The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters by Gregory Zuckerman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My rating might be a bit harsh. The book is not bad; it just wasn't quite what I was expecting. It is much more a business book than anything else. Particularly in the last third, the focus becomes more about stocks, board rooms, and finance than fracking. The first third or so was interesting in terms of laying out the history of both the development of the techniques as well as the individuals involved. I would have liked a bit more on this. I didn't want a geology lesson, but wanted more focus on the novelty of fracking and how the various innovators and engineers along the way improved the process. The middle part focused more on the building of the companies that were the driving force in this American oil and gas production revolution. The afterward was in some ways the most interesting for me. It discussed the criticisms and responses to criticisms about the dangers and consequences of fracking. Zuckerman takes an appealing moderate approach: as he says, the worst dangers of the fiercest critics are overblown, but it is not the harm-free process the industry would like it to be. Zuckerman argues that many of the dangers can be mitigated by improving industry standards and regulatory oversight. Still, I would have liked this discussion to be more in the main section of the book, and better explored. The afterward also gets into the geopolitics of the shale revolution. This too was very interesting and should have been more in the main sections of the book. But then, that really wasn't the book Zuckerman was writing. He wants to the tell story of the businessmen who are created and stoked this revolution. And he does a great job of that.
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