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The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here

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From the bestselling author of Lab Girl comes a slim, urgent missive on the defining issue of our time: here is Hope Jahren on climate change, our timeless pursuit of more, and how the same human ambition that got us here can also be our salvation. Hope Jahren is an award-winning geobiologist, a brilliant writer, and one of the seven billion people with wh From the bestselling author of Lab Girl comes a slim, urgent missive on the defining issue of our time: here is Hope Jahren on climate change, our timeless pursuit of more, and how the same human ambition that got us here can also be our salvation. Hope Jahren is an award-winning geobiologist, a brilliant writer, and one of the seven billion people with whom we share this earth. The Story of More is her impassioned open letter to humanity as we stand at the crossroads of survival and extinction. Jahren celebrates the long history of our enterprising spirit—which has tamed wild crops, cured diseases, and sent us to the moon—but also shows how that spirit has created excesses that are quickly warming our planet to dangerous levels. In short, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions—from electric power to large-scale farming and automobiles—that, even as they help us, release untenable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. She explains the current and projected consequences of greenhouse gases—from superstorms to rising sea levels—and shares the science-based tools that could help us fight back. At once an explainer on the mechanisms of warming and a capsule history of human development, The Story of More illuminates the link between our consumption habits and our endangered earth. It is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.


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From the bestselling author of Lab Girl comes a slim, urgent missive on the defining issue of our time: here is Hope Jahren on climate change, our timeless pursuit of more, and how the same human ambition that got us here can also be our salvation. Hope Jahren is an award-winning geobiologist, a brilliant writer, and one of the seven billion people with wh From the bestselling author of Lab Girl comes a slim, urgent missive on the defining issue of our time: here is Hope Jahren on climate change, our timeless pursuit of more, and how the same human ambition that got us here can also be our salvation. Hope Jahren is an award-winning geobiologist, a brilliant writer, and one of the seven billion people with whom we share this earth. The Story of More is her impassioned open letter to humanity as we stand at the crossroads of survival and extinction. Jahren celebrates the long history of our enterprising spirit—which has tamed wild crops, cured diseases, and sent us to the moon—but also shows how that spirit has created excesses that are quickly warming our planet to dangerous levels. In short, highly readable chapters, she takes us through the science behind the key inventions—from electric power to large-scale farming and automobiles—that, even as they help us, release untenable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. She explains the current and projected consequences of greenhouse gases—from superstorms to rising sea levels—and shares the science-based tools that could help us fight back. At once an explainer on the mechanisms of warming and a capsule history of human development, The Story of More illuminates the link between our consumption habits and our endangered earth. It is the essential pocket primer on climate change that will leave an indelible impact on everyone who reads it.

30 review for The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here

  1. 5 out of 5

    Olive

    Words cannot describe how much I love Hope Jahren. Check out my full review on Booktube: https://youtu.be/itmrcEKsPJA Words cannot describe how much I love Hope Jahren. Check out my full review on Booktube: https://youtu.be/itmrcEKsPJA

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    One-sixth of the global population uses ⅓ of the world’s energy and half the world’s electricity. They’re responsible for ⅓ of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, ⅓ of the world’s meat consumption, and ⅓ of the world’s sugar consumption. It’s statistics and data like this that Jahren breaks down for readers in a book that’s meant not to terrify readers about the overwhelming scope of global warming and climate change but instead, to instill hope that indeed, small changes add up over time. “Ha One-sixth of the global population uses ⅓ of the world’s energy and half the world’s electricity. They’re responsible for ⅓ of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, ⅓ of the world’s meat consumption, and ⅓ of the world’s sugar consumption. It’s statistics and data like this that Jahren breaks down for readers in a book that’s meant not to terrify readers about the overwhelming scope of global warming and climate change but instead, to instill hope that indeed, small changes add up over time. “Having hope requires courage” is her big message throughout the book, which was inspired by the classes she’s taught at universities. The book breaks down big topics, such as meat consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, energy creation and consumption, the growth in the use of plastics, and more, and looks at how just over the course of her own life the richest countries in the world have consumed more than their fair share and how that’s impacted less-wealthy countries, as well as the world as a whole. Unlike a number of climate change books, this one is data-driven and extremely accessible for the average reader. It doesn’t feel overwhelming -- in fact, Jahren is reassuring that doing even the tiniest things adds up over the long haul. Can you go one night without eating meat? That can make a difference. Can you swap a flight for a trip on a train? What about purchasing lower-energy appliances, washing clothes with cold water, purchasing less stuff including food that you ultimately end up throwing away? By using less, we allow more resources to be better distributed among those on Earth. That, in turn, reduces creation of more, which can and does impact the overall vitality of the globe. Encouraging, accessible, and written conversationally, Jahren’s book should be a first stop for anyone interested in reducing their own footprint. It’s short, too, making it feel completely doable, as opposed to overwhelming and complicated. Start small, as she does with her students: dump open your briefcase or purse and count up how many of those items are made from plastic. What can you swap out for something not plastic when it runs the course of its life? And more, change in your own life doesn’t need to be global in scope, either. Choosing one area in your life to target for change is good work. If you change your consumption habits and swap soda for water at more meals, buy fewer processed goods, consume less meat (and she never says you need to go vegetarian or vegan, like other books preach), that does make an impact. The book doesn’t overlook the realities of living in a capitalist society and that it’s big corporations that have done this to us. That’s the binding thread throughout. But, by choosing to battle back with changes in our lifestyle as dictated by capitalism, we can better help our fellow inhabitants on Earth by sharing resources.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Wineberg

    A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down is a concise description of The Story of More. Hope Jahren has written a passionate, direct and searing indictment of what Man has made of this planet in just her lifetime (She repeats at least 20 times she was born in 1969). And yet, every chapter (there are 19) begins with a nostalgic look at her childhood in Minnesota, her parents, family rituals, and life at that time. She had a pet chunk of ice she named Covington that she kicked all the way to A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down is a concise description of The Story of More. Hope Jahren has written a passionate, direct and searing indictment of what Man has made of this planet in just her lifetime (She repeats at least 20 times she was born in 1969). And yet, every chapter (there are 19) begins with a nostalgic look at her childhood in Minnesota, her parents, family rituals, and life at that time. She had a pet chunk of ice she named Covington that she kicked all the way to school and back all winter. The book is a wonderfully odd combination of warm, fuzzy memories and stark, fraught trends and stats, that do not portend good things to come. Minnesota and her later home in Iowa have changed dramatically over her lifetime. The increased amount of corn per acre is stunning, but pales before the amount of fertilizer and pesticides used to get those better yields. She says we have pushed plants to produce as much as they physically can, and where we go for more is unfathomable. Not that we make good use of it. About 20% is simply burned up in biofuels, and most of it goes to feed domesticated animals for meat. The amount actually consumed as food comes dead last. She backs it up with figures, both global and American, that demonstrate the really poor connection between then and now. (She lists them all again at the end, because frankly, it's all very hard to believe one at a time.) Americans eat 15% more food today. It shows. They throw out 40% of the food they buy, enough to feed all the undernourished in the rest of the world. By 2004, Americans were consuming a pound and a half of sugar - a week. In sum, Americans, who make up 4% of the global population, consume 15% of the food, 15% of the energy and 20% of the electricity in the world. If the rest of mankind were to the rise to that level - the world could simply not work. Already, half the fish we eat are farmed because there aren't enough left in the wild. The amount of excrement they produce is way more than the oceans can deal with. Similarly, cattle and our other domesticated animals produce 300 million tons of feces a year, far in excess of the amount humans produce as a result of eating them. It's not a beneficial tradeoff. To make that manure, those animals consume a billion tons of grain, in order to give consumers (just) 100 million pounds of meat. This math leads nowhere good, and Jahren soon switches from dispassionate scientist to frustration: "The amount of fruits and vegetables that is wasted each year exceeds the annual food supply of fruit and vegetables for the whole continent of Africa. We live in an age when we can order a pair of tennis shoes from a warehouse on the other side of the planet and have them shipped to a single address in less than 24 hours; don't tell me that a global food distribution is impossible." All this overconsumption seems to have done Americans no good. They are no happier now that they work more, eat more, drive more, fly more and consume more. Quite the opposite, according to the figures. She says we need to consume less and share more. But neither of those are American values any more, and she has no stats for trends in sharing - just aspirations. More is a one way street, an addiction and a plague on the planet. Americans have yet to notice. Meanwhile, there are (still) a billion people with no access to electricity. Her 19 chapters cover the gamut from plastics to cars to species extinctions, passing through global warming and greenhouse gases. She has unkind words for both deniers and alarmists; neither is doing any good. She is all about reducing consumption, and concludes with how each individual American can reduce consumption and actually make a difference. "If we want to take action, we should get started while it still matters what we do." David Wineberg

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    A beautiful (yet terrible) little book, well worth reading ... and sharing. A sobering yet accessible and empathetic introduction ... a gentle yet jarring dipping of one's toe into the water ... on climate change. And (during the era of coronavirus social distancing, as opposed to, say, the holiday season ... as you do your best to support your local independent bookstore), potentially, an excellent gift for a relative, friend, or neighbor open to learning something new and doing some hard think A beautiful (yet terrible) little book, well worth reading ... and sharing. A sobering yet accessible and empathetic introduction ... a gentle yet jarring dipping of one's toe into the water ... on climate change. And (during the era of coronavirus social distancing, as opposed to, say, the holiday season ... as you do your best to support your local independent bookstore), potentially, an excellent gift for a relative, friend, or neighbor open to learning something new and doing some hard thinking. Elephant in the room: the book's strengths - to my mind - derive from the (1) splendid, comfortable, almost languid prose; (2) the author's knowledge and experience - she's the real deal; (3) broad and creative research, eloquently presented alongside, and building upon, endearing anecdotes; and (4) a reader-friendly, easily digestible, "sequential nugget" (or very short, thematic chapter) organizational rubric. While I expect that, for some, I'd be inclined to recommend Wallace-Wells' The Uninhabitable Earth instead, I'm guessing that, due to Jahren's lighter (gentle? soft? silky?) touch, for most readers, this will reach them more directly, or prove less likely to turn them off and simply shut down on the topic. Ultimately, I increasingly think ... nay, fear ... that no topic is more important to the future of our planet ... and the world my children (and their children) will inherit and inhabit ... than climate change. We need to broaden and emphasize the discussion and apply leverage to our governments, at all levels, to make difficult decisions, embrace sacrifice, and change (many types of) behavior. If this book furthers that discussion and opens (or, dare I say, persuades) minds on that score, then Jahren has done us all (and those that will follow) a great service.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I received an early release copy of The Story of More by Hope Jahren. In her latest book, The Story of More, Hope Jahren provides all the warning sirens people paying attention would expect in a book on climate change, and she does it with equal amounts of careful research and human experiences. The book is broken into four sections with an appendix that provides resources readers of the first three will want to explore. As a human, and especially as a parent, I came to this book looking for answe I received an early release copy of The Story of More by Hope Jahren. In her latest book, The Story of More, Hope Jahren provides all the warning sirens people paying attention would expect in a book on climate change, and she does it with equal amounts of careful research and human experiences. The book is broken into four sections with an appendix that provides resources readers of the first three will want to explore. As a human, and especially as a parent, I came to this book looking for answers I could share with my children, and steps we could take as a family toward positive change. Each section of the book is broken into short chapters. It is a book anyone interested in climate change can digest while on a bus commute, or while waiting for an appointment. Jahren's approach to each topics is replete with research and data, yet because the data is connected to personal experiences, I believe both my children (12 and 14) could read it and glean what I did from the text. Her words put the responsibility for change on each of us, but as a yoke we will want to take up, not a chastisement for what has been done. Though the topics of environmental stewardship and climate change are daunting, Jahren urges, "Fate has placed you and me at the crossroads of environmental history." Her tone is one of enthusiasm for what humans can accomplish when we commit to a task. As she writes, she also imparts that she has hope for humankind and that readers are welcome to take some of her hope to spur them toward personal changes for the planet's and all of humanity's betterment. She writes that we need only be "doomed if we believe ourselves to be." As a result of reading The Story of More, my family and I are making changes. We are walking or biking more, and commuting by car less. We are consciously consuming less plastic. We are plotting to plant more trees and help organizations to do the same. After my husband and children have read the book (or listened to an audio version when it becomes available), I hope they make recommendations for our family so we can further dedicate ourselves to actions that will make a small difference. I hope individuals and families who read Jahren's book all begin making similar changes.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    I had the great privilege of reading The Story of More by Hope Jahren over the same course of days as reading We are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer, and finishing them both on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which also would have been my mother's 81st birthday had she not dropped dead of a heart attack in 2009. I actually stopped reading the Foer book to read the Jahren book because I was frustrated with the tone and the focus in the former. I had a good few days where I switched back an I had the great privilege of reading The Story of More by Hope Jahren over the same course of days as reading We are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer, and finishing them both on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which also would have been my mother's 81st birthday had she not dropped dead of a heart attack in 2009. I actually stopped reading the Foer book to read the Jahren book because I was frustrated with the tone and the focus in the former. I had a good few days where I switched back and forth, marveling at the messages (similar), versus the rhetorical approaches (different). Jahren (50) and Foer (43) both draw upon their connections to the places that shaped them. While Jahren focuses more on her small agricultural town in Austin, Minnesota, Foer focuses on the life of his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor born in Poland. Both personal histories lend extraordinary weight to the arguments in each book. For me the deal-breaking difference came in voice and tone—Jahren’s message calls for large scale solutions that embody empathy, innovation, education, and the redistribution of wealth and resources. Foer’s book is more of a collection of personal essays about his personal struggle with making small choices that could make tiny notches in the fight against climate change. For example, Foer obsesses over his desire to eat hamburgers. Solipsistic much? And isn’t solipsism a germ of the bigger problem? My mother held degrees in Political Science and International Relations from Stanford (class of 1961) and became a leader in the Communist Party USA during the 1990’s. The distribution of wealth was a value she held close, and I believe she would have embraced Jahren’s notion that the pursuit of “more” has endangered not only our health and our ecosystems but our political and economic lives as well. I’m thinking a lot about what Earth Day means, especially on this 50th anniversary, and especially in this age when Donald Trump (who is the very embodiment of solipsism), has taken so many steps to eradicate environmental protections—which obviously include public health protections. I cannot overstate the impact of reading both of these books during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, when farmers in the United States are plowing crops under while over 800 million people are starving; when citizens are ignoring stay at home orders and attending protests with signs that read, “Give me liberty or give me COVID-19” and “Socialism Distancing”; when Trump’s base continues to make choices based on the economy and not humanity. Both of these books are excellent and important reads. I imagine I have 3 more decades on this earth, and I am truly not sure that it will be habitable within that timeframe. Is it wrong for me to look at how we have all changed our behavior due to this pandemic, and wonder if it isn’t the only thing impactful enough to cause a paradigm shift? Will it, can it, could it be enough?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joy Clark

    Well-researched, well-written, and full of useful, interesting, and somewhat terrifying information. Unlike many climate change books that focus on the problem, Hope Jahren lays it all out but also provides very specific, actionable changes that we, as readers, can implement relatively easily. You can tell she's a professor in the way she writes and communicates. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in climate science or who wants to know what we, as individuals, can do.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sivaprem S

    Hope Jahren says “the best lessons start from shared experience”. And thus, instead of scaring us she tells the story of climate change as the story of us, Human beings. She tells why we live the way we live - because it’s better for us (clean water, abundance of food, uninterrupted electricity etc.,). She also tells what this culture of wanting more, everyday, is leading us to - overtaxed resources and warming planet, and what we may be able to do about it - renewables, changing habits etc., Th Hope Jahren says “the best lessons start from shared experience”. And thus, instead of scaring us she tells the story of climate change as the story of us, Human beings. She tells why we live the way we live - because it’s better for us (clean water, abundance of food, uninterrupted electricity etc.,). She also tells what this culture of wanting more, everyday, is leading us to - overtaxed resources and warming planet, and what we may be able to do about it - renewables, changing habits etc., The scientist is her slices the various parts precisely and describes it in the simplest of languages. The science when she teaches it is beautiful and vivid. “A spinning wheel is a magical things that moves and stays put at the same time. If you wrap copper wire around an iron stick and attach it to a wheel, you can make electricity by spinning the wheel near a magnet”. How about this for making numbers come to life. “The worlds water is unevenly divided into salty versus fresh. If you took all the water on our planet and shrank it down to fit in a bucket, that bucket will contain one gallon, thick with salt of sloshing ocean. The amount of fresh water, by comparison, would be three spoonfuls. Of those three spoonfuls, two of them would be frozen into ice” Or this “if the United States gave up fossil fuels cold turkey and relied 100 percent on biofuels, its current biofuel production will last about 6 days.” lol You would expect it to be gloomy but it is not, and rather surprisingly it gives Hope(?), because as she says “Ultimately, we are endowed with only four resources: the earth, the ocean, the sky, and each other”. You will learn a lot by reading this short book. If you are reading one book about climate change this should be it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lexi

    I adored Lab Girl and it is the reason I read this book. I sadly wish I had not read it as this did not live up to that wonderful book. First, this was a very simplified view of the history of development and industrialization in the world with a focus on the US. This is a tiny book and the ground the author tried to cover plus amusing anecdotes lead to generalizations to the point of oversimplifications. It also assumed zero background knowledge, so space was spent defining DNA and the word tum I adored Lab Girl and it is the reason I read this book. I sadly wish I had not read it as this did not live up to that wonderful book. First, this was a very simplified view of the history of development and industrialization in the world with a focus on the US. This is a tiny book and the ground the author tried to cover plus amusing anecdotes lead to generalizations to the point of oversimplifications. It also assumed zero background knowledge, so space was spent defining DNA and the word tummy was used for stomach, which is just infantilizing outside of a children’s book. Finally, and this is my soap box, this would be a three star book had it used footnotes. Yes, it had a list of general sources at the back but saying some statistics came from the World Health Organization (WHO) and some from Vanity Fair gives me no ability to judge the quality of the work and research. Second, especially, when discussing research that people have spent most of their lives on this work, it needs to be cited. It is unethical to do otherwise. I will continue to hold this belief on all popular science books that without footnotes, there is no ability to judge the quality of the sources and it fails to give credit to the hard work that went into the research that is being used for the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Readers who enjoyed “Lab Girl” as much as I did will welcome Hope Jahren’s new book, “The Story of More,” which examines the threats that our consumption of fossil fuels and our growing population pose to our world. “Using less and sharing more is the biggest challenge our generation will ever face,” Jahren writes, and “The Story of More”—based on a college course Jahren teaches and written in the same personal and conversational voice as “Lab Girl”—propels the reader through sections titled Foo Readers who enjoyed “Lab Girl” as much as I did will welcome Hope Jahren’s new book, “The Story of More,” which examines the threats that our consumption of fossil fuels and our growing population pose to our world. “Using less and sharing more is the biggest challenge our generation will ever face,” Jahren writes, and “The Story of More”—based on a college course Jahren teaches and written in the same personal and conversational voice as “Lab Girl”—propels the reader through sections titled Food, Energy and Earth to present a panoramic view of how we got to where we are on climate change. Anecdotal and peppered with relatable analogies, “The Story of More” aims not to frighten the reader with dire predictions (as Jahren writes, “The idea of scaring the public for the sake of scaring it scares me. People don’t make good decisions out of fear, history seems to have shown, and at least some of the time, people who are afraid are also prone to doing nothing”) but to tell the story clearly and convincingly and give some small measure of hope that there can still be a happy ending. Many thanks to NetGalley and Vintage Books for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    thoroughly impressed by Jahren’s work. I appreciate the time she put in to define climate science research, provide resources, and make those connections to a drastically changing world in her lifetime. I also applaud the tone of the book. It doesn’t yell at the reader that they might not be making conservation-minded choices; rather she presents facts, encourages small steps over giant leaps, and never fails to remind the reader that “hope requires courage”

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lady Brainsample

    I really appreciate a book that can discuss Really Big Problems in an approachable way. Climate change is one of those Really Big Problems that is super overwhelming in scope. The author tackles this topic in a way that makes it easier to understand and easier to place in context. She does so with grace and humility, showing that while scientists have been wrong on the timing, they've mostly been right on the consequences. I also appreciate that she doesn't stoop to fear mongering about everyone I really appreciate a book that can discuss Really Big Problems in an approachable way. Climate change is one of those Really Big Problems that is super overwhelming in scope. The author tackles this topic in a way that makes it easier to understand and easier to place in context. She does so with grace and humility, showing that while scientists have been wrong on the timing, they've mostly been right on the consequences. I also appreciate that she doesn't stoop to fear mongering about everyone dying while still acknowledging the very real dangers poised against us in the relatively near future.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    This probably should be five stars, but it’s so disturbing I don’t want to dwell on its many topics. I have read similar books this last month and every time I ponder this it breaks my heart, especially the animal industry. She has a wonderful message, sharing the resources, it sounds so simple... her parents aptly named her.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Madison Mclauchlan

    I thoroughly enjoyed this - it was so accessible and well-researched, and I learned so much about agricultural industry and how it’s changed the environment. Also a great treatise on why cars suck! A must-read for anyone who wants to know more about climate change. If I had one critique, it would be the omission of any discussion about corporate and military footprint.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Terry McGlynn

    The promises are high when one of the best writers about climate science, Elizabeth Kolbert, blurbs the book, “Hope Jahren asks the central question of our time: how can we learn to live on a finite planet? The Story of More is thoughtful, informative, and—above all—essential.” I think the book lived up to the praise. It’s a first-person narrative, illuminated by Jahren’s own life story, and these stories are as moving and entertaining as you would expect if you read Lab Girl. Though it says “whe The promises are high when one of the best writers about climate science, Elizabeth Kolbert, blurbs the book, “Hope Jahren asks the central question of our time: how can we learn to live on a finite planet? The Story of More is thoughtful, informative, and—above all—essential.” I think the book lived up to the praise. It’s a first-person narrative, illuminated by Jahren’s own life story, and these stories are as moving and entertaining as you would expect if you read Lab Girl. Though it says “where to go from here,” it doesn’t tell the reader where to go at all. She sizes up the current state of affairs with a combination of frankness and insight that is often lacking, but clearly never tells you the audience what to think, and this is aided by writing in the first person. She seamlessly establishes her credibility with excellent research, and when she inserts her opinions throughout the book, that merely buttresses the facts. Third: There is nary a whiff of preachiness, and and if you’re looking for a way to teach about how humans are impacting this planet with a solid dose climate science, I think this would be a great book to use in an undergraduate course for non-majors, or perhaps even as an easy read for science majors. Also, it’s definitely readable for high school students too. (It’s also structured with modestly sized chapters that can be easily read over the course of a semester, as supplement to whatever else you’re doing.) The subject matter in the book overlaps with documentaries such as Food, Inc, The Story of Stuff, and Affluenza. Those documentaries are designed to precisely tell you what to think, which usually doesn’t work so well. The Story of More, on the other hand, is far more like to convince people to care about climate change, specifically because it doesn’t readers how to think. It just tells the story, weaving together narrative and evidence in highly readable and moving prose.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Not only is Jahren's work well-researched, it is also beautifully written. She explains scientific principles in language that is easily understandable. Best of all, I appreciated that it wasn't simply a diatribe about climate change and how we've ruined the earth, but she also provided suggestions for steps that we, as individuals, can take to lessen our own impact.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    The Story of More by Hope Jahren (award-winning author of Lab Girl) is a unique account of humanity’s increased production and consumption across the last 50 years of industrialization. Jahren tells this story through the lens of her own life, growing up in America’s heartland in a town best known for slaughtering hogs, to paint a vivid photorealist painting of increasing global excess, especially by the few most developed countries of the world. Jahren also provides an undeniably perfect, lucid The Story of More by Hope Jahren (award-winning author of Lab Girl) is a unique account of humanity’s increased production and consumption across the last 50 years of industrialization. Jahren tells this story through the lens of her own life, growing up in America’s heartland in a town best known for slaughtering hogs, to paint a vivid photorealist painting of increasing global excess, especially by the few most developed countries of the world. Jahren also provides an undeniably perfect, lucid introduction to climate change that serves as a relatable primer for someone new to the subject, while also presenting sufficient novelty to appease the most expert scientist. This book is sure to become a go-to source for everything anyone needs to know about climate change (and even things you didn’t know to ask), and moreover, why we should care. It is the introductory text everyone wishes they had in school, but never got. Jahren does this by giving meaning to changes we experience and the meticulous measurements and observations collected over the last five decades by countless workers and scientists. She compiles, digests, and then articulates the science of climate change in meaningful and eloquent prose, and thus accomplishes something no one else has been able to do so well – make climate change science tangible to anyone and everyone. But this book also goes well beyond climate change science, and forces the reader to undoubtedly think about their own decisions and why everyone should care about their consumption habits. She does this by giving meaning and purpose to the gigabytes of public data compiled by private and government agencies. Each number described in the book represents a single, perfect paint stroke in her overall art of storytelling. She interweaves these facts and statistics with her own personal story to leave you caring deeply about the trajectory of the last 50 years, and how we might change the trajectory of the next 50. Because the story and imagery of her life is so expertly interwoven with the science, one cannot help to connect emotionally to both. Scenes from her life – for example, a beautiful description of fall in the Midwest that rivals the most picturesque paintings of fall colors in the northeastern US – introduces each new topic, in a very purposeful, poignant, and meaningful way. The care and respect that Jahren demonstrates for the reader provides an important connection and trust that allows her message of “more” [more people, more food, more energy, more everything] to slowly permeate the soul of the reader, like a plant root infiltrating the soil. Never has a book connected so deeply with me, nor did I feel such a level of trust, much like one might remember feeling sitting in their favorite class taught by their favorite teacher. As such, Jahren’s background as a teacher is obvious throughout. She teaches us about the science and chemistry of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and what GMOs (genetically modified organisms) really mean. These are things that every person who eats food should know, and Jahren cares deeply enough and has the skill to make sure every person can understand through her writing. Finally, the sheer amount of research that went into writing this booking is staggering. The gigabytes of data that were poured over, and meticulously analyzed over many years, and then presented to the reader in a way that anyone can understand, is an artful distillation of the numbers into a single story for all. She uses very specific examples and experiences to teach the reader about life, food, and energy in a way that sticks better than any environmental science textbook ever could. It is surely impossible to finish reading the book without feeling better informed for the decisions we make in our lives each day. This is truly a story for everyone. Jahren begins each chapter with a personal story, one that is entirely relatable, yet unique to the topic presented. We soak in these gems before embarking on the hard work – reading how our choices affect ourselves, our communities, and ourselves. But above all, Jahren ends with a practical roadmap for action the reader can take to improve upon our planet, either a little or a lot. Regardless of your background and prior experiences, the book will make you think differently about your choices and decisions. Like any good teacher, Jahren provides the reader with facts and information and leaves them to pick the right choices for themselves and their fellow humans for which we all share this planet.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kahlee

    Informative but never dull chapters. Easy to understand and the delivery is really different from most books in this category.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Marie

    During these days of pandemic self-isolation, we are all thinking about our next step – the new normal. The Story of More is the book to be reading right now to help humans answer that question. Well-researched, educational, interesting, and easy to read, are not words you can often use to describe a non-fiction science book, but Jahren does an excellent job of making the information engaging and accessible for readers as young as middle school students. As a matter of fact, I’m putting this boo During these days of pandemic self-isolation, we are all thinking about our next step – the new normal. The Story of More is the book to be reading right now to help humans answer that question. Well-researched, educational, interesting, and easy to read, are not words you can often use to describe a non-fiction science book, but Jahren does an excellent job of making the information engaging and accessible for readers as young as middle school students. As a matter of fact, I’m putting this book back in my TBR pile to read it a second time with my tween. Understanding how we got to climate change and our options for where we can go from here is something we should all be contemplating during this time of shutdown and self-quarantine. Now is our time to rethink our behavior, change our consumption habits, and live differently … better. To be clear, this is a science book that inspires, not shames or scares, its readers. It provides facts and data about the science behind climate change accelerated by human behavior. I learned so much about food and energy production! I was blown away by the research. At about 200 pages, The Story of More is a quick, must-read owner’s manual for Earth's residents living in the U.S.!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    This book did something I did not think was possible: it made me realize I need to change my behavior.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I feel that although she understands more than anyone the terrifying situation that we are in with regard to climate change, she seems to give a pass to meat and aquaculture. Raising animals to become meat is one of the greatest contributors to global warming and there are no longer farms, animals are being tortured in CAFOs. She does not mention methane release or transportation costs. I agree that we can all consume less, but obviously that message is not getting through. We are in trouble and I feel that although she understands more than anyone the terrifying situation that we are in with regard to climate change, she seems to give a pass to meat and aquaculture. Raising animals to become meat is one of the greatest contributors to global warming and there are no longer farms, animals are being tortured in CAFOs. She does not mention methane release or transportation costs. I agree that we can all consume less, but obviously that message is not getting through. We are in trouble and something has to change!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Moses

    The Story of More is a well-researched, well-written, conversation about how the world has changed in Dr. Jahren's short time on this Earth. It's a conversation about how the Earth has changed in the million or so years for which we have ice cores. It's a conversation about how the Earth has changed between...pick a time...and now. I say, "conversation," because like much of what Dr. Jahren writes, this book welcomes you into a comfortable space, virtually offers you a cup of tea, and provides yo The Story of More is a well-researched, well-written, conversation about how the world has changed in Dr. Jahren's short time on this Earth. It's a conversation about how the Earth has changed in the million or so years for which we have ice cores. It's a conversation about how the Earth has changed between...pick a time...and now. I say, "conversation," because like much of what Dr. Jahren writes, this book welcomes you into a comfortable space, virtually offers you a cup of tea, and provides you with the mental, intellectual, and emotional respect necessary to have a conversation about a controversial, potentially difficult topic. And she does this the way every good storyteller does, by mixing her own story in with stories from the broader context. Because Dr. Jahren's writing style is so welcoming, The Story of More is a fast read. And it leaves me wanting more. More of the conversation, more data, more time with Dr. Jahren. I want to learn more about her childhood, her experience with science and the changes in her hometown. (Which is great, because I've already read Lab Girl to get that extra conversation.) I want to learn more about the Forest of Ruhr and the Tethys Ocean and the Panthalassa Sea. I want to know more about so many of the topics Dr. Jahren touches upon in The Story of More. The Story of More also leaves me wanting more help in learning about what I can do—both as an individual and as a member of a community—to help mitigate further climate change. And Dr. Jahren provides a number of resources, in the Appendix: A Story of Less. She also provides sources, explanations of decisions she made during the research and writing of the book, and further resources for how an individual can help. Disclosure: I have been a friend of Dr. Jahren's for some time and I am thanked in the book for various reasons. I have no financial or reputation interest in the book. I was provided access to an ARC.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chandni

    Slim introduction to the scale of climate change that ends with a call to individual action. Written for a Western audience.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This much can be said unequivocally: The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren should be required reading for all politicians and policy makers who govern decisions and actions related to how we treat our planet. In particular, it should be mandated reading for individuals among that group who are grossly ignorant and uninformed on the subject, or, worse still, have the science of climate change presented to them, and criminally choose to deny its t This much can be said unequivocally: The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren should be required reading for all politicians and policy makers who govern decisions and actions related to how we treat our planet. In particular, it should be mandated reading for individuals among that group who are grossly ignorant and uninformed on the subject, or, worse still, have the science of climate change presented to them, and criminally choose to deny its truth. At the same time, Jahren’s urgent masterpiece is a handy guide and reference for those individuals and organizations who accept our reckless treatment of Earth’s finite resources, but don’t know what to do about it. The practical appendix, under a title of “The Story of Less,” does more than full justice to the second part of the book’s subtitle, for it is nothing less than a simple blueprint for action with sections on “The Action You Take,” “The Difference You Make,” “An Environmental Catechism,” and “Sources and Suggested Reading.” While The Story of More as a title can appear puzzling at first, as readers work their way through four sections covering “Life,” “Food,” “Energy,” and “Earth,” Jahren scientifically and objectively answers the first part of the book’s subtitle, namely, “How We Got to Climate Change.” As well as the immediate past, she often derives our current situation by going back hundreds and thousands of years to explain how neglect, inattention, and downright abuse has changed the only planet we have. She presents brutally chilling data on humans’ almost righteous consumption of Earth’s resources, and how that clearly manifests itself in climate change. And it is a change for the worse—unless the current generation begins to do something about it in an enduring way, such that future generations will be obliged to continue good practices. Jahren confesses that as the data revealed its incontrovertible story, her mantra became use less and share more. She tells stunning stories of which countries produce energy and how much they produce. But she also highlights the wild imbalance in various countries’ consumption of that energy. Ms. Jahren’s chapters are short, crisp segments of precise prose. They play a game of literary tag, where the end of one chapter dovetails neatly into the beginning of the next, thereby making it a compelling page-turner. One could argue that this familiar doom-and-gloom on climate change has been preached before, but the author’s quiet, unpretentious tone throughout the narrative, and her modest presentation of mountainous data makes her case hard to ignore and harder still to dismiss. Readers will not find it difficult to realize that being mere custodians of Earth for future generations—that is, “looking after, then handing over”—is insufficient and selfish. Rather, as present occupants, we must expand custodial responsibility to incorporate a sense of beneficence, whereby we improve Earth for future generations. I stated this in my review of Ms. Jahren’s previous book, Lab Girl, and will unashamedly self-quote that “Half the pleasure in reading Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren, comes from the fact that she is both a scientist and an excellent writer.” That same talent—and the same pleasure for readers—exists in The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anne-Grete

    Each one of us must privately ask ourselves when and where we can consume less instead of more, for it is unlikely that business and industry will ever ask on our behalf. A book about climate change the past, the present and the future. Jahren starts from early on what has led to this topic by topic. I appreciated how the book split into different topics and how she bridges the topics. Another thing which made this a great read is how the author made parallels with her life and with her experienc Each one of us must privately ask ourselves when and where we can consume less instead of more, for it is unlikely that business and industry will ever ask on our behalf. A book about climate change the past, the present and the future. Jahren starts from early on what has led to this topic by topic. I appreciated how the book split into different topics and how she bridges the topics. Another thing which made this a great read is how the author made parallels with her life and with her experiences. These things put things often in perspective. I underlined so many parts of the book, also some of them just pure funny. Nevertheless, the world places great symbolic value on the appearance of loyalty to these doomed protocols. Donald Trump announcing that the United States will not comply with the terms of the Paris Agreement is like me announcing that I will not rule England after Queen Elizabeth dies, but the international media still reported it as news. Studying biology is like studying a Hieronymus Bosch painting: the chaos that you sense from a few steps back only increases as you lean forward to examine it more closely. Such a pleasurable read and also filled with true facts and numbers, which I definitely appreciate. Definitely also brief enough for anyone to pick it up. Moreover, I think this would be a great read for middle/high school students. Thank you for my copy Knopf Doubleday through Netgalley. Instagram

  26. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    The Story of More traces the impacts of climate change through the lens of human's desire for excessive consumption. The facts are personalised with Jahren's own experiences, demonstrating how every attitude we have towards our planet is inseparable from our own attitudes towards our lifestyle choices. This book works decently as an introduction to climate change. The chapters are organised well by the things that we consume: the food we eat, the energy we waste, and the earth we've simultaneous The Story of More traces the impacts of climate change through the lens of human's desire for excessive consumption. The facts are personalised with Jahren's own experiences, demonstrating how every attitude we have towards our planet is inseparable from our own attitudes towards our lifestyle choices. This book works decently as an introduction to climate change. The chapters are organised well by the things that we consume: the food we eat, the energy we waste, and the earth we've simultaneously ravished. Personally, an introduction to climate change is not what I really want out of a book on climate change at this point in time. The Story of More read too much like a university introduction course (because, for the most part, it began that way), filled to the brim with facts and perhaps not enough personal insight and perspective. I've heard these facts before. Furthermore, the conclusion and proposed solution were really too flimsy and all-encompassing for my liking. For someone who may be more pessimistic towards the hopes of legitimate effort being committed towards the environment, Jahren doesn't really offer anything new to the discussion. So, should you read this book? If you're someone who wants to know the fundamentals of how climate change is affecting the planet: sure. But if you need a bit more perspective on climate change issues, I might give this one a miss. Personally I found The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming more compelling.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carli

    Hope Jahren does it again. Her Story of More reads like poetry with prose that is at once informative, inspiring and nurturing to the soul. The Story of More fosters a connection to planet earth, our energy consumption, and our way of life from a perspective at once analytical and introspective. The Story of More helps us to see how we can help write the story of less. I read this book in the midst of a statewide stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, a time when the nation and each of us individua Hope Jahren does it again. Her Story of More reads like poetry with prose that is at once informative, inspiring and nurturing to the soul. The Story of More fosters a connection to planet earth, our energy consumption, and our way of life from a perspective at once analytical and introspective. The Story of More helps us to see how we can help write the story of less. I read this book in the midst of a statewide stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, a time when the nation and each of us individually were grasping at how to survive with less. The truths she speaks of within the scientific community, I realize, continue and are everlasting: Scientists will fight about almost anything. You can manipulate data to make whatever point you want and to whatever means you need. People don’t make good decisions out of fear. It is very difficult to imagine the solutions of tomorrow if we are unwilling to change our habits of today. “Though the solutions came far too late for many, they were not too late for all.” Is there any hope for planet earth? “Yes, absolutely. I do believe that there is hope for us. And you are very welcome to take some and keep it for your own.” But, “Having hope requires courage.” “Now is the time to imagine a world in alignment with our ideals.” “We are troubled, we are imperfect, but we are many. And we are doomed only if we believe ourselves to be.”

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Dunn

    “My own goal is to inform you, not to scare you, because teaching has taught me to know and respect the difference. I found that fear makes us turn away from an issue, whereas information draws us in.” Hope Jahren has an uncanny ability to make science accessible. Sure, I knew about climate change, kinda. I definitely believed in it. I trust scientists. I believe scientists. But reading this book has made me truly understand what we are talking about when we talk about climate change. And it’s no “My own goal is to inform you, not to scare you, because teaching has taught me to know and respect the difference. I found that fear makes us turn away from an issue, whereas information draws us in.” Hope Jahren has an uncanny ability to make science accessible. Sure, I knew about climate change, kinda. I definitely believed in it. I trust scientists. I believe scientists. But reading this book has made me truly understand what we are talking about when we talk about climate change. And it’s not pretty. Ms. Jahren provides a lot of information, statistics, trends, and ultimately, hope in this empathetically and knowledgeably told history of modern day climate change. All of it is how the world has changed in only the last 50 years which is STAGGERING. But what I love most about Ms. Jahren is she presents this information with absolutely no judgement. She’s not preaching. She’s not admonishing. She is not throwing her hands up in exasperation. She’s just telling it like it is and letting you absorb the information at face value. I learned a lot reading this concise book and I’m going to be thinking critically about how I can affect positive change on our world by simply changing my own. We all have the power if only we would wield it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tim Larsen

    Good survey of the basic science of climate change, written in an engaging and enjoyable style. Though it tends to be very surface deep with the science itself, it is also a mile wide, looking at many societal global trends over the last several decades and centuries and how they converge to create climate change. It is written on a high school or college freshman level. The strength of the book is the point about our infatuation for over-consuming earths resources as part of the developed world Good survey of the basic science of climate change, written in an engaging and enjoyable style. Though it tends to be very surface deep with the science itself, it is also a mile wide, looking at many societal global trends over the last several decades and centuries and how they converge to create climate change. It is written on a high school or college freshman level. The strength of the book is the point about our infatuation for over-consuming earths resources as part of the developed world and especially as Americans. She does a very good job of letting that get under your skin though in a like-able way. She makes the case that, above the sexy green things like solar power, electric cars, recycling, etc and that while those are helpful, far and away what will help climate change the most is learning to be content with less- less air conditioning, less driving, less eating/wasting, less flying etc. Dang it, changing our lifestyle is a lot harder than hoping for scientists and politicians to figure out how to support our lifestyle! But it’s the truth we need to hear and consider. At the time she is an encouraging voice and urges us to not be overwhelmed and just make one positive change.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bonnieb

    Jahren, author of the acclaimed memoir, "Lab Girl", applies her scientific, teaching, and writing skills to our world and our climate and resource challenge. She writes like a journalist, simple, bridging more complex topics/discussions with personal stories, keeping the reader engaged as she traces the history of climate and species creation and extinction over the millennia. While the book does not feel weighted down with demographics or statistics or predictions (it is less than 200 pp), “The Jahren, author of the acclaimed memoir, "Lab Girl", applies her scientific, teaching, and writing skills to our world and our climate and resource challenge. She writes like a journalist, simple, bridging more complex topics/discussions with personal stories, keeping the reader engaged as she traces the history of climate and species creation and extinction over the millennia. While the book does not feel weighted down with demographics or statistics or predictions (it is less than 200 pp), “The Story of More” has enough data in it to keep it as a resource book for specifics on population, climate, energy, endangered species, water/ice melt/ocean changes…and more. Rather than weight it down, as a good journalist, she has her extensive list of resources/citations at the back of the book. All of the stats, demographics, specifics could be googled and found online at the U.N. or other credible global databanks. Not fun to read; not too heavy to read due to her storytelling and writing style; happy I read it.

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