Summary of The Bottomless Well

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The Bottomless Well book summary


7 Overall

5 Applicability

10 Innovation

7 Style


Most books on energy proceed with all the plodding predictability of an oil station pumping up and down in the middle of Nowhere, Texas: There’s only so much oil, it’s being consumed faster and faster, so someday the spigot must squeak dry. Authors and contrarians Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills stand up in the court of global opinion to pound loudly on the oil drum of iconoclasm. The question before the world jury: Is this a work of genius, or a perfect illustration of the fact that some energy is indeed wasted? This book reflects diligent-if-tendentious research and unapologetically advances highly unpopular, and potentially inaccurate, theories. These include the notion that making industrial processes more energy efficient results in increased consumption. It asserts that energy development is a perpetual motion machine that rewards increased consumption with ever-expanding supplies, and that wasting energy is both inevitable and virtuous, as it leads ultimately to greater supply and production. This last notion is not so far-fetched in light of nuclear fusion and the ongoing convergence of digital and genetic technologies. recommends this unique perspective to those interested in a different take on the world’s sustainability dilemma. If nothing else, it will give you something extremely controversial to read while the jury is still out.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why using energy generates additional energy;
  • Why it may be oddly useful to waste energy; and
  • Three myths and seven heresies that contradict conventional energy wisdom.

About the Authors

Peter W. Huber specializes in the study of technology, science and law at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy. His previous books include Hard Green and Galileo’s Revenge. Physicist Mark P. Mills is a founding partner of Digital Power Capital. He holds several patents in integrated circuits and defense electronics, and served a stint as staff consultant to the White House Science Office during the Reagan Administration.



The Energy Future
The year: 1979. The economy is still recovering from the turmoil of the OPEC oil crisis, followed by the uranium core meltdown at Three Mile Island in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which gripped the nation in terror and angst. As a result of the Three Mile Island accident...

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