Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction – Book Review
Years ago, while I was still a (precocious) teenager I had been gifted by my late great uncle a copy of Ludwig Von Bertalanffy’s General System Theory. I was too young to understand much of it, and had not gone back to it for years, but as I developed my own scientific and technical career my impression of it became that it was yet another useless exercise in pseudo-scientific intellectualism. That’s why I was initially skeptical of Earth System Science. I came to assume that anything that purported to be addressing a system as a whole would be intellectually suspect. It didn’t help that I am an eco-skeptic, and I’m weary of all recent effusive earth-sy envirobabble. To my surprise and delight, my skepticism was totally unwarranted. This turned out to be a wonderful and insightful book. It distills insights from many seemingly disparate fields – geology, climatology, planetary science, astrophysics, biology – and clearly demonstrates how they all contribute to our understanding of the Earth as a whole.
The writing in this book is lucid and engaging. If you are a science buff, you will find the book to be very interesting. There are no prerequisites for this book, but it helps to have pretty good overall scientific background, and familiarity with geosciences in particular is a plus.
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