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The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  2,494 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year 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 c ...more
Hardcover, 805 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Penguin Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dec 05, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, economics
This book is a very comprehensive treatment of all the issues related to energy. The book systematically describes the history, economics, development, transportation, security, and future of the main sources of energy; oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, electricity, renewable (wind, solar, hydroelectric, plant-based), and "conservation". The danger of greenhouse gas causing climate change is also described in detail. After reading this book, I finally understand why we keep hearing predictions th ...more
This is something quite extraordinary.

A sprawling, epic story covering energy and its effects on policy, with characters and topics and events from the beginning of the industrial revolution to the death of Osama and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Covers oil, the petrostate, war, electricity, the computer age, climate change, the new carbon economy, renewable energy, and what is to be done in the future. And all this in a very lucid and readable style.

I would go so far as to say that the search
Mal Warwick
Jan 27, 2012 Mal Warwick rated it it was amazing
Daniel Yergin’s Superb New Book: A Brilliant Survey of Energy Issues

Some two centuries ago a profound economic shift upset the traditional relations of East and West. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, Western Europe and the United States began to overtake the great civilizations of China and India, the planet's wealthiest and most sophisticated societies throughout most of recorded history.

Now those two centuries of increasing imbalance are coming to an end, the result of the combine
Narrated by Robert Petkoff

29 hrs and 31 mins

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
Jun 15, 2014 Tobias rated it liked it
Broad and shallow where The Prize is narrow and deep, The Quest is at best a half-sequel to Yergin's epic history of the oil industry. It's a serviceable tour of the horizon over all the issues related to energy in the twenty-first century - oil, renewables, nuclear, electricity generation, conservation, climate change, etc. - and as a result is a less cohesive and ultimately less entertaining book than his earlier book. In The Prize, Yergin offers in-depth portraits of key players and detailed ...more
Jun 27, 2016 Rob rated it really liked it
As I understand it, the author was an academic who earned his Ph.D. in International Relations at Cambridge. Based on his academic work, he wrote a Pulitzer prize winning book titled 'The Prize' in 1990, which was about the global oil industry and its effect on global economics and politics. This book (The Quest) picks up where 'The Prize' left off. It also goes beyond oil to incorporate every other major and minor form of energy, both renewable and non-renewable. Tying all of that in to the evo ...more
Dec 22, 2014 Pieter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economie
The sequel of "The Prize", which focuses on the history of oil. The author deals in "The Quest" with the short period about oil that was left uncovered in the "The Prize", starting from the second Gulf War (invasion of Kuwait). In the meanwhile, oil has further dominated world politics: Chavez, Saddam Hussein, Nigeria and Iran. Next to that, the oil industry got involved in several mergers & acquisitions: Conocco Phillips, BP Amoco, Exxon Mobil and Total Elf to name a few.

Contrary to Fukuyam
May 06, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
Yergin's description of the history of modern energy and its effects on the global economy and politics was surprisingly easy to read and quite enjoyable. It's a bit long--don't read it if you're unwilling to spend some time looking at the oil politics and various warscrises of the Middle East and the former USSR. Personally I found all of that history very helpful. While I knew that oil drives a lot of international politics I never knew just how much, or really how important it is to the gover ...more
Aug 05, 2016 Marcus rated it really liked it
Readable, extensive coverage of the subject. A few things really struck me that I came away with:
- It was revealing to read about how everyone can get it wrong. The chapter detailing the speculation around the permanence of high oil prices, hopefully, will be an enduring lesson to me to be mindful that consensus opinion can get caught up disastrously in a mistaken confirmation loop.
- Made me feel really admiringly towards those in the sciences and in industry working to find the answers to our e
Energy debates in the U.S. public policy are focused around independence and oil. Yergin details the development, production, history and economics of the various energy resources that are used right now and the potential of those in development.

Why I started this book: It's been on the Army's recommended reading list for a while and I found an audio copy.

Why I finished it: Exhaustively researched, I was amazed to learn that this is the 5th time that we have been at the brink of running out of o
Paulo Goncalves
Aug 12, 2015 Paulo Goncalves rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastico, !! cobre o desenvolvimento historico do uso do petroleo , da energia eletrica e chega aos dias de hoje com energia eolica, solar e etanol
Sep 27, 2011 Rioman marked it as to-read - review from nytimes
Jun 16, 2012 Kevin rated it liked it

I'll say it was a good book, very comprehensive and wide-ranging (something like 717 pages). It covered everything from picking up on oil-industry politics where The Prize left off (1992 - the present), a big focus on the history of climate change science and policies around it, and the history and prospects for renewable energies. It was not as focused as The Prize, though I can see that being difficult as The Prize was a straight history covering a specific topic: oil, where is this was more b
Nandini Goel
May 16, 2016 Nandini Goel rated it it was amazing
"The Quest" by "Daniel Yergin" provides an elaborate outlook of how the modern world has developed around their energy needs and how the energy security and new methods of energy development are the need of the hour. Energy trade, today, traverses national borders and energy security is not just about countering the wide variety of existing threats, it is also about the relations among nations, how they interact with each other and how energy impacts their overall national security.

It is very i
Glen Stott
May 29, 2014 Glen Stott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, history
It took me several months to read and digest this book. It is 685 pages of text and about 200 pages of back of the book stuff – notes, index, etc. Yergin digs through a mound of information regarding nearly every aspect related to energy. I was surprised at how thoroughly he covers the subject. He begins with fossil fuels, primarily oil and natural gas and includes a good deal of information about coal. He moves from there to electricity, and nuclear. His work includes the behind the scenes meet ...more
Ramtin Bidshahri
Dec 28, 2016 Ramtin Bidshahri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A comprehensive analysis of the role energy in contemporary society. Daniel Yergin conceptualizes the interplay of geopolitical dynamics, with corporate interests and its impact on modern day life. The emphasis is on fossil fuels (oil and gas) but he elaborates fairly on an array of renewable sources, and the challenges embedded within them. Some commentary on climate change and policies enacted to address the issue also included. Absolute must read 5/5.
Nov 16, 2016 Dutch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Information dense Quest

A tough read at times, but Yergin is a genius at bringing together vast, complex subjects into a digestible form. The Quest is a great addendum to his masterwork, The Prize, and arguably more relevant for anyone interested in the future of world energy.
Cheyn Shah
Jan 19, 2017 Cheyn Shah rated it liked it
Comprehensive and readable, but uncritical and blandly written. Worth reading for the information if not the prose.
Mykyta Kuzmenko
Dec 19, 2016 Mykyta Kuzmenko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Интересная и очень познавательная книга по довольно современной истории развития рынка энергоносителей.
Dec 26, 2016 Paul rated it liked it
Interesting stories about how various energy pipeline projects have been successfully or unsuccessfully worked over the past decade.
Void lon iXaarii
Mar 06, 2014 Void lon iXaarii rated it it was ok
I was really happy to find a book on this topic which I believe is crucial for the wellbeing of pretty much all people. In my opinion in the book there were way too many of what I call "newspaper style" introductions, where instead of presenting research data the author would make long winded descriptions of characters and moments of time/day/season. All in all I learned a lot of interesting stories and data from the book which is why it was worth the money and time, but at the same time it was ...more
McKenzie Dickens
Mar 12, 2013 McKenzie Dickens rated it it was amazing
Where It All Comes From

It’s not everyday that one considers where the source of energy comes from. Our energy is so seamlessly weaved into everyday life that it’s easy to forget that the supply chain has a beginning. The process doesn’t stop when you turn on a lamp, use your multitude of gadgets or fill up your ultra efficient Toyota Prius. This topic is explored in Daniel Yergin’s The Quest, a massive, comprehensive examination of the world we live in through the lense of global energy consump
Jan 11, 2017 Nick rated it it was ok
Did not finish. Stopped at 82%. The first half was quite good but then it got very very dull heading into the long haul. I had to cut my losses and move on, which is something I will rarely do with a book.
Oct 18, 2016 Jose rated it really liked it
A good place to start to obtain information about the general history of the energy industry and the fundamental elements that affects its movement that may impact its future.
Justin Tapp
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Making of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin
This book was on a recommended reading list produced by the State Department under the "(Geographic) Area Studies" subheading. I would not recommend it as informational about any particular region in the world. I did not find it nearly as enjoyable as Yergin and Stanislaus' Commanding Heights, which I was surprised is not on the State Department's reading list. The first 1/3 is on the history of energy and developmen
Jeff Easterling
Mar 22, 2014 Jeff Easterling rated it really liked it
The Quest offers an exhaustive history and depiction of the modern, international energy industry for a casual reader. Exhaustive and casual are words typically not used together, but they describe Yergin's 800-page narrative of the modern industry's rise and its politics. The Quest is best described as collection of primers: on oil and gas competition in the post Cold War Era, American energy security, the development of electric power in America and renewable energy.

Yergin's voice is strongest
David James
May 18, 2012 David James rated it really liked it
Anyone wishing to understand energy issues eventually needs to read Daniel Yergin. His classic work, "The Prize," left most of its readers viewing the history of the twentieth century through a barrel of oil. "The Quest" has been marketed as something of a sequel to that earlier book, but it is less a history than an overall assessment of our current energy situation. Ranging from oil to alternative fuels, environmental concerns to electricity options, geopolitics to speculations on the future, ...more
Aug 12, 2016 Srikanth rated it really liked it
What is this book about?

It is about the past, present & future of energy and all things associated with it. Since oil is one of the majorly used commodity as energy & one of the main sources of a number of problems it talks about all of them

Author: Daniel Yergin is a legend with respect to oil, energy & all things associated with it.

The subject of this book is vast. Some topics or subjects covered in the book are

Policy: Public policy, energy policy & climate policy
Engineering, sc
Christian Dibblee
May 14, 2015 Christian Dibblee rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-history
Compared to The Prize, this book is rather disjointed and, at points, a little boring. But overall there's a lot to like, as Yergin is an engaging writer, even in topics where he might not be as learned.

One of the biggest points across this book is that the U.S. should look outside its borders to find good examples of how renewables and alternatives can be used. For instance, the feed-in tariff in Germany substantially helped the wind industry to gain traction in the electricity of Europe. Brazi
Henry Mahone
Sep 26, 2016 Henry Mahone rated it it was amazing
As Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut" is to "The Wall", so is Daniel Yergin's "The Quest" to "The Prize".

Don't hold your breath waiting for the board book, parents of precocious toddlers.
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Anyone feel it's inappropriate to read The Quest before The Prize? 6 36 Sep 28, 2013 07:15PM  
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Daniel Yergin is the author of the new bestseller The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World which has been hailed as “a fascinating saga” about the “quest for sustainable resources of energy,” and “the book you must read to understand the future of our economy and our way of life,” not to mention “necessary reading for C.E.O.’s, conservationists, lawmakers, generals, spies, ...more
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“A lesson in bringing about true changes of mind and heart comes from a Japanese functionary. By day, he crunched numbers that showed his country was approaching imminent energy crisis and helped to craft policy. By night, he weaved a novel in which a bureaucrat-hero helps see the country through to new energy sources. When the crisis came faster than he expected, he actually put the novel away because he did not want to make the burden of his countrymen worse. When the short-term crisis passed, he published his novel. It's phenomenal and well-timed success fueled the vision that inspired difficult change and maintained a sense of urgency.” 4 likes
“An important United Nations environmental conference went past 6:00 in the evening when the interpreters' contracted working conditions said they could leave. They left, abandoning the delegates unable to talk to each other in their native languages. The French head of the committee, who had insisted on speaking only in French throughout the week suddenly demonstrated the ability to speak excellent English with English-speaking delegates.” 2 likes
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