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Energy | a060e2ba-976b-4d9a-bd6f-1c3fc73c51bc

Vaclav Smil

Energy | a060e2ba-976b-4d9a-bd6f-1c3fc73c51bc

by Vaclav Smil

Energy | a060e2ba-976b-4d9a-bd6f-1c3fc73c51bc

Vaclav Smil

5 min
3 key insights
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Energy teaches the past origins of our energy, how we've used it throughout history to get to our present, and why we need to be careful about how we consume it to have a better future.

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Energy | a060e2ba-976b-4d9a-bd6f-1c3fc73c51bc

by Vaclav Smil

Energy | a060e2ba-976b-4d9a-bd6f-1c3fc73c51bc

Vaclav Smil

Overview

When you hear the word 'energy', what comes to mind? The feeling after your morning coffee or a great night's sleep? Maybe your physics classes and certain equations? Whatever the case, this scientific principle has played a vital role in our species's evolution. We've harnessed energy by using tools, plowing fields with oxen, and more recently learning how to burn fossil fuels. Figuring out ways to use energy more efficiently has always been a core aspect to mankind's progression.

Now, however, we're starting to face some grim realities of how we've been consuming energy for the last few years. It's time to understand this law of physics better and find healthier ways of keeping our world going - and that's exactly what Vaclav Smil teaches in his book Energy: A Beginner's Guide.

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"A useful analogy is to see traditional societies as relying on instantaneous (or minimally delayed) and constantly replenished solar income, while modern civilization is withdrawing accumulated solar capital at rates that will exhaust it in a tiny fraction of the time that was needed to create it."

Vaclav Smil

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Energy | a060e2ba-976b-4d9a-bd6f-1c3fc73c51bc

Vaclav Smil

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