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Energy and Civilization

562 pages, 2018

science & nature

science & nature

1064 books
economics & politics

economics & politics

987 books


392 books


999 books

Our ability to transform the energy surrounding us into fuel and power has driven our economy and propelled our technological progress, since the time of cavemen making fire. Robert Smil's latest book, Energy, and Civilization: A History, traces this trajectory. A comprehensive account of how we got here, it is a must-read for any historian or student of human development.

The Role of Energy in Civilization

Vaclav Smil explores the crucial role energy has played in the development of human civilization. He argues that without energy, there would be no civilization. It's the fuel that powers our societies, economies, and technologies. So, if you're interested in understanding how our world works, you need to check out Energy and Civilization.

Energy Transitions

Smil digs into the history of energy transitions, from the use of fire to the invention of steam engines and nuclear power. He shows that these transitions were not quick or easy, but took centuries. This gives us a new perspective on our current energy challenges and the shift towards renewable energy.

The Complexity of Energy Systems

Energy and Civilization is not just about the past, but also about the present and future. Smil takes a look at the complexity of our current energy systems and the challenges we face in managing them. He makes it clear that there are no easy solutions, but understanding the complexity is the first step towards finding them.

The Environmental Impact of Energy Use

Smil doesn't shy away from the environmental impact of our energy use. He explores how our reliance on fossil fuels has led to climate change and other environmental problems. If you're interested in sustainability and want to understand the root causes of our environmental challenges, you should definitely read this book.

The Future of Energy

Finally, Smil looks into the future of energy. He researches the potential of renewable energy sources and the challenges we face in transitioning to them. He doesn't offer easy answers, but he does provide a clear-eyed view of the road ahead. If you're interested in the future of our planet and our civilization, you'll find Energy and Civilization a fascinating read.

Quotes 5

Smil is one of my favorite authors, and this is his masterpiece. He lays out how our need for energy has shaped human history.

Bill GatesBill Gates - Microsoft Co-founder

Vaclav Smil's Energy and Civilization is a comprehensive, insightful exploration of how energy powers the world, and how it will determine our future.

Elon MuskElon Musk - Tesla CEO

Smil's Energy and Civilization is a fascinating read. It's a comprehensive look at how energy has shaped society throughout history.

Mark ZuckerbergMark Zuckerberg - Facebook Founder

Smil's book is a deep dive into the history of energy and its role in human civilization. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the future of energy.

Jeff BezosJeff Bezos - Amazon Founder

Vaclav Smil's Energy and Civilization is a thought-provoking exploration of the history of energy and its impact on human society.

Richard BransonRichard Branson - Virgin Group Founder
Bill GatesElon MuskMark ZuckerbergJeff BezosRichard Branson


Bill Gates

Bill Gates

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Nat Eliason

Nat Eliason