The fascinating story of how seven elements—iron, carbon, gold, silver, uranium, titanium, and silicon—have changed modern life, for good and ill.
With carbon we access heat, light and mobility at the flick of a switch,
while silicon enables us to communicate across the globe in an instant.
Yet our use of the Earth's mineral resources is not always for the benefit of humankind—our relationship with the elements is one of great ambivalence. Uranium is both productive (nuclear power) and destructive
(nuclear bombs); iron is the bloody weapon of war, but also the economic tool of peace; our desire for alluring gold is the foundation of global trade, but has also led to the death of millions. John Browne, CEO of
British Petroleum (BP) for twelve years, vividly describes how seven elements are shaping the world around us, for better and for worse.
Combining history, science, and politics, Seven Elements takes you on a present-day adventure of human passion and innovation. This journey is far from over: we continue to find surprising new uses for these seven elements. In this narrative of discovery, readers will come to understand how titanium pervades modern consumer society, how natural gas is transforming the global energy sector, and how an innovative new form of carbon could be starting a technology revolution.
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About the Author
John Browne was born in Germany in 1948 and joined BP as a university apprentice in
1966, rising to Group Chief Executive from 1995 to 2007, where he built a reputation as a visionary leader, regularly voted the most admired businessman by his peers. This is his first book.
Table of Contents
The Essence of Everything xi
Power, Progress and Destruction 194
List of Maps 203
List of Illustrations 204
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an interesting presentation of how the seven elements discussed had a profound effect on the development of civilization. The chapters on silver and gold seem to be a bit short. There are numerous informative footnotes throughout the text. So many that they seem to distract from the text itself. It may be best to read each chapter first, and then go back and read the notes. Nevertheless this is a well crafted way to get some history mixed in with your science.
Well I certainly went on a learning curve when I read this book. A mine of information about the 7 elements that changed history and how they affected climate change and how by using these alone have impacted our lives without realising it..