Book Notes

Smaller Faster copyTwo of Power Line’s best friends and favorite authors have brand new books out, and both were reviewed in the Wall Street Journal in recent days.  First, Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute is out with Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper, which we previewed in the video below last summer.  Along with Mark Mills and Peter Grossman, Robert is my rabbi on all things energy.  Another pal of ours, Arthur Herman, reviewed the book in the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Bryce’s engrossing survey has two purposes. The first is to refute pessimists who claim that technology-driven economic growth will burn through the planet’s resources and lead to catastrophe. “We are living in a world equipped with physical-science capabilities that stagger the imagination,” he writes. “If we want to bring more people out of poverty, we must embrace [technological innovation], not reject it.” The book’s other purpose is to persuade climate-change fundamentalists that they are standing on the wrong side of history. Instead of saving the planet by going backward to Don Quixote’s windmills, they need to take a progressive approach to technology itself, he says, striving to make nuclear power safer, for instance, and using the hydrocarbon revolution sparked by fracking and deep-offshore exploration to bridge the way to the future.

There are a lot of splendid passages in the book, but right now my favorite is Robert’s brutal smackdown of Bill McKibben’s infantile energy lunacy starting on page 55.

Scruton Cover 2 copySecond, Roger Scruton’s new book this week (seriously—he seems to publish a book about every week) is The Soul of the World, just out from Princeton University Press.  I’ve only gotten a few pages into it yet, but already I can see Scruton as usual mounts broad challenges to the conventional wisdom about nearly everything.  Most significant, the book begins and ends with consideration of God.  Imagine that.  From a philosopher no less.

Ian Marcus Corbin reviewed the book about 10 days ago in the WSJ:

“The Soul of the World” is an example of what conservatism can be, at its best—a clear-eyed, affectionate defense of humanity and a well-reasoned plea to treat the long-loved with respect and care. This kind of conservatism comes into being when something good is threatened: Here Mr. Scruton aims to conserve “the sacred” in the face of threats from scientific reductionism, an ideology that asserts that all phenomena—including things like love, art, morality and religion—are most accurately described using the vocabulary of contemporary science.

Here’s me and Bryce from last June: