Who is this guy? How come no one told me about this book until Adam Ozimek asked about it?
One of the main arguments of the book is that we could have had major technological advances in multiple areas if only we had put in another fifty years of hard work on them. Flying cars could have been a thing some time ago!
The author estimates that if quality nanotechnology were up and running, it would take only about a week to rebuild the entire United States. Just imagine how silly the current building permit system would seem then.
The anecdotes on the history of helicopters are interesting and obsessive in a good way.
One of the arguments is simply that we have not much succeeded in boosting our aggregate use of energy. Hall also argues we do not face sufficient challenges, in part because nuclear deterrence has worked so well.
An editor would not approve of the organization and rambling structure of this book, including the lengthy digressions on technologies of the author’s choice and fascination. It does not bother me.
Here is one short bit, not actually representative of the basic style, but I enjoyed it anyway:
If you are a technologist working on some new, clean, abundant form of energy, I wish you all the luck in the world. But you must not labor under the illusion that should you succeed, your efforts will be justly rewarded by the gratitude of the people you have lifted from poverty and enabled to have a bright and growing future. You will be attacked, your work will be lied about by activists, demonized by ignorant journalists, and strangled by regulation.
But only if it works.
You can buy it here, Kindle only for $3.14, note it is a full-length book with all the proper trappings. It’s one of the best and most interesting books on technology in some time, either ignore or enjoy the organizational infelicities, first published in 2018.