Via trade and other cultural activities, "ideas have sex," and that drives human history in the direction of inconstant but accumulative improvement over time. The criers of havoc keep being proved wrong. A fundamental optimism about human affairs is deeply rational and can be reliably conjured with.
Trained at Oxford as a zoologist and an editor at The Economist for eight years, Matt Ridley's newest book is The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. His earlier works include Francis Crick; Nature via Nurture; Genome; and The Origins of Virtue.
Stewart Brand is co-founder and president of The Long Now Foundation and co-founder of Global Business Network. He created and edited the Whole Earth Catalog (National Book Award), and co-founded the Hackers Conference and The WELL. His books include The Clock of the Long Now; How Buildings Learn; and The Media Lab. His most recent book, titled Whole Earth Discipline, is published by Viking in the US and Atlantic in the UK.
Matt Ridley's books have sold over 800,000 copies, been translated into 27 languages and been short-listed 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 2006 he published Genome, a national bestseller. In 2007 he won the Davis Prize from the US History of Science Society for Francis Crick. His most recent book, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, was published in 2010.
He is married to the neuroscientist Professor Anya Hurlbert. They have two children and live at Blagdon near Newcastle upon Tyne.
As the director of the Long Now Foundation, Alexander Rose has facilitated projects such as the 10,000 Year Clock with Danny Hillis, the Rosetta Project, Long Bets, Seminars About Long Term Thinking, Long Server and others. Rose shares several design patents on the 10,000 Year Clock with Danny Hillis, the first prototype of which is in the Science Museum of London.
Hired as the first employee of the foundation in February of 1997, Rose has been an artist in residence at Silicon Graphics Inc., a project manager for Shamrock Communications, and a founding partner of Inertia Labs. Rose attended the Art Center College of Design and graduated with a bachelor of arts honors degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Industrial Design in 1995.
Matt Ridley, journalist and author of The Rational Optimist, examines the driving force behind human evolution and technological innovation, especially over the past 100,000 years. Ridley argues the answer lies in the development of exchange, or trade.