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How the World Really Works

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Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He is the author o... Read More

Product Description

Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of over forty books on topics including energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk assessment, and public policy. No other living scientist has had more books (on a wide variety of topics) reviewed in Nature. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, in 2010 he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers.Very informative and eye-opening in many waysIt 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 pastA 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 praiseYou 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 laborersThis accessible and witty book cuts to the chase of what we need to knowIf you are anxious about the future, and infuriated that we aren't doing enough about it, please read this book"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 informationSmil's meticulously researched words are for anyone who wants his priors reexamined and feathers ruffledAmbitious 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 readA compelling, fascinating, and most important, realistic portrait of the world and where it's goingCanadian polymath Vaclav Smil taught at the University of Manitoba for half a century. In this brilliant book, he does the hard work of crunching complicated data to present a clear and surprising picture of how our world - especially our physical world - really does workThis is a compelling read. It uses science and practical examples to clearly illustrate the kinds of resources we are consuming on this planet today - and the quantities, too. It lays bare how demanding the changes will be in our daily lives if the green transition in energy away from fossil fuels is to be achieved. It also makes clear how far humanity is lagging behind the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Getting China and India fully on board with this is absolutely critical if climate warming is to be even moderately tamed

* THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *

'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

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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. Drawing on the latest science and tackling sources of misinformation head on - from Yuval Noah Harari to Noam Chomsky - ultimately Smil answers the most profound question of our age: are we irrevocably doomed or is a brighter utopia ahead?
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'Very informative and eye-opening in many ways' HA-JOON CHANG, author of 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

'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

Product Details

Title: How the World Really Works
Author: Vaclav Smil
SKU: BK0463439
EAN: 9780241989678
Language: English

About Author

Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of over forty books on topics including energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk assessment, and public policy. No other living scientist has had more books (on a wide variety of topics) reviewed in Nature. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, in 2010 he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers.

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