I am not great with numbers. I know enough about analytics to realise that the most important thing, is to ask the right questions. Vaclav Smil does just that. And he provides some great succinct answers too. I first heard about this book by a review by Bill Gates. Love or hate him, Bill described this as one of his favourite books, and from his favourite author too. And Bill is a smart chap.
Vaclav asks some bloody big questions. What makes people happy? How far can China go? And digs into some timely subjects, such as why Europe should be so pleased with itself and the harsh realities of Brexit.
Is the US really exceptional? How far can China go? And he pits together two global heavyweights, India vs. China.
The 1880s were lit
I never realised just how mega the 1880s were. The most inventive time in human history. From the safety bicycle, to CocaCola, electricity and the internal combustion engine!
Heinrich Hertz’s experiments proved the existence of electromagnetic waves. Hello 5G, hello WiFi! And where would we be without antiperspirant, revolving doors and elevators?
There is a whole section on fuels and electricity. Why we need bigger batteries and why sunlight is still best.
In transport, we get around such topics as, why electric cars are not as great as we think. And just how safe is flying?
Have you ever wondered, how many people did it take to build the Great Pyramids?
Planet of the cows
Finally we move onto the environment. We learn about the planet of the cows, and the deaths of elephants. What’s worse for the environment – your car or your phone?
And Vaclav discusses insulation, arguably the best thing one can do for the environment. Perhaps Insulate Britain are on the right track?