The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World

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by Daniel Yergin
     
 

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In this gripping account of the quest for the energy that our world needs, Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Prize. A master storyteller as well as a leading energy expert, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change. It is a story that spans the energies on which our

Overview

In this gripping account of the quest for the energy that our world needs, Daniel Yergin continues the riveting story begun in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Prize. A master storyteller as well as a leading energy expert, Yergin shows us how energy is an engine of global political and economic change. It is a story that spans the energies on which our civilization has been built and the new energies that are competing to replace them. From the jammed streets of Beijing to the shores of the Caspian Sea, from the conflicts in the Mideast to Capitol Hill and Silicon Valley, Yergin takes us into the decisions that are shaping our future.

The drama of oil-the struggle for access, the battle for control, the insecurity of supply, the consequences of use, its impact on the global economy, and the geopolitics that dominate it-continues to profoundly affect our world.. Yergin tells the inside stories of the oil market and the surge in oil prices, the race to control the resources of the former Soviet empire, and the massive mergers that transformed the landscape of world oil. He tackles the toughest questions: Will we run out of oil? Are China and the United States destined to come into conflict over oil? How will a turbulent Middle East affect the future of oil supply?

Yergin also reveals the surprising and sometimes tumultuous history of nuclear and coal, electricity, and the "shale gale" of natural gas, and how each fits into the larger marketplace. He brings climate change into unique perspective by offering an unprecedented history of how the field of climate study went from the concern of a handful of nineteenth- century scientists preoccupied with a new Ice Age into one of the most significant issues of our times.

He leads us through the rebirth of renewable energies and explores the distinctive stories of wind, solar, and biofuels. He offers a perspective on the return of the electric car, which some are betting will be necessary for a growing global economy.

The Quest presents an extraordinary range of characters and dramatic stories that illustrate the principles that will shape a robust and flexible energy security system for the decades to come. Energy is humbling in its scope, but our future requires that we deeply understand this global quest that is truly reshaping our world.

Editorial Reviews

Daniel Yergin's 800-page book The Prize; The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction. In the nearly two decades since then, readers have eagerly anticipated his follow-up to this ongoing story. The Quest doesn't disappoint. This equally mammoth book describes the central role that energy plays in global politics, economic development, and climate change. In a story that extends from burgeoning Chinese cities to remote Saudi oil fields to closed Washington boardrooms, the man generally regarded as America's preeminent energy expert reveals the continuing struggle for the world's most precious resource. One early reader called The Quest "a profound, unique, and brilliantly written book about some of the most important issues of our times.

Publishers Weekly
The romance with fossil fuels that the author chronicled in his 1993 Pulitzer-winning The Prize sours in this absorbing survey of the global energy industry and its environmental discontents. Yergin opens with an entertaining account of the last two decades of the oil-industry soap opera, recounting the chaos in the post-Soviet oil industry, the roller-coaster of oil price bubbles and collapses, and the impact of China's voracious appetite on energy markets. Enlivened with piquant historical background and profiles of major industry figures, Yergin's treatment is a canny analysis of terrain he understands well. (His debunking of peak oil anxieties is especially trenchant.) The book's second half examines the rise of global warming politics and the energy sources proposed as alternatives to carbon. Yergin's coverage is evenhanded, encyclopedic, and readable, but his mastery of these complex issues is less confident; his tour of renewables, from wind to cellulosic ethanol and algae, lacks depth and sometimes repeats boosterish claims, while his chapter on energy efficiency focuses more on green gadgetry than on lifestyle patterns. Yergin's perceptive, entertaining guide to the muddled quest for secure and sustainable energy lacks a systematic vision of how we might—or might not—get it. Photos. (Sept.)
The Wall Street Journal
“[A] sprawling story richly textured with original material, quirky details and amusing anecdotes... The tale is generously sprinkled with facts debunking common misperceptions, and Mr. Yergin sagely analyzes how well the energy industry really works.”
The Economist
 “Mr Yergin’s previous book, The Prize, a history of the global oil industry, had the advantage of an epic tale and wondrous timing… The Quest, as its more open-ended title suggests, is a broader and more ambitious endeavour… The Quest is a masterly piece of work and, as a comprehensive guide to the world’s great energy needs and dilemmas, it will be hard to beat.” 
The Financial Times
“It is a cause for celebration that Yergin has returned with his perspective on a very different landscape… [I]t is impossible to think of a better introduction to the essentials of energy in the 21st century. In Yergin’s lucid, easy prose, the 800 pages flow freely… The Quest is… the definitive guide to how we got here.”
Los Angeles Times
“The book then takes us on an exploration of the energy industry and its history, touching down in so many remote corners of the globe, filled with such a huge cast of sinister business magnates, visionary scientists, political scoundrels and con men that it sometimes reads like a novel.”
Dwight Garner
“Mr. Yergin is back with a sequel to The Prize. It is called The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, and, if anything, it’s an even better book. It is searching, impartial and alarmingly up to date… The Quest will be necessary reading for C.E.O.’s, conservationists, lawmakers, generals, spies, tech geeks, thriller writers, ambitious terrorists and many others… The Quest is encyclopedic in its ambitions; it resists easy synopsis.” 
Fareed Zakaria
“[An] important book… a valuable primer on the basic issues that define energy today. Yergin is careful in his analysis and never polemical… Despite that, The Quest makes it clear that energy policy is not on the right course anywhere in the world and that everyone—on the left and the right, in the developed and the developing world—need to rethink strongly held positions.”
Walter Isaacson
"This fascinating saga is the definitive book on the most important of global issues, the quest for sustainable sources of energy. Dan Yergin, the prominent energy expert of our times, weaves together security and environmental concerns to explain the system we have toady and to analyze the sensible paths forward. This is one book you must read to understand the future of our economy and our way of life."
Doctor - Henry Kissinger
"The Quest by Daniel Yergin, one of the world's most experienced and influential authorities on global energy, may well become the definitive work on the science, history, and economics of this most complex and important subject. This masterful and illuminating book on one of the most vital issues of our time, one that will powerfully influence international politics, economics, and nations worldwide, should be essential reading for policymakers everywhere."
Steve Coll
"In the magisterial style of his earlier global narrative of energy politics, The Prize, Daniel Yergin has again delivered a sweeping, authoritative account of the science, economics, and geopolitics of energy. His writing, as ever, is clear and intelligent, and his subject could hardly be timelier."
Senator - Richard Lugar
"The Quest superbly captures the great questions of energy and security that face our nation in this risky world. Daniel Yergin identifies the key issues, demonstrates their urgency, and lays out the choices. He does so with such deep expertise and with such vivid narrative writing as to make this book both important and compelling. It can help us see our way to a safer and sounder energy future."
LOS ANGELES TIMES
“The book then takes us on an exploration of the energy industry and its history, touching down in so many remote corners of the globe, filled with such a huge cast of sinister business magnates, visionary scientists, political scoundrels and con men that it sometimes reads like a novel.”
-Dr. Henry Kissinger
"The Quest by Daniel Yergin, one of the world's most experienced and influential authorities on global energy, may well become the definitive work on the science, history, and economics of this most complex and important subject. This masterful and illuminating book on one of the most vital issues of our time, one that will powerfully influence international politics, economics, and nations worldwide, should be essential reading for policymakers everywhere."
-Steve Coll
"In the magisterial style of his earlier global narrative of energy politics, The Prize, Daniel Yergin has again delivered a sweeping, authoritative account of the science, economics, and geopolitics of energy. His writing, as ever, is clear and intelligent, and his subject could hardly be timelier."
Senator Richard Lugar
"The Quest superbly captures the great questions of energy and security that face our nation in this risky world. Daniel Yergin identifies the key issues, demonstrates their urgency, and lays out the choices. He does so with such deep expertise and with such vivid narrative writing as to make this book both important and compelling. It can help us see our way to a safer and sounder energy future."
Library Journal
Twenty years after Yergin made news—and best sellers lists—with The Prize, he returns to reexamine the energy crisis. With corporate mergers and the scramble to control the resources of the former Soviet Union, oil is a bigger headache than ever, while nuclear, coal, and natural gas pose problems of their own. Then there's wind and solar energy. Given Yergin's fluency with energy issues, their vast importance, and the success of the last book, consider multiples. With a national tour.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
A sprawling story richly textured with original material, quirky details and amusing anecdotes... The tale is generously sprinkled with facts debunking common misperceptions, and Mr. Yergin sagely analyzes how well the energy industry really works.”
THE ECONOMIST
 “Mr Yergin’s previous book, The Prize, a history of the global oil industry, had the advantage of an epic tale and wondrous timing… The Quest, as its more open-ended title suggests, is a broader and more ambitious endeavour… The Quest is a masterly piece of work and, as a comprehensive guide to the world’s great energy needs and dilemmas, it will be hard to beat.” 
THE FINANCIAL TIMES
It is a cause for celebration that Yergin has returned with his perspective on a very different landscape… [I]t is impossible to think of a better introduction to the essentials of energy in the 21st century. In Yergin’s lucid, easy prose, the 800 pages flow freely… The Quest is… the definitive guide to how we got here.”
USA TODAY
The Quest is a book—a tour de force, really—that evaluates the alternatives to oil so broadly and deeply that the physical tome could double as a doorstop… It is best read slowly, perhaps one chapter per day maximum, if the goal is to actually absorb the rich detail and sometimes complicated workings described by Yergin.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES (Dwight Garner)
Mr. Yergin is back with a sequel to The Prize. It is called The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, and, if anything, it’s an even better book. It is searching, impartial and alarmingly up to date… The Quest will be necessary reading for C.E.O.’s, conservationists, lawmakers, generals, spies, tech geeks, thriller writers, ambitious terrorists and many others… The Quest is encyclopedic in its ambitions; it resists easy synopsis.” 
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW (Fareed Zakaria)
An important book… a valuable primer on the basic issues that define energy today. Yergin is careful in his analysis and never polemical… Despite that, The Quest makes it clear that energy policy is not on the right course anywhere in the world and that everyone—on the left and the right, in the developed and the developing world—need to rethink strongly held positions.”
The New York Times
Mr. Yergin is back with a sequel to The Prize. It is called The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, and, if anything, it's an even better book. It is searching, impartial and alarmingly up to date… The Quest will be necessary reading for C.E.O.'s, conservationists, lawmakers, generals, spies, tech geeks, thriller writers, ambitious terrorists and many others… The Quest is encyclopedic in its ambitions; it resists easy synopsis.” 
The New York Times Book Review
An important book… a valuable primer on the basic issues that define energy today. Yergin is careful in his analysis and never polemical… Despite that, The Quest makes it clear that energy policy is not on the right course anywhere in the world and that everyone—on the left and the right, in the developed and the developing world—need to rethink strongly held positions.
USA Today
The Quest is a book—a tour de force, really—that evaluates the alternatives to oil so broadly and deeply that the physical tome could double as a doorstop… It is best read slowly, perhaps one chapter per day maximum, if the goal is to actually absorb the rich detail and sometimes complicated workings described by Yergin.”
From the Publisher
Mr. Yergin is back with a sequel to The Prize. It is called The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, and, if anything, it’s an even better book. It is searching, impartial and alarmingly up to date… The Quest will be necessary reading for C.E.O.’s, conservationists, lawmakers, generals, spies, tech geeks, thriller writers, ambitious terrorists and many others… The Quest is encyclopedic in its ambitions; it resists easy synopsis.”  — THE NEW YORK TIMES (Dwight Garner)

A sprawling story richly textured with original material, quirky details and amusing anecdotes... The tale is generously sprinkled with facts debunking common misperceptions, and Mr. Yergin sagely analyzes how well the energy industry really works.” — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

It is a cause for celebration that Yergin has returned with his perspective on a very different landscape… [I]t is impossible to think of a better introduction to the essentials of energy in the 21st century. In Yergin’s lucid, easy prose, the 800 pages flow freely… The Quest is… the definitive guide to how we got here.”
THE FINANCIAL TIMES

An important book… a valuable primer on the basic issues that define energy today. Yergin is careful in his analysis and never polemical… Despite that, The Quest makes it clear that energy policy is not on the right course anywhere in the world and that everyone—on the left and the right, in the developed and the developing world—need to rethink strongly held positions.” — THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW (Fareed Zakaria)

 “Mr Yergin’s previous book, The Prize, a history of the global oil industry, had the advantage of an epic tale and wondrous timing… The Quest, as its more open-ended title suggests, is a broader and more ambitious endeavour… The Quest is a masterly piece of work and, as a comprehensive guide to the world’s great energy needs and dilemmas, it will be hard to beat.” 
THE ECONOMIST

The Quest is a book—a tour de force, really—that evaluates the alternatives to oil so broadly and deeply that the physical tome could double as a doorstop… It is best read slowly, perhaps one chapter per day maximum, if the goal is to actually absorb the rich detail and sometimes complicated workings described by Yergin.” — USA TODAY

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Mr. Yergin is back with a sequel to The Prize. It is called The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, and, if anything, it’s an even better book. It is searching, impartial and alarmingly up to date… The Quest will be necessary reading for C.E.O.’s, conservationists, lawmakers, generals, spies, tech geeks, thriller writers, ambitious terrorists and many others… The Quest is encyclopedic in its ambitions; it resists easy synopsis.” 
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
An important book… a valuable primer on the basic issues that define energy today. Yergin is careful in his analysis and never polemical… Despite that, The Quest makes it clear that energy policy is not on the right course anywhere in the world and that everyone—on the left and the right, in the developed and the developing world—need to rethink strongly held positions.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594202834
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/20/2011
Pages:
816
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Susan Hockfield
“The search for sufficient, clean energy represents the defining challenge of this generation. Daniel Yergin has masterfully connected the forces of economics and geopolitics with the complex science of energy production and climate change. The Quest provides a lucid guide through the forest of issues that stands between us and a sustainable energy future.” --(Susan Hockfield, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology )
Bill Gates
“It's a fantastic book I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in energy.”--Bill Gates
Frederick W. Smith
“This is a profound, unique, and brilliantly written book about some of the most important issues of our times.” --(Frederick W. Smith, Chairman & CEO of the FedEx Corporation)
Fred Krupp
Written by America's preeminent energy expert, The Quest is a must read for anyone wanting to understand our energy world, how climate change became part of the energy equation - and how we can chart a path forward. (Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund)
Walter Isaacson
This fascinating saga is the definitive book on the most important of global issues, the quest for sustainable sources of energy. Dan Yergin, the preeminent energy expert of our times, weaves together security and environmental concerns to explain the system we have today and to analyze the sensible paths forward. This is one book you must read to understand the future of our economy and our way of life. (Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of The Aspen Institute)
Henry Kissinger
The Quest, by Daniel Yergin, one of the world's most experienced and influential authorities on global energy, may well become the definitive work on the science, history and economics of this most complex and important subject. This masterful and illuminating book on one of the most vital issues of our time, one that will powerfully influence international politics, economics and nations world-wide, should be essential reading for policy-makers everywhere. (Dr. Henry Kissinger)
Dr. Henry Kissinger
"The Quest, by Daniel Yergin, one of the world's most experienced and influential authorities on global energy, may well become the definitive work on the science, history and economics of this most complex and important subject. This masterful and illuminating book on one of the most vital issues of our time, one that will powerfully influence international politics, economics and nations world-wide, should be essential reading for policy-makers everywhere." --(Dr. Henry Kissinger)
Steve Coll
In the magisterial style of his earlier global narrative of energy politics, The Prize, Daniel Yergin has again delivered a sweeping, authoritative, account of the science, economics and geopolitics of energy. His writing, as ever, is clear and intelligent, and his subject could hardly be timelier. (Steve Coll, author of The Bin Ladens and Ghost Wars, president of New America Foundation)
Lawrence Summers
Dan Yergin's The Prize was a magisterial masterpiece. Now Yergin widens his lens. And takes in not just oil but all energy sources. Anyone who wants to understand the economics or the politics of the 21st century should read this book. (Lawrence Summers, University Professor, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government)

Meet the Author

Daniel Yergin is one of the most influential voices on energy in the world and a highly respected authority on energy, international politics and economics. He is a recipient of the United States Energy Award for "lifelong achievements in energy and the promotion of international understanding." Dr. Yergin received the Pulitzer for The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, which became a number one best seller and was made into an eight-hour PBS/BBC series seen by 20 million people in the United States. He is chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, the leading research and consulting firms in its field. He serves as CNBC's Global Energy Expert.

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Quest 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Daniel Yergin's The Quest is likely to become the standard introduction to energy in classrooms, boardrooms, and living rooms across America. It is a valuable primer for the educated reader that simply wants to learn more about energy, and an excellent refresher for those already familiar with the field. The Quest begins with a survey of the recent evolution of the world of oil. Yergin has an unparalleled understanding of the significance of historical events and turning points for the modern industry. He narrates and analyzes the collapse of the Soviet Union, Asian Financial Crisis, Hugo Chavez's "Bolivarian Revolution," and China's surge in energy demand together with other critical junctures for world oil markets. Yergin shows how the fortunes of nations and the global economy rise and fall with the price of oil. He then moves on to the topic of energy security -- how hurricanes, crisis in the Persian Gulf, heatwaves, earthquakes and unexpected technical failures can have cascading social consequences. The Quest then branches out beyond oil -- providing a history of the modern electrical system and a survey of some of the major choices confronting policymakers and industry leaders today. Its analysis of nuclear power is timely -- especially in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Understanding oil and the world of electricity is essential for understanding the second half of the book -- which focuses on climate change and renewable energy. Yergin's Quest offers an illuminating history of the science and of climate change and the policy reaction to climate change. The story commingles a familiar cast of characters (Margret Thatcher, Al Gore, Dwight D. Eisenhower) with a less well known group of scientists, policy entrepreneurs, eccentrics and environmental leaders. Finally, The Quest chronicles the "mini-histories" of emerging energy fields -- wind power, solar electricity, etc. He shows how they are changing the economics, geopolitics, and carbon profile of our energy system. Each vignette has a hint of the drama that Yergin brought to the oil sector in his Pulitzer Prize winning volume The Prize. There are two areas that bothered me about The Quest. First, it is very long. Fortunately, one does not have to read The Quest serially to enjoy its individual sections. Second, Yergin is reluctant to take the energy industry to task for its intransigence and irresponsibility on environmental issues. (For a biting critique of the energy industry see Naomi Oreskes "Merchants of Doubt." A more measured book is Spencer Weart's excellent volume "The Discovery of Global Warming.") Despite these shortcomings, The Quest is an unparalleled resource for understanding the modern energy world. Given its scope, it is actually a fairly concise introduction to our energy future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rarely do I write reviews of books I read, movies I watch, restaurants I eat at, etc. Although I occasionally read reviews prior to purchasing, I felt the need to post one for this book. The professional reviews I read were all good so I thought I should give it a read. The book did not disappoint. My background is not in the energy industry but I understand that in the world we live in is changing and that there are 3 cornerstones to that change: energy, security, and innovation. Dan Yergin writes about all three in such an easy-to-read way that I found myself turning page after page (full disclosure: I would not categorize myself as an avid or fast reader). So I would say for the average person, this is a must read. I was assigned to read "The Prize" about 5 years ago and was blown away. Not the dull, boring, history lesson one would expect. Yergin's writing style and deep/respected knowledge of the oil and energy industry allows the average reader such as myself to learn and absorb through the stories he tells. The Quest is no different. A must read if you are interested in learning how we got here and where the world is going.
NatGivens More than 1 year ago
We just know that oil makes the world go round, value of money crash and the nations warring with each other. However, in this book we shall see the significance of its history, where it began and its alternatives. A very informative book for adults.
TomMcAndrew More than 1 year ago
This is a most timely successor to Daniel Yergin's earlier book on energy, "The Prize". Anyone concerned about our energy future should not hesitate to read "The Quest".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best way to learn the history and probable future of energy for the population of the world and how it will impact all of us.
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willyvan More than 1 year ago
This remarkable book covers the whole subject of energy, its history, science, economics and politics. Yergin examines oil, coal, gas (both conventional and unconventional), nuclear power, climate change, the electric age, new energies, and roads to the future. He notes, “In a carbon-conscious world, nuclear power’s great advantages are not only the traditional ones of fuel diversification and self-sufficiency. It is also the only large-scale, well-established, broadly deployable source of electric generation currently available that is carbon free.” US nuclear plants require a licence from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate. These licences were originally granted for 40 years. In 1995 the end of the 40 years was coming into view for many plants. Without extensions, US nuclear supply would have shut down. In the mid-1980s, the USA’s nuclear plants worked at only about 55 per cent of their capacity. Now they work at more than 90 per cent of capacity. Yergin points out, “The operating record of the nuclear industry had clearly improved, and substantially so. In fact, companies were coming to the commission to request permission for power upgrades, above what had been their maximum output, because of their increased efficiency. In support of license extension, the NRC launched a crucial new initiative to update the safety system that governed the industry, using new tools and capabilities.” So the Commission extended licences for another 20 years. Germany’s nuclear plants supply a quarter of its electricity. In 2010 a new law extended their life by another 12 years. By contrast, here in Britain, the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive will force the closure of 9.8 gigawatts of oil- and coal-fired generation – 12 per cent of our total capacity - by the end of 2013. The fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, issued in 2007, said that the Himalayas’ glaciers, including the Gangroti which feeds the river Ganges, would vanish by 2035, ‘if not sooner’. By contrast, India’s Environment Ministry said that the Gangroti was ‘practically at a standstill’. It turned out that the 2035 date was from a 1999 phone interview with a scientist who later denied ever giving any date! In 1979 President Carter forecast that 20 per cent of US energy would come from solar power by 2000. But by 2010, renewables accounted for just 8 per cent of US energy supply: 1.5 per cent from solar and wind, 6.5 per cent from hydropower and biomass. The fifth fuel is often said to be energy efficiency. A fine example is Japan’s 1998 Top Runner programme which finds the most efficient appliance of its kind, then requires that all such appliances exceed the efficiency of that ‘Top Runner’ by a specified date – as a result, TV sets, for example, improved by 26 per cent between 1997 and 2003. It is not always possible to be self-sufficient economically, particularly for energy sources, but it is possible to be independent, that is, as self-reliant as possible, dependent on no one supplier, by using a diversified range of sources - oil, gas, coal, renewables and nuclear. To rebuild Britain, we need more R&D, consistent, long-term thinking planning and investment, and security and sustainability of energy.
JMarsd More than 1 year ago
The book is good not necessarily groundbreaking but good with a lot of info in it, almost too much. I'd recommend it with 4 stars but do think there are a lot of excess words for something that could have been made in point in a lot less. There are parts that are just cumbersome. Still worth it.
harriettzayac More than 1 year ago
I did not like the book that much maybe because the plot is kind of confusing and some of the characters were not that interesting.