The Quest by Daniel Yergin

Daniel Yergin is well-known as a global energy guru, founder of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) and author of The Prize, the Pulitzer Prize winning history of the oil industry. He has now produced an even more ambitious book, The Quest. Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World.

This latest work covers not only the history of oil and gas but also electricity, climate and carbon and new energies. That adds up to over 700 pages, an exhaustive review and an  exhausting read. However it is well worth perservering. Yergin is well able to blend economics, politics, science and technology. He also has an eye open for the key people in the story so this is a very human story too. Added to this, Yergin is an industry player as well as being a gifted writer and historian so he has a good feel for industry dynamics.

Particularly interesting are his discussion of peak oil (which he discounts) and the history of climate change research. The book is packed with important facts. For example, I did not realise that the world’s population has tripled since 1950. There is also fascinating trivia. For example, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, turns out to be a civil engineer with a doctorate in traffic management.

Altogether a recommended read for anyone interested in energy.