Link to full text in Nature
428, 469 (2004)
"This book should change the map by which we navigate the new energy century. In its intellectual content it is a great book, standing head and shoulders above most integrated writings on energy and environment. The complex, dense prose and tendency for rigorously balanced views may inhibit readers, but the book's underlying themes could and should prove the book's legacy. For example, Smil discusses the essential unpredictability and openness of energy futures, and provides a comprehensive critique of the notion that incessantly rising energy demand in industrialized countries is associated with increasing welfare — though doing anything about it will not be easy. The book has gone straight to the top of my reading recommendations for my students. And for the serious technical analyst of energy systems, there is nothing better."