Monday, September 24, 2012

The big thirst: The secret life and turbulent future of water

The big thirst: The secret life and turbulent future of water
By Charles Fishman

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II

Charles Fishman has written an absolutely superb book!  Judge it from any perspective whatever, and it wreaks of excellence.  If the five-star scale went to ten, it would be ten out of ten!

First, he is a wonderful, captivating, engrossing, and entertaining writer.  His language use is delightful.  As the flyleaf says, he “brings vibrantly to life in this surprising and mind-changing narrative, [how] water runs our world.”

Second, he is a terrific story teller.  “Story” suggests that he makes up information, which is not the case.  He provides superb examples and illustrations, and the details he offers make them riveting.

Third, he includes 55 pages of notes (in a small font) in this 313-page (of text material) book.  His sources are superior; his research is excellent; and the support he offers for all of his information is without comparison.

Fishman offers excellent statistics regarding household water use that are shocking.

How Las Vegas uses, saves, and then returns much of the water it borrows from Lake Mead is astounding.  The specificity of his examples are wonderful.  For example, his description of Poland Spring water from Poland Spring, Maine, is both delightful and insightful.  His stories of Atlanta, Galveston, Australia, India, and so many other places are breathtaking.

Fishman’s conclusion, as explained on the flyleaf of the book, is: “We have more than enough water.  We just don’t think about it, or use it, smartly.”  How companies like IBM, GE, and Royal Caribbean are now making important breakthroughs in water productivity are fascinating to read.

This is clearly a book that everyone should read.  The back flyleaf of the book is accurate when it says that the book “will forever change the way [you] think about water, about [your] essential relationship to it, and about the creativity [you] can bring to ensuring that [you’ll] always have plenty of it.”

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