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Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider
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Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk from an Energy Insider

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews
As president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister was known for being a straight shooter, willing to challenge his peers throughout the industry. Now, he’s a man on a mission, the founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, crisscrossing the country in a grassroots campaign to change the way we look at energy in this country. While pundits proffer false new promises of green energ ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Palgrave Macmillan Trade (first published January 1st 2010)
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I gave this 2 stars, but maybe that's a little too harsh. A 2.5 might have been more fair. The problem I have with "Why we hate the oil companies" is not so much its message. By itself, it is rather interesting to read about the energy and environmental problem through vision of someone from the inside of what is usually portrayed as evil itself. This book does the job of giving that inside view quite nicely. Of course, all the way through, it is important to keep in the back of your head that y ...more
A healthy sense of energy realism is what this book provides.

More often than not, people do not actively think about energy and where it comes from.
If the government says that solar energy will replace hydrocarbons by next year, we would probably take their word for it without trying to come our own conclusions.
It goes against our temperament to think in terms of numbers, of how a fringe source that is currently providing ~5% of our total energy needs is supposed to multiply it's own productivit
Tom Schulte
I read this book with a discussion with someone about high gas prices. Like most things, I imagine the truth is more complex than may be supposed when making assessments from a paucity of information. I was hoping for some insight. The author spends most of the book explaining not issues like that but how we are hydrocarbon society and alternative fuels lack in promised. Largely the book could have been titled “Why We Can’t Live Without Fossil Fuels And Why Nothing Is Better Than Them”, or somet ...more
Okay, so again I found myself having read almost everything in the house except this. While Hofmeister often had an angry and evangelical tone I tended to agree with him more often than disagree. In particular (and I've been saying this for years) this country is so divided that I just don't know how we can ever solve the problems we have. Bipartisanship is out of the question in Washington and if you try you are castigated by your own party. Not even a Pearl Harbor style attack on the WTC could ...more
Renee Blanchard
I thought this was a good read though incredibly misleading if you aren't paying attention to the issue on a regular basis. For example, he states that industrys always follow the clean water act because they understand that clean water is part of doing good business. Shell Oil is notorious for clean water violations all over the world, but the author fails to mention any of this. I think this is a good book for climate deniers, people who aren't quite ready to have a serious conversation on sol ...more
I came away impressed by this book. I always suspected that there is oil almost everywhere and John Hofmeister confirms my belief. The problem with getting it is the government. The government will not allow drilling in a lot of places. Judges also block drilling. The government and judges that do this are idiots. They are driving up the price of oil and inflation with it. They also are costing jobs because consumers do not have extra cash after paying to heat their oil heated homes. That lost m ...more
I found this book easy to start, but difficult to finish. In fact, it took me over a year cover to cover. I think that's for a few reasons: one, the subject matter was unfamiliar, so I really had to think it through. Two, I didn't take the author's word for anything; I gave every statement that he presented as fact a careful mental review, even if it was just to decide that I didn't have enough information to evaluate it accurately.

I am glad I read the book, but it certainly wasn't light or easy
This book was borrowed from Isaac. He lent me this book last year for my Eng10 class papers since my topic is about energy. Though this book gives off a lot of knowledge about energy but mostly about oil (it's obvious in the title right?), I haven't got many information in this book that can enhance my paper. At least I learned something about oil that could be essential in my future since I'm planning to master the field of petrology.
Jun 19, 2010 Jaclyn rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Johanna
I appreciated Hofmeister's insight into the oil/gas industry and do agree with many of his points concerning the mis- and disinformation of the American public. The education on various sources of energy was helpful, and I feel like I can at least take part in some small way in the wider discussion on energy and "energy independence." This was a great read for a layperson and I would recommend it to anyone who can read it for the facts it presents, regardless of whether or not you agree with Hof ...more
Jul 14, 2010 Lucky added it
Shelves: abandoned
Not worth my time. This guy was president of Shell oil. He claims to be an environmentalist, but his whole premise is that the US needs to be more energy independent, which is fine, but nowhere does he suggest that we need to consume less. I take it he thinks that's unrealistic, therefore we need to amp up everything & have more off shore drilling, more wind turbines, more "clean" coal, more nuclear energy, more dams, more of everything that produces energy at home. And he's very upset about ...more
This book from an energy insider, did not have a lot of "insider" information. Hofmeister's primary argument is that we will be stuck burning hydrocarbons for a long time, which we should get used to. He argues that we need to start moving towards "clean" energy but it will take a long time. He argues that ineffective government (speaking specifically of the U.S) is holding the nation back from more energy independence and a secure energy future for the states. This book did not offer much new i ...more
Jan 18, 2011 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Linda by: Charlie Rose 5-13-10; Today 5-16-10
Shelves: ill-chcpl
It took me a longer time to read this than it should have (it's only 237 pages), but there was a lot to take in - especially how messed up our government is as far as regulating energy - there isn't just one department, numerous departments have to agree.

A worthwhile read.
Much was interesting and I learned some things, but he was a bit too much of an "insider" for me to trust his word on the overall positive and negative aspects of various energy alternatives. And his tone was was pretty self-satisfied and smug, which was off-putting.
A really insightful explanation of the oil industry from an insider. He gives a very pragmatic explanation of the energy industry now.
Certainly a thought provoking book by the former head of Shell Oil. No it is not a defence of oil companies.
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