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Energy: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides) Paperback – May 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1851684526 ISBN-10: 1851684522

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Product Details

  • Series: Beginner's Guides
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851684522
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851684526
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

David G. Victor - Director, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University"Smil's 'Energy' is rich in thoughtful insights and written in sparkling prose, this little book offers a sweeping survey of the many ways that energy moves our economy and ecology."Sir Crispin Tickell - Former Chairman of both the Board of the Climate Institute of Washington DC and the International Institute for Environment"This admirably clear and comprehensive guide shows how we us and misuse energy, and the prospects, as ever more if us devour the Earth's diminishing capital of fossil fuels."

About the Author

Author Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba, Canada. He has written over 10 books on energy and been a keynote speaker at both the World Economic Forum and the Global Roundtable on Climate Change. He is the first non-American to receive the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology and is a Special Fellow of the Royal Society.

More About the Author


Vaclav Smil is currently a Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. He completed his graduate studies at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Carolinum University in Prague and at the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences of the Pennsylvania State University. His interdisciplinary research interests encompass a broad area of energy, environmental, food, population, economic, historical and public policy studies, and he had also applied these approaches to energy, food and environmental affairs of China.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Science Academy) and the first non-American to receive the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology. He has been an invited speaker in more than 250 conferences and workshops in the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa, has lectured at many universities in North America, Europe and East Asia and has worked as a consultant for many US, EU and international institutions. His wife Eva is a physician and his son David is an organic synthetic chemist.

Official Website: www.vaslavsmil.com

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Brian H. Fiedler on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not truly a Beginner's Guide. The book is more like an Executive Summary of the many writings by the prolific author, up to 2005. No references are given. There is no appendix with useful tables of values. However, there are many useful tables, lists and values dispersed throughout the book. The book has a few flubs: confusing ultra-violet radiation with infrared, missing a "per year" in a sentence, and draft animals pulling with kg of force.

Some more serious problems occur on page 152, where the parenthetical definition of "net energy ratio" is actually the the definition of EROI, energy return on investment (of energy). The numbers discussed in the remainder of the paragraph are actually values of 1- 1/EROI . A true beginner would be flummoxed.

Another grievance is that the difference between installed capacity of wind power and the actual production of electrical power is not emphasized forcefully enough. A wind production number is given on page 169 (as a percent of world electrical power), but you are on your own to figure out the important capacity factor, and then to put wind power in a fair comparison with nuclear power and coal power. The summary of wind energy is otherwise excellent, as is the summary of photosynthesis and biofuels. All ethanol fans should read it.

The focus of the book in not renewable energy policy. The scope is much more grand, all done wonderfully in consistent S.I. Units, with respect for the intelligence of the reader. The author gets to the point. Energetics is the most concise way to organize knowledge of your universe. The brilliant author summarizes nearly all of it in 176 pages: your cells, your home economics, your technology, your planet.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Graybeard on November 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent primer on energy for people who want to be energy-literate. The book takes an interdisciplinary approach, discussing energy from historical, scientific, industrial, economic, end-use, social, environmental, political, legal, regulatory, and global perspectives. This 181-page book (176 pages of narrative) contains 33 helpful charts and diagrams, plus many excellent sidebar essays. Highly recommended.
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By Santiago Uribe on July 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
What I wanted
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is well written and fairly comprehensive but starts to get outdated, especially related to solar energy and itse impact in The world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An amazing amount of information compressed in less than two hundred pages. It would have helped to have more tables and charts to support the learning of the massive amount of data to be extracted from Mr Smil's prose. Would be interesting to see an updated edition.
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