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The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,163 ratings  ·  455 reviews
From the bestselling author of Lab Girl comes a slim, urgent missive on the defining issue of our time: here is Hope Jahren on climate change, our timeless pursuit of more, and how the same human ambition that got us here can also be our salvation. A Vintage Original.

Hope Jahren is an award-winning geobiologist, a brilliant writer, and one of the seven billion people with
Paperback, 210 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Vintage
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Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2020
Words cannot describe how much I love Hope Jahren. Check out my full review on Booktube: ...more
One-sixth of the global population uses ⅓ of the world’s energy and half the world’s electricity. They’re responsible for ⅓ of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, ⅓ of the world’s meat consumption, and ⅓ of the world’s sugar consumption. It’s statistics and data like this that Jahren breaks down for readers in a book that’s meant not to terrify readers about the overwhelming scope of global warming and climate change but instead, to instill hope that indeed, small changes add up over time.

David Wineberg
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down is a concise description of The Story of More. Hope Jahren has written a passionate, direct and searing indictment of what Man has made of this planet in just her lifetime (She repeats at least 20 times she was born in 1969). And yet, every chapter (there are 19) begins with a nostalgic look at her childhood in Minnesota, her parents, family rituals, and life at that time. She had a pet chunk of ice she named Covington that she kicked all the way to ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A beautiful (yet terrible) little book, well worth reading ... and sharing. A sobering yet accessible and empathetic introduction ... a gentle yet jarring dipping of one's toe into the water ... on climate change. And (during the era of coronavirus social distancing, as opposed to, say, the holiday season ... as you do your best to support your local independent bookstore), potentially, an excellent gift for a relative, friend, or neighbor open to learning something new and doing some hard think ...more
It does not matter if you "believe" in climate change or not. This book is full of such great information, well written and so readable, I found I could not put it down. I did listen to the audio and then went right out and bought the book (now in paperback) for myself and several friends. The audio is read by the author and she does an incredible job. Even if non-fiction is not your thing (and I am not a voracious non-fiction reader) this is excellent non-fiction and I hope a
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, wheel2020
I adored Lab Girl and it is the reason I read this book. I sadly wish I had not read it as this did not live up to that wonderful book. First, this was a very simplified view of the history of development and industrialization in the world with a focus on the US. This is a tiny book and the ground the author tried to cover plus amusing anecdotes lead to generalizations to the point of oversimplifications. It also assumed zero background knowledge, so space was spent defining DNA and the word tum ...more
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Story of More traces the impacts of climate change through the lens of human's desire for excessive consumption. The facts are personalised with Jahren's own experiences, demonstrating how every attitude we have towards our planet is inseparable from our own attitudes towards our lifestyle choices.

This book works decently as an introduction to climate change. The chapters are organised well by the things that we consume: the food we eat, the energy we waste, and the earth we've simultaneous
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eco
In The Story of More, Hope Jahren summarizes a Climate Change 101 course. I love books like this because they offer so much to casual readers. The best way to represent the value of Jahren's "Story of More" is to juxtapose it against other primers.

Many of these climate primers begin with the idea of a planet—without people. Al Gore, for example, shows the Blue Marble picture in his presentations and books. In The Weather Makers, Flannery begins with a graph of CO2 seasonally rising and falling a
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing

As if I couldn't love Hope Jahren even more! This incredibly readable explanation of how the world has changed since 1969 (the year of her birth) is informative and invigorating. It's not a battleaxe or a guilt trip about turning off the lights when you're not in the room; it's a clear-eyed reporting of our current state of environmental affairs and how we got here. I could not stop reading it. And, even if the environment is not your thing (which, come on, the Earth is all of our thi
Joy Clark
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well-researched, well-written, and full of useful, interesting, and somewhat terrifying information. Unlike many climate change books that focus on the problem, Hope Jahren lays it all out but also provides very specific, actionable changes that we, as readers, can implement relatively easily. You can tell she's a professor in the way she writes and communicates. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in climate science or who wants to know what we, as individuals, can do.
Patricia Murphy
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: conservation
I had the great privilege of reading The Story of More by Hope Jahren over the same course of days as reading We are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer, and finishing them both on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which also would have been my mother's 81st birthday had she not dropped dead of a heart attack in 2009.

I actually stopped reading the Foer book to read the Jahren book because I was frustrated with the tone and the focus in the former. I had a good few days where I switched back an
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an early release copy of The Story of More by Hope Jahren.

In her latest book, The Story of More, Hope Jahren provides all the warning sirens people paying attention would expect in a book on climate change, and she does it with equal amounts of careful research and human experiences. The book is broken into four sections with an appendix that provides resources readers of the first three will want to explore.

As a human, and especially as a parent, I came to this book looking for answe
Bonnie G.
I loved Jahren's first book Lab Girl, and I am delighted to report that this book may just be better. Jahren uses a combination of data and nostalgia for an America past to explain how what we do impacts the environment. This is certainly not my first book about the destruction of the planet, but it is my first book that 1) did not feel like eating my peas; 2) I truly enjoyed, and 3) convinced me to make a couple minor changes, effective immediately, to help chip away at the outsize portion of t ...more
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-nature
The best book by far I have ever read on this subject. Hope Jaren was told she had to teach a college class on climate change and she groaned. She was stuck with it though. So how to do her job?

She decided to start with pure facts. These are the ways in which our world has changed in her life time (since 1969). In simple terminology this Minnesota small town girl takes us through the changes in farming, ranching, fishing, what we eat, the energy we consume & where it comes from, etc. and does i
Jul 03, 2020 rated it liked it
The book starts strong with lots of interesting facts. I listened to the audiobook and half way through ordered the print version so I could hold on to more of the information. Hope Jahren does a great job of narrating her book, she has a lovely, friendly voice. I'm sure she is a favorite professor. The Story of More does begin to sound like a basic college course in environmental studies there are plenty of personal anecdotes, but I realize that print or audio without taking notes many of the s ...more
Alekhya Maram
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a great primer on climate change and other environmental catastrophes-- jahren breaks down the way our lifestyle of excess has lead to a number of troubling phenomena. would recommend to anyone who generally understands the problem of climate change, but wants to delve deeper into the specifics and statistics. my biggest problem with the book was that jahren starts every chapter talking about her childhood in minnesota, and i just didn't care. love her incisive humor though.
Lady Brainsample
I really appreciate a book that can discuss Really Big Problems in an approachable way. Climate change is one of those Really Big Problems that is super overwhelming in scope. The author tackles this topic in a way that makes it easier to understand and easier to place in context. She does so with grace and humility, showing that while scientists have been wrong on the timing, they've mostly been right on the consequences. I also appreciate that she doesn't stoop to fear mongering about everyone ...more
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I feel that although she understands more than anyone the terrifying situation that we are in with regard to climate change, she seems to give a pass to meat and aquaculture. Raising animals to become meat is one of the greatest contributors to global warming and there are no longer farms, animals are being tortured in CAFOs. She does not mention methane release or transportation costs. I agree that we can all consume less, but obviously that message is not getting through. We are in trouble and ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
thoroughly impressed by Jahren’s work. I appreciate the time she put in to define climate science research, provide resources, and make those connections to a drastically changing world in her lifetime. I also applaud the tone of the book. It doesn’t yell at the reader that they might not be making conservation-minded choices; rather she presents facts, encourages small steps over giant leaps, and never fails to remind the reader that “hope requires courage”
Madison Mclauchlan
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this - it was so accessible and well-researched, and I learned so much about agricultural industry and how it’s changed the environment. Also a great treatise on why cars suck! A must-read for anyone who wants to know more about climate change.
If I had one critique, it would be the omission of any discussion about corporate and military footprint.
Oct 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, dpl
3.5 Stars

My issue with The Story of More is my issue with most books about climate change, the focus is on individual contribution and the onus is put on the individual to solve the problems that no band of ordinary citizens can solve.

The Story of More is a well-written, informative book. I loved the way that Jahren broke different subjects down and I really enjoyed all the data points included. What I don't feel like pans out is the overall messaging. Jahren wants us to not feel fatalistic abo
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The main idea here is to USE LESS AND SHARE MORE. We already know that a specific handful of countries (with a small percentage of the world’s population) disproportionately use the greatest percentage of the world’s energy (US is at the top of the list). We also know that we currently produce enough food to feed the billion humans who starve and yet it is still an issue. This coupled with the fact that more and more of Earth’s citizens are rising in standard of living means at some point in the ...more
Sivaprem S
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Hope Jahren says “the best lessons start from shared experience”. And thus, instead of scaring us she tells the story of climate change as the story of us, Human beings. She tells why we live the way we live - because it’s better for us (clean water, abundance of food, uninterrupted electricity etc.,). She also tells what this culture of wanting more, everyday, is leading us to - overtaxed resources and warming planet, and what we may be able to do about it - renewables, changing habits etc.,

Shawn Mozeika
Sep 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
+I guess this could be a decent introduction to climate change if you've never heard of it before

-very surface level approach to understanding climate change,
-incredibly formulaic chapter structure of 4-ish paragraphs of anecdote, followed by 6-ish pages that might as well be a series of graphs,
-very much focused on the USA yet does not delve into anything specific about USA politics, history, or culture.
-seems to really minimize the systemic components of climate change, instead opting for the
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book. The prose is light and easily comprehensible, the chapters are short, and with some occasional humor, Jahren has produced a nice little guide to climate change that everyone ought to read. She grounds her observations of environmental change in a diverse array of issues including agriculture, energy, and waste among others, and she orients most of her data from the year she was born in 1969. The world has changed drastically since then (as you'll see with all ...more
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Readers who enjoyed “Lab Girl” as much as I did will welcome Hope Jahren’s new book, “The Story of More,” which examines the threats that our consumption of fossil fuels and our growing population pose to our world. “Using less and sharing more is the biggest challenge our generation will ever face,” Jahren writes, and “The Story of More”—based on a college course Jahren teaches and written in the same personal and conversational voice as “Lab Girl”—propels the reader through sections titled Foo ...more
Nov 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a well-written and readable book from a scientists' perspective about climate change, and it had a lot of very important and interesting facts and statistics. However, I found it to be very light on analysis and the solutions presented seemed quite shallow and based only around individual actions. While these are no doubt one important factor, there was almost no discussion of political or socioeconomic factors regarding climate problems and solutions which disappointed me. Overall a qu ...more
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m a big fan of Hope Jahren after reading her first book, Lab Girl, and now this one. She’s a wonky scientist that can make science appeal to anyone, and her autobiographical tidbits about growing up in small town Minnesota and other life adventures are sprinkled throughout, with her soft and quirky humor. I’ll bet she’s a favorite professor at her university in Oslo. She presents the facts that she has thoroughly researched in a fairly dispassionate tone, while also coming across as passionate ...more
Kylie Sparks
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I liked this book because it is very even-keeled. She doesn't go off on wild speculations about catastrophes that could happen--she just covers the basics of everything that has happened so far. This is a book you could recommend to a Republican relative who doesn't believe in climate change. And personally she has inspired me to recommit to making more sustainable choices in my life, something I've really gotten away from in the past several years.
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HOPE JAHREN is an award-winning scientist who has been pursuing independent research in paleobiology since 1996, when she completed her PhD at UC Berkeley and began teaching and researching first at the Georgia Institute of Technology and then at Johns Hopkins University. She is the recipient of three Fulbright Awards and is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been awarded both of ...more

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“Even if you consider yourself on the right side of environmental issues and a true believer in climate change, chances are that you are actively degrading the earth as much as, or more than, the people you argue with. An effort tempered by humility will go much further than one armored with righteousness.” 4 likes
“An effort tempered by humility will go much further than one armored with righteousness.” 3 likes
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