Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong

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Overview


In the face of today’s environmental and economic challenges, doomsayers preach that the only way to stave off disaster is for humans to reverse course: to de-industrialize, re-localize, ban the use of modern energy sources, and forswear prosperity. But in this provocative and optimistic rebuke to the catastrophists, Robert Bryce shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is providing consumers with Cheaper and more abundant energy, Faster computing,...
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Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong

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Overview


In the face of today’s environmental and economic challenges, doomsayers preach that the only way to stave off disaster is for humans to reverse course: to de-industrialize, re-localize, ban the use of modern energy sources, and forswear prosperity. But in this provocative and optimistic rebuke to the catastrophists, Robert Bryce shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is providing consumers with Cheaper and more abundant energy, Faster computing, Lighter vehicles, and myriad other goods. That same desire is fostering unprecedented prosperity, greater liberty, and yes, better environmental protection.

Utilizing on-the-ground reporting from Ottawa to Panama City and Pittsburgh to Bakersfield, Bryce shows how we have, for centuries, been pushing for Smaller Faster solutions to our problems. From the vacuum tube, mass-produced fertilizer, and the printing press to mobile phones, nanotech, and advanced drill rigs, Bryce demonstrates how cutting-edge companies and breakthrough technologies have created a world in which people are living longer, freer, healthier, lives than at any time in human history.

The push toward Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is happening across multiple sectors. Bryce profiles innovative individuals and companies, from long-established ones like Ford and Intel to upstarts like Aquion Energy and Khan Academy. And he zeroes in on the energy industry, proving that the future belongs to the high power density sources that can provide the enormous quantities of energy the world demands.

The tools we need to save the planet aren’t to be found in the technologies or lifestyles of the past. Nor must we sacrifice prosperity and human progress to ensure our survival. The catastrophists have been wrong since the days of Thomas Malthus. This is the time to embrace the innovators and businesses all over the world who are making things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/24/2014
Manhattan Institute senior fellow Bryce (Power Hungry) asserts that for centuries we have been making goods and services smaller, faster, lighter, denser, and cheaper, and that due to these innovations, we “never have so many lived so well.” But he poses the question: “Will we continue innovating, embracing technology, and getting richer, or will we listen to those who are advocating degrowth?” Though Bryce jumps from topic to topic—from the printing press, to rock n’ roll, to digital communications, to doping at the Tour de France—it becomes clear that these examples bolster his deeply held views that natural gas and nuclear energy are keys to future global prosperity. He expounds at length in the third section of the book, noting that, “In the wake of the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant… the prospects for nuclear energy have never been brighter.” He does not hide his disdain for the “Green Left,” repeatedly criticizing organizations like the Sierra Club and Green Peace. Bryce’s exploration of innovation and companies pursuing the titular creed may hold some interest for general business readers, but this provocative work is ultimately about energy policy, and as such, may suit a more specialized audience. Agent: Dan Green, POM Inc. (May)
From the Publisher

"A book brimming with well-founded enthusiasm about the amazing present and the prospects for a more amazing future...exploding with fascinating energy facts and...super-fun to read....Bryce takes his appreciation of innovation and uses it to illuminate the past, present, and future of innovation across the board."—Forbes

“So what went wrong — or, rather, right? Why is the human race in much better shape than it was 200, 100, or 50 years ago? Robert Bryce reminds us of the answers in his sprightly new book and promises that even better times lie ahead…Bryce’s new book is an enlightening stroll down the sunny side of the street.” —Hiawatha Bray,the Boston Globe

“Engrossing survey”—Arthur Herman, the Wall Street Journal

“A celebration of innovations that have produced cheaper and more abundant energy, faster computing, lighter vehicles and other technological benefits…..Bryce [is a] booster for business and technology; he makes many intriguing arguments in this ‘rejoinder to the doomsayers [and] rebuttal to the catastrophists who insist that disaster lurks just around the corner.’”—Kirkus Reviews

“The author of four books on oil and energy, Mr. Bryce has written a new book well worth reading…Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper…captures the headlong rush of Western culture’s endless drive for ever better technology. It is an extraordinary impulse that has created a world in which more people live longer and more comfortably than ever before.”—Fred Andrews, New York Times

“For years, Robert Bryce has been calling for rationality on energy policy. In this book, Bryce goes beyond energy to explain why the innovation that drives entrepreneurs is the way of the future. I'm an unapologetic capitalist. Reading Smaller Faster has only fortified my belief that the best way to address poverty is through entrepreneurial capitalism that produces more innovation and progress.”
John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO, Whole Foods Market, and co-author of Conscious Capitalism

“Robert Bryce may be our finest observer of the energy scene. Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper displays all the virtues -- the contacts, the technical savvy, the wit and clear thinking – that make Bryce indispensable.” —Charles R. Morris, author of The Dawn of Innovation and Comeback

“Don't be misled by Robert Bryce's very breezy style. His new book makes important and positive observations about the world's energy future. You don't have to agree with every one of his attitudes or conclusions to hope that the reporting and arguments in the book are taken seriously, and that the innovators and start-ups he vividly describes get the support they need.” —James Fallows

"[Bryce's] new book constitutes a direct assault against the policies of "degrowth" advanced by those who peddle what he calls "collapse anxiety". The book is also a sustained argument against the fundamentally pessimistic worldview that underlies those policies. . . . The claim that we can and should replace fossil fuels with renewables such as wind and solar is, Bryce says, a "damnable lie" that obscures the far more important question of what we should do to make more energy available to more people, especially 'the more than two billion people who are still living in abject energy poverty."—John Daniel Davidson, National Review

“Part of the fun of Bryce’s book comes from the sheer range of his examples… he has a way of bringing them to life.”—Josiah Neeley, Master Resource
“ I found the contrarian views expressed in Bryce's new book to be a refreshing antidote to the gloom and doom that pervades the TV screens and print media today. He shows us there is hope, as long as the human power to innovate and make changes is present.”—Huntington News, review

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-31
A celebration of innovations that have produced cheaper and more abundant energy, faster computing, lighter vehicles and other technological benefits. Manhattan Institute senior fellow Bryce (Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, 2010, etc.) vehemently rejects the views of catastrophists (from Bill McKibben to Greenpeace and the Sierra Club) who cry out about scarcity and shortage and warn against technology and industrial development as threats to the planet. Instead, he argues that entrepreneurs and innovation are creating a world where "more people are living longer, healthier, freer, more peaceful lives than at any time in human history." Innovation is allowing us to do more with less, he writes: "We are continually making things and processes Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper." Bryce surveys innovations from the printing press and the jet turbine to digital communications and new medical technologies, examining each in terms of its smaller-faster-etc. attributes. Due to widespread innovation, for example, computers are smaller and faster; food packaging is lighter, farms are denser, and goods and services are cheaper. And so on. In time, cheaper computing, high-speed Internet connectivity, wireless communications and 3-D printing may foster yet more innovation. "[O]ur future depends on embracing technology," he writes. The author's huge compendium of innovations and his fresh way of looking at them will interest many readers. His topics include the Panama Canal, oil drilling bits, the density of cities and online learning, and he writes at length about the critical importance of cheap, abundant, reliable energy, emphasizing the need for more natural gas, oil, nuclear energy and coal. Though Bryce often sounds like an unabashed booster for business and technology, he makes many intriguing arguments in this "rejoinder to the doomsayers [and] rebuttal to the catastrophists who insist that disaster lurks just around the corner."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610392051
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 107,780
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert Bryce is the acclaimed author of four previous books, including, most recently, Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, his articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Austin Chronicle, Bloomberg View, Counterpunch, and National Review. An apiarist, he lives in Austin with his wife, Lorin, and their three children.
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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    Genius of Man Can Reach Greater Goals With Alternative Methods

    Knowing that you can't believe everything you read and hear resounds clearly in this book. It reinforces the power of individual thinking in making informed decisions. The perspectives given tip the scale in favor of believing that man needs to continue to discover and move forward--not scale back for the whole good of mankind! It celebrates the ingenuity of man to explore and discover smaller, faster, lighter, denser, and cheaper ways of reaching the same goals using ingenious, alternative methods.
    Donna McGoff
    The Power of Goal Setting

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