Format Hardcover
Publication Date 03/01/14
ISBN 9781605985404
Trim Size / Pages 9.3 x 6.4 in / 288

Request a review copy or press kit

Seven Elements that Changed the World

An Adventure of Ingenuity and Discovery

John Browne

The fascinating story of how seven elements—iron, carbon, gold, silver, uranium, titanium, and silicon—have changed modern life, for good and ill.

With carbon we access heat, light and mobility at the flick of a switch, while silicon enables us to communicate across the globe in an instant.         Yet our use of the Earth's mineral resources is not always for the benefit of humankind—our relationship with the elements is one of great ambivalence. Uranium is both productive (nuclear power) and destructive (nuclear bombs); iron is the bloody weapon of war, but also the economic tool of peace; our desire for alluring gold is the foundation of global trade, but has also led to the death of millions. John Browne, CEO of British Petroleum (BP) for twelve years, vividly describes how seven elements are shaping the world around us, for better and for worse.        Combining history, science, and politics, Seven Elements takes you on a present-day adventure of human passion and innovation. This journey is far from over: we continue to find surprising new uses for these seven elements. In this narrative of discovery, readers will come to understand how titanium pervades modern consumer society, how natural gas is transforming the global energy sector, and how an innovative new form of carbon could be starting a technology revolution.

John Browne was born in Germany in 1948 and joined BP as a university apprentice in 1966, rising to Group Chief Executive from 1995 to 2007, where he built a reputation as a visionary leader, regularly voted the most admired businessman by his peers. This is his first book.

Buy it now in print: Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound

Buy it now in ebook: Amazon Barnes & Noble

Endorsements & Reviews

“The human quest for knowledge has led to extraordinary progress. This book forces us to confront these realities and does so in a unique and fascinating way. It weaves science and humanity together in a way that gives us new insight. This is an expertly crafted book by a unique thinker.” Tony Blair
“John Browne uses seven elements, the building blocks of the physical world, to explore a multitude of worlds beyond. A lively story that enables us to see the essential elements of modern life in a new and highly engaging way.” Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Quest
“Part popular science, part history, part memoir, these pages are infused with insight and lifted by the innate optimism of a scientist.” Brian Cox, physicist, broadcaster, and author of The Quantum Universe