How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil
'Another masterpiece from one of my favorite authors . . . If you want a brief but thorough education in numeric thinking about many of the fundamental forces that shape human life, this is the book to read. It's a tour de force' BILL GATES
We have never had so much information at our fingertips and yet most of us don't know how the world really works. This book explains seven of the most fundamental realities governing our survival and prosperity. From energy and food production, through our material world and its globalization, to risks, our environment and its future, How the World Really Works offers a much-needed reality check - because before we can tackle problems effectively, we must understand the facts.
In this ambitious and thought-provoking book we see, for example, that globalization isn't inevitable and that our societies have been steadily increasing their dependence on fossil fuels, making their complete and rapid elimination unlikely.
It is reassuring to read an author so impervious to rhetorical fashion and so eager to champion uncertainty . . . Smil's book is at its essence a plea for agnosticism, and, believe it or not, humility - the rarest earth metal of all. His most valuable declarations concern the impossibility of acting with perfect foresight. Living with uncertainty, after all, "remains the essence of the human condition." Even under the most optimistic scenario, the future will not resemble the past -- Nathaniel Rich ― New York Times
A grumpy, pugnacious account that, I would argue, is intellectually indispensable in the run up to this year's COP27 climate conference in Egypt. In short, How the World Really Works fully delivers on the promise of its title. It is hard to formulate any higher praise -- Simon Ings ― New Scientist
You can agree or disagree with Smil - accept or doubt his 'just the facts' posture-but you probably shouldn't ignore him . . . In Smil's provocative but perceptive view, unrealistic notions about carbon reduction are partly, and ironically, attributable to the very productivity that societies achieved by substituting machine work, powered by fossil fuels, for draft animals and human laborers ― Washington Post
This accessible and witty book cuts to the chase of what we need to know -- Caroline Sanderson ― The Bookseller, 'Editor's Choice'
If you are anxious about the future, and infuriated that we aren't doing enough about it, please read this book -- Paul Collier, author of The Future of Capitalism
"I am neither a pessimist nor an optimist; I am a scientist," Smil writes in the introduction, with typically Smilian swagger. In fact, he is more of a numberist, a polymath with a gift for rigorously crushing complex data into pleasing morsels of information -- Pilita Clark ― Financial Times
Smil's meticulously researched words are for anyone who wants his priors reexamined and feathers ruffled -- Joakin Book ― AIER
Ambitious and eye-opening . . . provides valuable insight as opposed to the agenda-pushing rhetoric commonly found in mainstream scientific literature. Data-rich, informative and eye-opening, How the World Really Works is a captivating read -- Lily Pagano ― Reaction
A compelling, fascinating, and most important, realistic portrait of the world and where it's going -- Steven Pinker, on Numbers Don’t Lie
- ASIN : B001XIIE24
- Publisher : Penguin Books Ltd (6 October 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0241989671
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241989678
- Item Weight : 230 g
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm