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The idea that Vaclav Smil was Bill Gates' tutor was mentioned in a Globe and Mail article in 2010 after Bill reviewed some of his earlier books
and mentioned how much he liked his work and read everyone of his 30 books. So Vaclav has been offering up ideas that Bill has been following for awhile now.
The reason I mention all this is because I don't think enough people appreciate the scope and style of Vaclav Smil's work. The recommendation that Bill Gates has given to his work is one indication of how powerful a thinker he is. He has written many books that are impressive in their quantitative reasoning about various big issues confronting society today.
You can find lectures by Vaclav Smil on the internet. He is an intense speaker who some might find controversial for his pragmatic views on the oil and gas technologies and green technologies. Below is one of his more recent YouTube videos called Energy Transitions in which he discusses a wide range of issues on the topic of energy transition and redefines what we should be talking about under this label. I don't endorse all of his views but I certainly think his views are worth listening
to. This video is over an hour long and there is a section around the 28:30 to 29:45 when the sound cuts out. Vaclav was born in the Czech Republic in case you are wondering about his accent.
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