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I bought this after hearing Bill Gates wax lyrical on Vaclav Smil's books. I'm studying for a Masters in sustainability and wanting a better understanding of the way energy is produced and used, I thought this would be a good place to start. Despite having a Bachelor's in Science, I found this book very hard to comprehend. A few diagrams might have helped to get the points across better.
To be perfectly clear, the book itself is worth the buy. Very detailed explanation in a manner that both a highschooler and an academic would enjoy the read. Having that said, the package didn't supply necessary protection, as the Paperback arrived somewhat dented..
A crítica que faço ao livro é o seu título. Não se trata de uma obra para iniciantes. Os detalhes dos processos de conversão de energia são fascinantes. A fotossíntese e o aproveitamento da energia solar são descritos de forma compreensível mas com muita profundidade. O melhor, no entanto, é a correlação da energia com a história do mundo. Uma leitura indispensável para quem gosta de história e energia.
In this relatively short book, the author discusses energy. Starting with basic concepts and units of measurement, he discusses energy in nature, in human history, in the modern world, in everyday life and in the future – each in its own separate chapter.
As is usual for the books that I’ve read by this author, it reads like a textbook – authoritative, factual, focused, and dense with information yet very readable. Each page glows with facts – some which I found less interesting but most which I found quite mesmerizing. Just about all aspects of energy, from its production to its consumption, is covered here is a very concise way. I believe that this book would be of interest principally to serious readers who would like to broaden their knowledge in this most important topic.
Vaclav Smil, a pesar de haber escrito y divulgado acerca de la ciencia durante muchos años, saltó a la fama tras vaias menciones de Bill Gates, que lo consideró como uno de sus científicos de cabecera. Smil evidentemente es un torrente de conocimientos científicos y escribe muy bien. Sin embargo, sus libros parecen escritos como resúmenes para especialistas más que para divulgación para el gran público. Este pequeño libro debería ser una introducción al concepto de energía, y cómo éste afecta a la economía y sociedad, pero en dos páginas ya está lanzando fórmulas al lector y jugando con términos de especialista. Parece que el autor no quiere tener la paciencia para dar al lector lo que en realidad buscaba al comprar el libro. En conclusión, es un libro interesante, pero no para todos. Hay que leerlo con mucha paciencia y, sobre todo, releerlo más de una vez para sacar todo el provecho que promete.
Might be interesting for people looking for a highly scientifc book, but I prefer these books written with a little bit more love and excitement. Read two chapters and got bored by the way it is written. Facts are interesting, but it is just a lot of facts and information - kind of exhausting to read (for me personally)...
Inglese non troppo impegnativo. Il libro espone in maniera basilare le conoscenze fisiche preliminari alle tematiche energetiche; per poi affrontare da vicino ogni tipo di energia cercando di esporre i pro ed i contro di ogni tecnologia. Non mancano comparazioni anche numeriche in grado di far riflettere non poco su quale possa essere il nostro sviluppo nei prossimi anni.
Smil is the guru of energy information and has been for some time. I really enjoyed the book - it has broad scope and lots of details on all energy sources, as always, coupled with his usual down-to-earth attitude. The intensity and vast amount of data may, however, overwhelm some readers who would place themselves in the beginner category.
Vaclav Smil (the author) having already written so many books on subjects related to energy (ex. E. and civilization, or Prime movers, or Making the modern world), one may fear this book is only one more book by the same author on the same subject. However, I feel this book serves a useful purpose because it covers a larger variety of concerns about energy in a smaller volume than previous Smil's books (it almost fits in one's pocket). Covered concerns are the very concept of energy, the climate, its harnessing in history, its role in our modern world, and questions for our future. As usual with this author the book is abundantly documented, and it is laden with numbers, but as the author writes in another book "he will never apologize for that". Altogether, I recommend this book, at least for readers who have not already read Smil on that same subject.