Drinking Water Book Summary - Drinking Water Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Drinking Water summary

James Salzman

A History

4.4 (47 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

'Drinking Water' by James Salzman outlines the history and current state of our drinking water systems, and offers strategies to protect it from pollution and privatization. It highlights the importance of water conservation and the impact of individual actions on the environment.

Table of Contents

    Drinking Water
    Summary of 10 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 10

    Historically, drinking water wasn’t desirable, but it was thought to hold mystical powers.

    Though water may seem like a common element, it has a very interesting background.

    For many centuries, and across numerous societies, water wasn’t a preferred drink. For example, the Roman upper-classes perceived water as a beverage suitable only for children, slaves or women who couldn’t drink wine.

    Water continued to be perceived in the same way through to the Middle Ages and beyond, right up to and including the first pilgrims reaching the New World. Like upper-class Romans, the beer-loving pilgrims thought that water should be given only to the poorest members of the community. In the seventeenth century, there was even an English doctor who believed that drinking water could result in feeling melancholic.

    Despite this, many believed in its supposed magical powers.

    The idea of holy water and wells, springs or other sources holding enchanted water has been around for a long time. The Fountain of Youth, sought by the sixteenth-century Spanish explorer of the New World, Juan Ponce de León, is a famous example.

    It’s likely that Ponce de León’s pursuit of rejuvenating water was embellished after his death, as nearly every other culture claims very similar stories.

    According to Norse mythology, the god Odin searched for the transformative water that runs under Yggdrasil, a sacred tree that links all worlds.

    Another similar tale comes from the Muslim world. In it, Alexander the Great’s political adviser Khidr makes it through the Land of Darkness to come upon a spring that could grant him immortality.

    Heading into the fifteenth century, judge Sir John Fortescue said that the one reason to drink water was “for devotion.” In 1858, a miller’s daughter called Bernadette Soubirous apparently saw the Virgin Mary 18 times at a spring in Lourdes, France. Years after her death, Soubirous was declared a saint in 1933, and to this day, people travel from all over the world to try the water at Lourdes.

    Want more?
    Read or listen to the key ideas
    from 7,000+ titles

    Key ideas in Drinking Water

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Drinking Water about?

    Drinking Water (2012) looks at our relationship with potable water. Weaving through history to the present day, the book reveals interesting and sometimes shocking facts about drinking water and our thirst-quenching habits.

    Drinking Water Review

    Drinking Water (2021) by James Salzman explores the essential role that water plays in our lives and why it's crucial to protect this precious resource. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with fascinating facts and insights, it sheds light on the global water crisis and the challenges we face in ensuring access to clean drinking water for all.
    • Through engaging narratives and thought-provoking examples, it highlights the interconnectedness between water, health, and environmental sustainability.
    • With its compelling call to action and exploration of innovative solutions, it inspires readers to understand, appreciate, and protect our planet's most vital resource.

    Best quote from Drinking Water

    The notion that cleanliness is next to godliness took root during this era, and it made the religious community a powerful ally for sanitation reform.

    —James Salzman
    example alt text

    Who should read Drinking Water?

    • Anyone concerned about what goes into their bodies
    • People who care about the environment
    • Lovers of water

    About the Author

    James Salzman is the author of several books and over 80 academic papers. He is also the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law at UCLA School of Law.

    Categories with Drinking Water

    Book summaries like Drinking Water

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Drinking Water FAQs 

    What is the main message of Drinking Water?

    The main message of Drinking Water is the importance of clean and accessible water for all.

    How long does it take to read Drinking Water?

    The reading time for Drinking Water varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Drinking Water a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Drinking Water is an eye-opening book that sheds light on the importance of water in our lives. It's definitely worth reading!

    Who is the author of Drinking Water?

    The author of Drinking Water is James Salzman.

    What to read after Drinking Water?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Drinking Water, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Stoned by Aja Raden
    • Let There Be Water by Seth M. Siegel
    • Oxygen by Nick Lane
    • Retrain Your Brain by Seth J. Gillihan
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
    • A World Without Ice by Henry Pollack
    • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
    • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong Couples Don't Do by Amy Morin
    • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson