Michael E. Webber – Power Trip


A global tour of energy – the builder of human civilization and also its greatest threat.

Energy is humanity’s single most important resource. In fact, as energy expert Michael E. Webber argues in Power Trip, the story of how societies rise can be told largely as the story of how they manage energy sources through time. In 2019, as we face down growing demand for and accumulating environmental impacts from energy, we are at a crossroads, and the stakes are high. But history shows us that energy’s great value is that it allows societies to reinvent themselves.

Power Trip explores how energy has transformed societies of the past and offers wisdom for today’s looming energy crisis. There is no magic bullet; energy advances always come with costs. Scientific innovation needs public support. Energy initiatives need to be tailored to individual societies. We must look for long-term solutions. Our current energy crisis is real, but it is solvable. We have the power.

Author: Michael E. Webber
Narrator: L. J. Ganser
Duration: 9 hours 8 minutes
Released: 19 Jul 2005
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Language: English

User Review:

spaniel anti-Soviet

Michael Webber has done an excellent job of explaining the evolution of energy throughout human history. He is able to describe complex topics with overlapping threads without getting bogged down in technospeak. I especially enjoyed his chapters on water and food. They opened my eyes to connections I’d never put together before. In many ways his method of tying things together reminded me of Freakonomics.

I was disappointed in the style of the narration by L. J. Ganser. I know Michael Webber and know his speaking style. He has a great sense of humor and doesn’t get preachy. Ganser’s narration missed the humor and often sounded like a sermon. I hope that Michael will do his own narrations in the future.

The main message of this book is that there are moral, ethical, and social considerations with all forms of energy. They evolve along with our civilization. No form of energy is all good or all bad. There are always trade-offs. Policy decisions need to be informed by an understanding of the potential consequences. Power Trip does a very good job of explaining what the trade-offs are and what we should be considering. Put another way, knowledge is power.