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Oil on the Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline

Lisa Margonelli

Starting at a local gas station, Margonelli sets off to meet the people behind the pump, who lead her deep into the economics, politics, chemistry, and culture of petroleum. Along the oil supply chain, through the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the NYMEX oil market, she finds unexpected delights and troubling contradictions.

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Book Information

Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Publish Date: 01/31/2007
Pages: 324
ISBN-13: 9780385511452
ISBN-10: 0385511450
Language: English

What We're Saying

February 05, 2007

Oil on The Brain: Adventures from the Pump to the Pipeline by Lisa Margonelli, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 290 pages, $26. 00, Hardcover, February 2007, ISBN 0385511450 In 2005, I was late to the game on a great book, Travels of A T-Shirt In The Global Economy. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

February 09, 2009

There are only a few people in the media who know business books as well as Jack and I. Hardy Green, an associate editor at BusinessWeek, is one of those people. We met with Hardy in New York two weeks ago and he quickly commenced with critiquing our selections for The 100 Best. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

"Oil on the Brain" is a smart, surprisingly funny account of the oil industry--the people, economies, and pipelines that bring us petroleum, brilliantly illuminating a world we encounter every day.
Americans buy ten thousand gallons of gasoline a second, without giving it much of a thought. Where does all this gas come from? Lisa Margonelli's desire to learn took her on a one-hundred thousand mile journey from her local gas station to oil fields half a world away. In search of the truth behind the myths, she wriggled her way into some of the most off-limits places on earth: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the New York Mercantile Exchange's crude oil market, oil fields from Venezuela, to Texas, to Chad, and even an Iranian oil platform where the United States fought a forgotten one-day battle.
In a story by turns surreal and alarming, Margonelli meets lonely workers on a Texas drilling rig, an oil analyst who almost gave birth on the NYMEX trading floor, Chadian villagers who are said to wander the oil fields in the guise of lions, a Nigerian warlord who changed the world price of oil with a single cell phone call, and Shanghai bureaucrats who dream of creating a new Detroit.
Deftly piecing together the mammoth economy of oil, Margonelli finds a series of stark warning signs for American drivers.

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