Presented as a series of short vignettes, on topics as wide ranging as the height of Japanese men to the manufacturing challenges of wind turbines, Smil’s latest work is a move away from his more traditional academic style. His emphasis remains on the importance of data and numbers in assessing the state of the world, but this is a very accessible book intended for a wide audience. I’ve read nearly all of Smil’s books and this is the one I recommend to friends who don’t have the time to read an 800-page academic work.

Barry

By Vaclav Smil

From Earth’s nations and inhabitants, through the fuels and foods that energize them, to the transportation and inventions of our modern world – and how all of this affects the planet itself – in Numbers Don’t Lie, Professor Vaclav Smil takes us on a fact-finding adventure, using surprising statistics and illuminating graphs to challenge lazy thinking. Smil is on a mission to make facts matter, because after all, numbers may not lie, but which truth do they convey?

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