Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World” as Want to Read:
The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,319 Ratings  ·  254 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Quest, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Quest

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondGhost Wars by Steve CollThe Origins of Political Order by Francis FukuyamaOn China by Henry KissingerA People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
FSO Reading List
7th out of 67 books — 30 voters
The Prize by Daniel YerginPeak Everything by Richard HeinbergThe Quest by Daniel YerginThe Long Emergency by James Howard KunstlerHot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
Best books about energy issues
3rd out of 31 books — 23 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
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
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
Mar 24, 2013 Ilya rated it liked it
Shelves: energy
A bird's-eye survey of today's world of energy. Most of the discussion is centered on oil, which is Yergin's specialty. The world seems to have used up 1 trillion barrels of the stuff since the modern oil industry appeared in the late 19th century; there are 4 more to go. Much of the oil is hard to obtain: in Canada and Venezuela it is mixed with sand; off the shore of Brazil, it is under 2 kilometers of water and 5 kilometers of salt. Yet Yergin is dismissive of peak oil theorists: each decade, ...more
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
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
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
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
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
In a quest to do some light reading this summer, I picked up The Quest and dove right in.

No, I'm kidding. I knew going into this, that this book would be a heavy book to read, full of lots of information and many things to put inside my head.

I found the book fascinating. I learned many things. I've already forgotten much of what was in here - it's a long book with a lot of things in it. But I feel like my big picture understanding is light years ahead of where it was before I picked this book up
Apr 20, 2015 Adrian rated it really liked it
In contrast to his previous epic of energy, The Prize, Yergin's updated offering, The Quest, deals with a far more complex, and controversial matter, energy diversity and sustainability.
The Quest begins with the familiar, and all too ubiquitous, energy source, oil. Following on from The Quest, Yergin examines the new developments within the oil industry, such as the return of Russia to the scene, the resource race around the Caspian, the rise of super majors, and the impact of conflict upon the
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
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
Jul 04, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t enjoy ‘The Quest’ quite as much as The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, but it is an equally well-written and compelling read. The earlier book has a simple chronological structure, whereas this one has a wider scope and darts about in time. As a result, the discussion of renewables appears slightly fragmented. Nonetheless, this is a very solid, thorough, and interesting account of recent and current energy issues. It provides a useful contextual synthesis for those stud ...more
Justin Tapp
Oct 02, 2014 Justin Tapp rated it really liked it
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
Mar 23, 2014 Vivian rated it really liked it
As in "The Prize," Yergin writes a gripping, detailed history of the global quest for energy, of all kinds: oil, as in his previous book, but also renewables (solar energy, wind, and other consumables), coal, natural gas, and nuclear, continuing from the end point of "The Prize," (about 1990) to 2012. The issues involved in finding, processing, transporting and consuming all these different types of energy are complicated and political, but Yergin explains these things in a clear and comprehensi ...more
Chris Bauer
Dec 19, 2014 Chris Bauer rated it it was amazing
Or as I call it "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Energy But Didn't Know Who to Ask."

An utterly fascinating look at every aspect of ENERGY; from the geopolitics, to history, to companies, to other energy sources, to future innovation and its impact on our lives.

While it was a very demanding and lengthy book, I could not put it down. Every chapter builds well upon previous chapters to create a historical and geographical mosaic of how energy affects everyone and everything.

I very much en
Jan 06, 2015 Ernest rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A well researched, finely written, eye opening view of what is called "Black Gold." This book spans the ages, from the discovery of fossil fuels and sticks with current affairs about the evolution of the commodity that has become a little bit more demystified yet greatly sought after as the biggest source of energy across the world. Daniel Yergin has provided a great historical backdrop to educate everyone about the great oil industry, the past, the present and the future. A wonderful read if yo ...more
Jake Wellman
Feb 09, 2014 Jake Wellman rated it it was amazing
The manual of energy in the 21st century, Yergin's encyclopedia answers all the questions a modern "all of the above" energy strategy elicits in concerned citizens. In an age marked by security, environmental, and economic crises, our sources of energy are central to every aspect of everyday life and modern geopolitics. After reading The Quest, one can proceed with at least an objective knowledge base of the wide array of energy sources available to the modern society. One clear takeaway--no sou ...more
Sep 27, 2011 Rioman marked it as to-read - review from nytimes
Aug 24, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
This is book is incredibly rich with information about EVERYTHING energy. Obviously at over 800 pages, it's not a light or quick read-- but the depth of information and learning makes it worth getting through.

It starts with a deep dive into the world of oil-- the history and politics that have shaped the landscape we have today in Russia and the former Soviet nations as well as the Middle East. I really enjoyed learning more about this background, as sometimes I find it hard to really contextua
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
Jun 20, 2016 Augusta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, economics
This is an extremely interesting book about the history of energy sources. It is an enormous book that only touches on a huge number of topics, including the history of oil and electricity, our understanding of climate and climate change, other renewable sources of energy, and extremely important, the importance of energy politics and how crucial this is to the world’s handling of the issue of energy, arguably one of the most important world issues today.

Despite being 750 pages, excluding refere
Neil Crocker
Jan 31, 2016 Neil Crocker rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
If you want to know the current state of the energy industry and energy markets and only want to read one book, this is the one, by a mile.
This is a very good book but not as good as “The Prize.” “The Prize” filled me in on the fascinating history of oil discovery and commercialization and confirmed my belief that our standard of living and quality of life is essentially 100% because of the (God’s?) gift of oil in the ground and mankind’s ability to exploit it.
“The Quest” picks up where “The Pri
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Anyone feel it's inappropriate to read The Quest before The Prize? 6 33 Sep 28, 2013 10:15AM  
  • China Goes Global: The Partial Power
  • Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future
  • Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power
  • Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China
  • A World-Class Education
  • A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia
  • Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power
  • Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century
  • Oil 101
  • Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity
  • The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
  • The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea
  • Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power
  • Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System
  • The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
  • The World America Made
  • Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise
  • Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines
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
More about Daniel Yergin...

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…