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The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power Paperback – Illustrated, December 23, 2008
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"Spellbinding...irresistible...monumental...must be read to understand the first thing about the role of oil in modern history." -- The New York Times
"A masterly narrative...The Prize portrays the interweaving of national and corporate interests, the conflicts and stratagems, the miscalculations, the follies, and the ironies." -- James Schlesinger, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and U.S. Secretary of Energy
"Splendid and epic history of oil.... The story is brilliantly told...with its remarkable cast of characters." -- The Wall Street Journal
"Impassioned and riveting...only in the great epics of Homer will readers regularly run into a comparable string of larger-than-life swashbucklers and statesmen, heroes and villains." -- San Francisco Examiner
About the Author
Daniel Yergin is the bestselling author of The Prize, The Commanding Heights, Shattered Peace, Russia 2010, and What It Means for the World, and coauthor of Energy Future. Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a leading international energy consulting firm, he is also global energy expert for the CNBC business news network.
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It focuses on the effects of oil on the economies of both consuming and producing nations as well how access to oil affects the political power of nations. It makes clear how this access to the energy source affected all nations and was a huge driver in transforming the global economy.
I originally found out about this book through an Energy Economics course I was taking during my undergrad at Michigan Technological University. The course was a hybrid undergraduate/graduate course, and one of the differentiators was that the graduate students had to read The Prize and write a paper on it.
This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the oil industry, its history, its geopolitics, and how oil has shaped policy and war for the past 100+ years.
-cons: This book could be condensed. There are many sections that become more lengthy than they really need to be.
IT feels a bit aloof in an effort to be objective. The sentiments of various people and groups towards oil (good or bad) were negligible in the book which gave it almost a sterile feel. Perhaps some would argue that this is a pro, but I didn't care for it.
The vocabulary was often distracting. A choice of wording that would be much more straight forward would be overlooked in order to use words that felt more "scholarly", but instead felt awkward. It also became distracting when awkward vocabulary was used way too repetitively, for example; his indefatigable use of the word indefatigable.
-pros: Overall, it was very readable for such an enormous topic. It was orderly and clearly written. It read like a story and not like a textbook, which was quite a trick for such dense material.
I liked how he would let a few years play out in the book then go back and replay those years, but in a different location. It broke it up into bite size digestible chunks.
Most importantly, the content was fantastic. I now have a much stronger understanding of just how oil plays its enormous role in the global society. I can't say enough about how well this book informs its reader in an enjoyable and insightful way.
Lastly, I found it relatively easy to comprehend. It may at points be dry material, but in no way did i feel like this book was written over my head. I suggest to others who might be wondering about this book not to be intimidated.