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

Category: Book
By (author): Smil, Vaclav
Subject:  MATHEMATICS / Probability & Statistics / General
  NON-FICTION / General
  POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Science & Technology Policy
  SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Publisher: Viking
Published: May 2022
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 384
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 0.96in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*"Vaclav Smil is my favorite author."--Bill Gates
 
An essential analysis of the modern science and technology that makes our twenty-first century lives possible--a scientist's investigation into what science really does, and does not, accomplish.


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--the foolishness of allowing 70 per cent of the world's rubber gloves to be made in just one factory became glaringly obvious in 2020--and that our societies have been steadily increasing their dependence on fossil fuels, such that any promises of decarbonization by 2050 are a fairy tale. For example, each greenhouse-grown supermarket-bought tomato has the equivalent of five tablespoons of diesel embedded in its production, and we have no way of producing steel, cement or plastics at required scales without huge carbon emissions.
 
Ultimately, Smil answers the most profound question of our age: are we irrevocably doomed or is a brighter utopia ahead? Compelling, data-rich and revisionist, this wonderfully broad, interdisciplinary guide finds faults with both extremes. Looking at the world through this quantitative lens reveals hidden truths that change the way we see our past, present and uncertain future.
Biographical NoteVaclav 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.