.