The Quest

  • by Daniel Yergin
  • Narrated by Robert Petkoff
  • 29 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this gripping account of the quest for the energy that our world needs, Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Prize.
A master storyteller as well as a leading energy expert, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change. It is a story that spans the energies on which our civilization has been built and the new energies that are competing to replace them. From the jammed streets of Beijing to the shores of the Caspian Sea, from the conflicts in the Mideast to Capitol Hill and Silicon Valley, Yergin takes us into the decisions that are shaping our future. The drama of oil - the struggle for access, the battle for control, the insecurity of supply, the consequences of use, its impact on the global economy, and the geopolitics that dominate it - continues to profoundly affect our world.
Yergin tells the inside stories of the oil market and the surge in oil prices, the race to control the resources of the former Soviet empire, and the massive mergers that transformed the landscape of world oil. He tackles the toughest questions: Will we run out of oil? Are China and the United States destined to come into conflict over oil? How will a turbulent Middle East affect the future of oil supply?


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Lots of Facts, Little Analysis

This book was pretty good, with very good narration, but it was a bit dry for my taste. The book is loaded with historical information and factoids about the energy industry, energy production technology and climate change, but it seems to me to lack the perspective, depth, and analysis of a good history and lacks the details of a good technical primer. The book takes a non-investigative journalistic tack and the author seems to go to extremes to not expose his own point of view (which is, of course, impossible). The author’s views come through, but only through subtle framing of ideas. I found this a little insidious. I prefer reading many books with many different, yet strong and clear, points of view. The author glosses over many important issues, then presents a bunch of cute anecdotes. The little science presented is weak at best. A bunch of facts may be somewhat interesting but more scrutiny and analysis would make this a much stronger book. Having a book on energy without even mentioning fusion seems odd to me. I learned quite a bit more from Global Warming: Global Threat.
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- Michael "I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read."

Best nonfiction book of 2011

2011 was a great year for nonfiction, but no book comes close to The Quest for claiming top honors.

Everything we do depends on energy. Every industry, including higher education, ultimately is possible due to energy. Without energy, we could not teach or do research, heat our classrooms and offices, or cool our data centers. If you walked to campus today (or worked at home) that is terrific, but most of us relied on gasoline to power our cars for our commute. Higher ed may not be like the airlines, where fuel is the largest expense (ours is labor), but we are no less dependent on energy to run our business than Southwest airlines.

The past, present, and future of worldwide energy is a big topic, one that requires a big book. The Quest is 816 pages, none of which are wasted. This is an efficient book. Yergin manages to keep the narrative moving along without skimping on either the stories or the numbers.

The Quest systematically examines every major source of energy, including oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, solar and wind. The origins, technology, sustainability, and personalities attached to each of these major energy sources is given a complete and balanced treatment.

Readers looking either for an indictment or defense of our carbon or renewable fuel sources will be disappointed, as Yergin is scrupulously even-handed and non-polemical. Energy turns out to be too important, and too complicated, to be reduced to simple narratives and slogans. Rather, Yergin manages to consider the role of energy in the environment as well as the economy, while making strong (and actionable) policy recommendations for a sustainable energy future.
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- Joshua Kim "mostly nonfiction listener"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-12-2011
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio