I think that each person has only a few books which really change the way they think and define their world view - for me, this is one of them.
If you...moreI think that each person has only a few books which really change the way they think and define their world view - for me, this is one of them.
If you have ever wondered what money really is, or how it is that every nation, bank, company and individual seems to be in debt to someone else (one would naively assume that all the debt would cancel out no?) then this is a very good book to read.
Although at times it seems to stretch the religious aspects slightly it generally manages to explain things in a pragmatic manner without the pretentiousness of other texts.
If you are thinking of reading it then you certainly should - even if you entirely disagree with its conclusions you will have learned a lot.(less)
The best non-fiction book I have ever read. If I could insist that everyone read and understand only one book - this would be it.
It starts with an int...moreThe best non-fiction book I have ever read. If I could insist that everyone read and understand only one book - this would be it.
It starts with an introduction to the problems of climate change and resource depletion, discussing various alternative energy solutions (such as wind, solar etc.) at length and comparing these to fossil fuels, and of course fusion.
It then goes into great detail on tokamaks, which is of interest as they are the most mature form of fusion energy we have and dominate the available funding thus representing the most likely candidate for a first generation fusion reactor.
Some of the plasma physics and engineering details can be dry, but if it gets too bad I would recommend skipping them as even a non-technical reader can appreciate the later chapters. I have a degree in physics and found it to be very interesting and educational - virtually no mathematics is used, but the concepts can still be confusing.
The later chapters discuss alternative ways of achieving fusion (indeed the discussion on stellarators and Field Reversed Configuration and Dense Plasma Focus devices was especially interesting).
Hoaxes and false starts such as the famous Cold fusion of Fleischmann and Pons and the more scientifically sound but sadly unsuccessful approach of Muon Fusion is discussed.
The book concludes with a summary of the benefits of fusion and the cost of getting there.
Overall, the book is very, very good as it is educational in every single area, explaining ideas behind climate science, instabilities (do you know why water flows out of an upside down bottle despite the atmospheric pressure being sufficient to hold the water?) and economic and political issues.
The only downside to the book is that it will leave you feeling dismayed at both the lack of support for ITER/DEMO and the lack of funding for any (possibly simpler, cheaper and better) alternative approaches. One is left feeling rather like Nunez from H.G. Wells' 'The Country of the Blind' as you wonder why we continue to squander our wealth upon so many frivolous and fruitless endeavours whilst questions vital to our continued survival and prosperity go unanswered.
In conclusion - I would strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
Different enough from the film to be worth reading even after seeing it. It's more cynical and self-referential. I think the film does some things bet...moreDifferent enough from the film to be worth reading even after seeing it. It's more cynical and self-referential. I think the film does some things better (as far as it's possible to compare such different mediums) but the book is still excellent and much better than most books so well-deserving of five stars.(less)