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How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We're Going

Smil bites off a lot in How the World Really Works. I suppose a more clear title would be How Society is Dependent on Energy, because that's what this book is really about. Instead of arguing about climate change importance or impacts to society, Smil takes a tour through how energy is really used. How reasonable is a carbon-neutral future? Where do we spend our current energy budgets, and what innovations is the world utterly dependent on?

This book serves as an accessible introduction to think more about energy policy, and is educational and enjoyable along the way. If the topic is interesting to you, you'll like this book.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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