My Read of the Month:

Title: ZOOM: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future
Author: Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran
Published: 2007
Genre: Economics/Politics/Environmental/Business
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Did you know that the world consumes about 80-90 million barrels (per barrel = 100–200 litres) of oil each day? And the United States accounts for a quarter of that?

In fact, the US consumes more oil than South America, Europe and Africa combine. Clearly, this nation has quite a fixation on oil.

Interestingly, this book reveals a consequential meeting that took place towards the end of the World War II which would change the course of world history as we know today.

In 1945, Franklin Roosevelt, then US President made a pact with King Ibn Saud, father of Saudi Arabia, home to the biggest oil reserves of oil on the planet, then and now.

That historical pact between the two leaders was the US’ guaranteed access to Saudi Arabia’s vast quantities of oil and in return, Roosevelt promised full military support to the king and his clan.

In the decades since, the impact of that alliance has given rise of the Oil Curse that has plagued our world economy. Think gulf war and the Iraqi invasion by the US and you get the parts of that big picture.

As they say, “Study the past to understand the present in order to peek into the future”. And that’s what this investigative book does as it traces the emergence oil and cars that explains the forces of geopolitics and economics we can observe today.

I like that this book aims to be objective and presents both perspectives of those for oil and those against. This makes it a credible read with its avoidance of being bias or over-selling the opinions of the authors.

The only shortcoming of this book is that it is primarily addressed to Americans. Not that it is any fault of the authors since our economic and environmental woes we faced today are linked to this powerhouse nation, the US. But presenting this as a global challenge for everyone would be the next better approach.

Who should read it:For those interested in world politics or who wish to better understand our environmental challenge in tackling the world’s addiction to oil.

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