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How the World Really Works

Best Seller
How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil
Hardcover $28.00
May 10, 2022 | ISBN 9780593297063

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  • May 10, 2022 | ISBN 9780593297063

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Praise

“A new masterpiece from one of my favorite authors… [How The World Really Works] is a compelling and highly readable book that leaves readers with the fundamental grounding needed to help solve the world’s toughest challenges.”Bill Gates

“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.”—The Washington Post

“[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. ”—The New York Times

“How the World Really Works
represents the highly readable distillation of this lifetime of scholarship… Mr. Smil looks over the horizon of the future with humility and calmness, foreseeing ‘a mixture of progress and setbacks, of seemingly insurmountable difficulties and near-miraculous advances.’”Wall Street Journal

“The renowned energy scientist … aims to [recenter] materials rather than electronic flows of data as the bedrock of modern life — largely through examining what he calls the four pillars of modern civilization: cement, steel, plastics and ammonia.” The New York Times Magazine

“A scientific panorama of our well-being and how it can be sustained in our current tumultuous times and beyond. [Smil] aims to combat the widespread “comprehension deficit” about basic scientific facts, and he seeks to “explain some of the most fundamental ruling realities governing our survival and our prosperity.” That aim is marvelously achieved…[this is] an exceptionally lucid, evenhanded study of the scientific basis of our current and future lives.”Kirkus, STARRED review

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