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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Is flying dangerous? How much do the world's cows weigh? And what makes people happy?

From earth's nations and inhabitants, through the fuels and foods that energise them, to the transportation and inventions of our modern world - and how all of this affects the planet itself - in Numbers Don't Lie, Professor Vaclav Smil takes us on a fact-finding adventure, using surprising statistics and illuminating graphs to challenge lazy thinking.

Packed with 'well-I-never-knew-that' information and with fascinating and unusual examples throughout, we find out how many people it took to build the Great Pyramid, that vaccination yields the best return on investment and why electric cars aren't as great as we think (yet). There's a wonderful mix of science, history and wit, all in bite-sized chapters on a broad range of topics.

Urgent and essential, Numbers Don't Lie inspires listeners to interrogate what they take to be true in these significant times. Smil is on a mission to make facts matter, because after all, numbers may not lie, but which truth do they convey?

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Vaclav Smil (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil." (Bill Gates)

What listeners say about Numbers Don't Lie

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More vaccine propaganda

Was enjoying the book until chapter 4, where the author drops a shameless promotion of vaccines and the eugenics outfit The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I immediately deleted the audiobook from my device.

Smil should be ashamed of himself. The narrator was good.

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Fascinating book

Easy to listen, well explained examples of what is happening in the world. Nothing too heavy

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Fascinating

I enjoyed this book. Plenty to digest and I’m sure it’ll influence me to make better choices for my family and the environment.

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Poor audio and narration, overall good

Impossible to listen with air pods, outside - volume too low. Exacerbated by narrator’s voice - hoarse and low pitched.

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Interesting but dry

As the titel says, it's about numbers. Which can make it a bit of dry matter. To be it was definitely worth it nonetheless. Especially with the added pdf file.

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Similar to latest Gates book but less politically

The latest book from Bill Gates is clearly heavily inspired by the work of Václav Smil. The difference is that Smil is not so careful when pointing out where the numbers don't add up.

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pdf are very poor

clearly neither author nor publisher have cared about the accompanying pdf which are so important to this book but are almost useless to read on my phone.

the performer of the text is excellent.

content is OK but so superficial at times that you wonder why it is included.

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  • Telebiopic
  • 29-10-20

Such an intense book is sadly not suited for audio listening!

This book is brilliant, do yourself a favour, go out and purchase a print or kindle edition as of yesterday and read it, annotate it and refer back it. It is a distillation of Dr Smil’s books and expertise. However as an audible product, the concept density per spoken line is very high and that you keep hitting rewind on audible, makes it frustrating. This book is not for casual reading, let alone listening on audible. Dr Smil is my absolute favourite thought leader. I love this book and ended up rereading, the kindle version this time.

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  • HagayV
  • 19-07-21

Bite size chapters with fascinating information

Smil links supposedly unrelated statistical information into an interesting narative. Each chapter is short, with just enough information on a specific subject to trigger your toughts and fill your understanding.

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  • Dzevdet Dautbegovic
  • 22-08-21

Great book

Great book, puts sometimes empty numbers that we are bombarded by into real life perspective.

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  • Jorge
  • 13-08-21

A collection of fun facts superficially researched

Surprised of the recommendation by Bill Gates about this book. Is a collection of interesting facts that seems to me like a book to read to make conversation in dinner parties. Nothing really special about it, returning it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-07-21

Awesome insight

Beautiful analysis of the facts that currently exist around us... As we are so easily duped into thinking we "know" everything and that everything is just magically going in the right direction... Vaclav finds a modern way to open your eyes to many misunderstandings that we currently have about our current world, especially the fact that we, as humans, don't entirely know what we're doing, but through constant efforts at obtaining deeper understanding, we do get somewhere eventually, and through this constant process we continually progress.

Important insight from a human that has vast amounts of knowledge.

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  • Jasson
  • 17-05-21

Interesting read, but poor audio quality

The book and the narrator were decent, but the audio quality was not very good. I had set the volume to 100% to hear it properly.