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Editor reviews

Essential for anyone living in the modern world, Oil, plumbs the depths of our globalized societies' greatest commodity. In the beginning of the audiobook, Vaclav Smil warns that this book does go into mathematical and scientific detail, and is therefore best suited for those with at least some familiarity with those subjects. The audiobook is a well-researched, unbiased look at how oil affects virtually everyone on this planet. Smil goes into minute detail describing the processes of finding, extracting, refining, and selling oil.

Later, Smil ponders our future in regards to oil. Can we wean our dependence on oil as supplies diminish? What would that future look like? These and many other questions are addressed in this timely audio, narrated by staid and eloquent Robert Meldrum.

Summary

Packed with fascinating facts and insight, this book will fuel dinner party debate and provide listeners with the science and politics behind the world’s most controversial resource. Without oil, there would be no globalisation, no plastic, little transport, and a global political landscape that few would recognise. It is the lifeblood of the modern world, and humanity’s dependence upon it looks set to continue for decades to come. In this captivating audiobook, Vaclav Smil explains all matters related to "black gold", from its discovery in the earth, right through to the political maelstrom that surrounds it today.

©2008 Vaclav Smil © 2008. (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

"In a fluent, easy style [Smil] delves into the world of oil from its discovery on the ground through to its effect on prices at the petrol pumps, and to its impact on future generations." ( The Good Book Guide)
"Everything most people - including most economists and investment advisors - should know about the physics and economics of oil." ( National Post)
“Terrific. Smil has done it again, producing a book from which we can all create new insights, this time explaining oil production, consumption and the broader impacts it has upon society.” (Chris Mottershead - Distinguished Advisor Energy and the Environment, BP plc, and Director of the Carbon Trust in London)

What members say

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Profile Image for Talbot
  • Talbot
  • 20-03-16

Absolutely Masterful! Comprehensive yet succinct.

Where does Oil: Bolinda Beginner Guides rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Right near the top few % of the few hundred books I've read.

If you could give Oil: Bolinda Beginner Guides a new subtitle, what would it be?

The Definitive Macro Level Oil Industry Summary for Executives, Workers, and Learners of every variety.

Any additional comments?

98% of the time, I thoroughly enjoyed the narrator's accent and delivery! (However, his pronunciation of the word "asphalt" always sounds so odd to my southern Louisiana ears!)

Nevertheless, his accent and highly skilled delivery tremendously enrich the content, and will imbue some reader's experience with a globalized, cosmopolitan tone (and concomitant sense of wonder.) And this meshes perfectly with the underlying content.

Truly an excellent book, and an excellent production.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Don K in Alaska
  • Don K in Alaska
  • 09-05-15

Great summary of the facts

it takes great skill to write a çoncise summary of so much important knowledge. I loved it .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 31-01-18

good data presented! thank you.

good data presented! I cannot wait to read the energy follow-up. thank you Vaclav Smil.

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Profile Image for See Reverse
  • See Reverse
  • 18-12-17

Part Encyclopedia

It took focus to get through this book. The author is clear up front that this is a study, more than a story of oil. Although it can feel like listening to someone reading the encyclopedia of oil, there is enough of a story here to be worth the time. I'm not any closer to understanding how oil is drilled, but I have a much deeper understanding of where oil is headed as an industry.

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Profile Image for Ryan
  • Ryan
  • 24-05-16

Best book on oil

Very good synopsis of oil. My only complaint is there is so much info packed in here, you almost need to buy the kindle version as well for reference.

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Profile Image for Kurt Emery Matson
  • Kurt Emery Matson
  • 11-12-14

Oil! 7 Hours of facts and science!

What did you like best about Oil: Bolinda Beginner Guides? What did you like least?

Loved the clarity, wish the book was 4 times as long and more in depth.

What other book might you compare Oil: Bolinda Beginner Guides to and why?

It's as if Bill Gates let his TED talk go for 7 hours, instead 15 minutes. A lot to go over, and well evaluated.

What does Robert Meldrum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

As a dyslexic person, I couldn't 'just read the book'... So you could say that with Roberts help I was able to absorb 30% of the books facts and 90% of it's conceptions, where as if I read it I would have absorbed maybe 30% of it's facts but 10% of its conceptions...

Did Oil: Bolinda Beginner Guides inspire you to do anything?

Yes, it has inspired me to try and invest in natural gas companies.

Any additional comments?

If you want to know how the world works, I think Vaclav Smil may be an author for you!