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Reviews

  • Very informative and eye-opening in many ways

    Ha-Joon Chang, author of 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism
  • It is reassuring to read an author so impervious to rhetorical fashion and so eager to champion uncertainty . . . Smil's book is at its essence a plea for agnosticism, and, believe it or not, humility - the rarest earth metal of all. His most valuable declarations concern the impossibility of acting with perfect foresight. Living with uncertainty, after all, "remains the essence of the human condition." Even under the most optimistic scenario, the future will not resemble the past

    Nathaniel Rich, New York Times
  • A grumpy, pugnacious account that, I would argue, is intellectually indispensable in the run up to this year's COP27 climate conference in Egypt. In short, How the World Really Works fully delivers on the promise of its title. It is hard to formulate any higher praise

    Simon Ings, New Scientist
  • You can agree or disagree with Smil - accept or doubt his 'just the facts' posture-but you probably shouldn't ignore him . . . In Smil's provocative but perceptive view, unrealistic notions about carbon reduction are partly, and ironically, attributable to the very productivity that societies achieved by substituting machine work, powered by fossil fuels, for draft animals and human laborers

    Washington Post
  • This accessible and witty book cuts to the chase of what we need to know

    Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller, 'Editor's Choice'
  • If you are anxious about the future, and infuriated that we aren't doing enough about it, please read this book

    Paul Collier, author of The Future of Capitalism
  • "I am neither a pessimist nor an optimist; I am a scientist," Smil writes in the introduction, with typically Smilian swagger. In fact, he is more of a numberist, a polymath with a gift for rigorously crushing complex data into pleasing morsels of information

    Pilita Clark, Financial Times
  • Smil's meticulously researched words are for anyone who wants his priors reexamined and feathers ruffled

    Joakin Book, AIER
  • Ambitious and eye-opening . . . provides valuable insight as opposed to the agenda-pushing rhetoric commonly found in mainstream scientific literature. Data-rich, informative and eye-opening, How the World Really Works is a captivating read

    Lily Pagano, Reaction
  • A compelling, fascinating, and most important, realistic portrait of the world and where it's going

    Steven Pinker, on Numbers Don’t Lie

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