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on 27 December 2007
With the title, "Peak Everything", I had imagined this book would provide some detail along the lines of the "Earth's Natural Wealth - An Audit" article in New Scientist issue #2605 ("World Stripped Bare") along with some analysis on the consequential impacts on efforts to mitigate the combined effects of fossil fuel depletion and Climate Change. I really looked forward to its release. Surely it is reasonable to expect such content according to the given title? Alas, no such luck.

Instead, what's provided is a series of musings that Heinberg has written during his Peak Oil Campaign touring. As always, his writing is lucid and most of the metaphors presented are simultaneously interesting yet useless for depletionists (e.g. the commonalities between human and parrot societies). I couldn't help but feel as though Heinberg has decided that, due to (unspecified) limits of availability of precious metals, that the only realistic future is a return to old-school agriculture and that all modern technology and knowledge will disappear. Unlike "The Party's Over", which I couldn't put down, I really had to persist with this book. The introduction, as well as some of the content towards the end of the book is of some use, but I still can't help feeling disappointed with it.

Much as I would like to, I really can't think of anyone whom I'd recommend this book. I would still direct novice depletionists towards "The Party's Over", experienced depletionists will already be familiar with most of the blog discussions from which a fair degree of this book has been stimulated ("The Oil Drum" / "Transition Culture" etc).

I would really like to see Richard Heinberg get away from the bloggers and once again delve into some new information and statistics that will be useful to depletionists. Perhaps release a 3rd edition of "The Party's Over", including a section on real, quantitative limits of various materials. He is in danger of disappearing up his own backside with his persistent over-analysis of old material. Heinberg is ruminating into diminishing-returns.
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on 17 April 2009
Richard Heinberg is best known for his work on peak oil. 'Peak Everything' is a little broader in scope, a series of essays based around the idea of a century of decline and the need for a global downsize. Some essays you'll find useful, others not, which why I give it three stars.

"Our starting point," writes Heinberg, "is the realization that we are today living at the end of the period of greatest material abundance in human history - an abundance based on temporary sources of cheap energy that made all else possible." Having dealt with the depletion and its solutions elsewhere, Heinberg writes more about life after the peak here, the nature of the transition - what kind of culture will emerge, how will we cope?

Some of the essays here are very speculative, interesting asides that clearly didn't fit into other books. There's a chapter on the possible aesthetics of post-industrial design for example, or the psychology of language, some musings on popular culture.

Less esoterically, there's a useful chapter on farming, as "re-ruralization will be a dominant social trend of the 21st century." He also addresses population, expounds five `axioms of sustainability', reflects on the legacy of the `boomer' generation, and helpfully maps some of the intersections of climate change and peak oil campaigning.

Those wanting more on peak oil are better off with previous books, and there's no detail on the `peak everything' hinted at in the title. It is nevertheless a thoughtful and diverse set of ideas from one of the sharpest minds working on resource depletion.
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on 10 March 2008
Heinberg is the foremost expert of 'peak oil' - the idea that we are more than half way through the world's oil reserves. Here he presents various angles on the problem: everything from how the industrial age influenced design to, yes, parrots. But, unlike the above reviewer, I found it all relevant. Heinberg has a clear mind, and his broad-ranging thoughts are here applied to a wide range of related issues to 'peak oil'. A good read!
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on 25 November 2010
all 'doomer' books on peak oil need to be read by as many people as possible so there will be more survivors come the peak (which the IEA recently said was in 2006!!).
We are any week now about to go off a cliff or at best down a steep slope.
A lot of people don't want to know preferring their dead lifestyles to continue but continue they won't and this is a good book for the 'beginner',before moving on to more detailed and scary books so for that reason it's worth 5 stars. One to buy as a gift for the deniers in the family!
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on 16 October 2008
I think this book does helps highlight finite earth resources, it contains a serious of articles, most of which I didnt think were written in a style that is enjoyable to read and the content is limited. Overall not that useful or even enjoyable to read.
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on 27 September 2015
Great book a warning for the future.
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