Review: The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet by Ramez Naam

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆
Date read: May 23 to 27, 2013
Read count: 1

Unlike many of its kind which has flooded the market in the past few years, Infinite Resource is a book of ideas and positive solutions. Instead of scaring the reader with talks of impending doom, it takes a closer look at dire situations that we are facing or will face in the near future and offers optimistic solutions. Over population, drastic climate changes, dwindling natural resources (scarcity of fresh water being a priority), pollution, etc. just to name a few big ones. The author believes that by working together, pooling our resources, and most importantly, sharing ideas and technological advances we can make the planet sustainable again. Naam references various times in history when people came together, with a collective/hive mind, to work toward a specific goal and believes that can happen again. He points to specific recent examples–most are in Europe–of sustainable lifestyles and how they can be achieved.

This book is well-written and the ideas presented are data-heavy but easy to follow. Naam maintains an optimistic tone from beginning to end, and I think that’s admirable in light of the subject matter. Since the book sticks to a textbook-style format, it would be great for a univerity intro course. The ideas presented are new, yet approachable enough to make discussions interesting among hive-minded individuals and perhaps motivate those individuals to think positively.

One critique, though. As optimistic the tone is, it can seem lofty at times. I’d like to believe in Naam’s positive attitude toward humanity and human innovations, but it’s difficult to do when I take in the current state of… everything. Since his ideas depend so much on humanity working together and humanity as a collective, Naam should have at least mentioned the fact that greed is responsible for many of the problems the planet is facing today and that overcoming greed is what we should focus on first.

* I received this book as a GR giveaway from the author himself.

Original review can be found here.

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