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The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age Hardcover – October 27, 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"A thought-provoking book. Using vivid detail, he injects life and purpose into the story of elements. He persuasively explains the danger of underestimating a business that...plays a critical role in systems worth about $4 trillion." --The Economist

"A remarkable book that genuinely changes how one views such objects as the iMac I am typing this review on...extremely engaging." --Literary Review (UK)  Michael Burleigh

“In The Elements of Power, David Abraham explores a phenomena essential to our everyday lives and our future, but rarely studied or understood in the context of global policy or daily life. This is a book not just for specialists but also for those who are trying to chart a sustainable future for the world.”--Christie Todd Whitman, 50th governor of New Jersey, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

“Abraham deftly explains why the age of technology is also the age of rare metals--and what that could mean for the world. This book lays the groundwork for an important discussion we need to have.”--Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, and author of Every Nation for Itself

“For those of us who marvel at hybrid cars, smartphones, and wind turbines, but don't really know where indium, europium, and tantalum come from, an uneasy feeling is beginning to gnaw. In this extraordinary book, Abraham shows that the countries that control rare metals will control the future. His exhaustive research and vivid explanations are alarming and compelling.”--Robert C. (Bud) McFarlane, former National Security Advisor and cofounder of the United States Energy Security Council

"[Abraham] makes the subject matter highly accessible and engaging...in this sweeping and fascinating narrative." --The US Review of Books

“With intelligence and nuance, Abraham sounds the alarm and brings attention to a coming resource conundrum. We are entering an age when the need for mere grams of obscure-sounding metals will have vast geopolitical consequences.”—James Stavridis, Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and Supreme Allied Commander, NATO (2009 to 2013)

"Extraordinary...Although I've written extensively about modern mining and its consequences, I've never read anything that approaches the comprehensive expertise of The Elements of Power...Abraham's reporting deserves special praise." - Pacific Standard (Tim Heffernan)

“David Abraham makes a complex, hidden but important subject both accessible and fascinating. Combining first-hand accounts with global statistics, he portrays the full picture of rare metals. His warnings and recommendations deserve our attention.”—Dennis Blair, Former Director of National Intelligence

“A compelling, illuminating, and hugely important analysis...a brilliant discussion of what we need to do in the coming ‘Rare Metal Age’.” --General David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army (Ret.), Chairman, KKR Global Institute

"Compelling...The Elements of Power makes a green case for rare metals... His passion for rare metals is genuine, and can be inspiring." -- The New Scientist

"[A] Fascinating and important book" -- The Times (UK)

“Fast-paced…It succeeds in welcoming readers of any background to the otherwise impenetrable conversations about rare metal politics...[which] could scarcely be relayed more engagingly” -- Royal Society of Chemistry, Chemistry World

About the Author

David S. Abraham is a natural resource strategist who previously analyzed risk on Wall Street and at an energy-trading firm, oversaw natural resource programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget, and ran a water-focused NGO in Africa. Previously, he was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Tokyo University and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. He currently directs the Technology, Rare and Electronics Materials Center. He speaks widely and his writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
  • Hardcover : 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0300196792
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0300196795
  • Product Dimensions : 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Publisher : Yale University Press; Illustrated Edition (October 27, 2015)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 50 ratings

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
50 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 14, 2019
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3 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2015
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4 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 18, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Liam Kelleher
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, well written and broad piece of work on metals and mining
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2020
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J. P. Sykes
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable introduction to the 'critical metals' issue
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 17, 2016
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2 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can we notice to consume gadgets at this rate
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 24, 2016
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Mr P. Todd
4.0 out of 5 stars You don't need to be too technically minded to enjoy this easy to read book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 7, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars Covers its topic - Rare Metals - brilliantly
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2016
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