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  • Material World

  • A Substantial Story of Our Past and Future
  • By: Ed Conway
  • Narrated by: Ed Conway
  • Length: 15 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Material World

By: Ed Conway
Narrated by: Ed Conway
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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Sand, salt, iron, copper, oil and lithium. They built our world, and they will transform our future.

These are the six most crucial substances in human history. They took us from the Dark Ages to the present day. They power our computers and phones, build our homes and offices, and create life-saving medicines. But most of us take them completely for granted.

In Material World, Ed Conway travels the globe - from the sweltering depths of the deepest mine in Europe, to spotless silicon chip factories in Taiwan, to the eerie green pools where lithium originates - to uncover a secret world we rarely see. Revealing the true marvel of these substances, he follows the mind-boggling journeys, miraculous processes and little-known companies that turn the raw materials we all need into products of astonishing complexity.

As we wrestle with climate change, energy crises and the threat of new global conflict, Conway shows why these substances matter more than ever before, and how the hidden battle to control them will shape our geopolitical future. This is the story of civilisation - our ambitions and glory, innovations and appetites - from a new perspective: literally from the ground up.

©2023 Ed Conway (P)2023 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

A compelling narrative of the human story (Tim Marshall, author of PRISONERS OF GEOGRAPHY)
Lively, rich and exciting ... full of surprises. Underlines that to understand global geopolitics, you need to understand natural resources and geology (Peter Frankopan, author of THE SILK ROADS)
Expansive, erudite, and edifying. A stunning insight into the materials that shaped our history and built the modern world (Prof. Lewis Dartnell, author of 'BEING HUMAN: How our Biology shaped World History')

What listeners say about Material World

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  • Overall
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Very important topic

Very important topic, relevant to my work. It was interesting to learn about the stories of these materials. I wish there was a pdf file accompanying the audiobook with numbers and graphs of all of these materials, like tons per year, distribution around the world, maps with the materials journeys, etc.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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learn stuff.

there is so much information and history
in this book. Ed Conway has done an amazing job.

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Essential read

Everybody should read this and it should be compulsory reading in school. Vital for us to know how our world operates.

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Understand more

Through stories of people doing, creating stuff, I got to understand the world so much better. Thanks Ed

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Thought provoking and fascinating.

Huge amount of information and very well put together, clarified many of my preconceived beliefs.

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Curious Worldview Approved!

Such a brilliant book so interesting and so well read.

The world of materials is superbly interesting.

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