In this week's Five Good Questions, we're interviewing Matt Ridley about his new book How Innovation Works. Matt Ridley's books have sold over a million copies, been translated into 31 languages and won several awards.
His TED talk "When Ideas Have Sex" has been viewed more than two million times. He writes a weekly column in The Times (London) and writes regularly for the Wall Street Journal.
As Viscount Ridley, he was elected to the House of Lords in February 2013. He also served on the science and technology select committee. With BA and DPhil degrees from Oxford University, Matt Ridley worked for the Economist for nine years as science editor, Washington correspondent and American editor, before becoming a self-employed writer and businessman.
Five Good Questions:
1. What was the single most important event in the history of humankind and why?
2. Campfire, dung, whale oil, kerosene, “Edison’s” light bulb, CFLs, and LEDs. What are the sweeping innovation lessons we can draw from how humans simply light their homes?
3. Does the use of debt allow us to pull innovation from the future, similar to overclocking a computer?
4. What do past responses to health epidemics teach us about dealing with COVID-19?
5. Has science gotten so complex, specialized, and expensive that accidental, tinkering, gentlemen scientists are no longer feasible? For instance, could I build a thorium reactor in my garage? Is centralized research by governments and big businesses the necessary answer?