The Big Thirst Book Summary - The Big Thirst Book explained in key points

The Big Thirst summary

Charles Fishman

Brief summary

The Big Thirst by Charles Fishman takes a deep dive into the world's water crisis. It explores the challenges and opportunities we face in managing this precious resource, and provides thought-provoking insights on how to solve this global dilemma.

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    The Big Thirst
    Summary of key ideas

    An In-depth Look at our Relationship with Water

    In The Big Thirst, Charles Fishman dives deep into the critical relationship we share with water. He opens the book by invoking our fascination with water and how it has shaped civilizations throughout history. Fishman points out that while water is common, clean and accessible drinking water is not. We've developed a false sense of security about the unlimited availability of water - a perception we need to urgently reconsider.

    The book brings to light the innovative ways different societies manage the water crisis. Fishman gives us a glimpse of the intricate water system of Las Vegas, a desert city that has one of the most efficient water management practices in the United States. He highlights how they succeeded in reducing water usage despite the city's growth, thereby challenging the belief that population growth and urbanization increase water demand.

    The Marvel of Modern Sanitation

    Moving from fresh water, Fishman navigates us to the world of wastewater. The author illustrates the miracle of modern sanitation systems by comparing the pristine, safe water we enjoy today with the dirty water societies had to endure in the past. Yet, he argues, we've become complacent and disconnected from this marvel of engineering, taking for granted a miracle that was a dream just a few centuries ago.

    Fishman reasons that our ignorance about our water systems has left us apathetic to water pollution and wastage. We have created a paradox where we are highly dependent on water but remain blissfully ignorant of the intricacies of our water systems. This disconnection, he suggests, ought to be mended for us to tackle the growing water crisis effectively.

    Emerging Solutions and Challenges

    With water scarcity growing globally, Fishman explores the novel solutions that are arising. Interestingly, he spotlights the process of transforming recycled wastewater into drinking water, a practice that's common in places like Orange County, California, but still struggles with public perception elsewhere. Fishman emphasizes the importance of such technologies to ensure a sustainable water future but also acknowledges the public's initial discomfort with the idea.

    Moreover, Fishman highlights the paradox that, even though we live on a water-rich planet, most of this water is unusable due to salt content and the enormous costs of desalination. This scarcity amidst abundance demonstrates the urgent need for improved water management and efficient use of our water resources. Unfortunately, our perceived categorization of water into "good" and "bad" water hampers the development of efficient water strategies.

    Understanding Water's True Value

    As the book concludes, Fishman argues that our biggest challenge is not the physical lack of water but changing our attitudes towards it. Today, water, undoubtedly invaluable, is mostly underpriced and wasted. Mispricing water, Fishman explains, leads to overuse and failure to fund necessary infrastructure repairs and development.

    In conclusion, The Big Thirst offers a plea for a radical shift in how we value water. The book serves as a wake-up call, encouraging us to challenge our assumptions about water's abundance, appreciate the vital role it plays in our lives, and take active responsibility in ensuring its wise management for the generations to come.

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    What is The Big Thirst about?

    The Big Thirst explores the global water crisis and the innovative solutions being developed to address it. From the politics of water rights to the science of water conservation, Charles Fishman delves into the complex and essential role that water plays in our lives. This thought-provoking book challenges us to rethink our relationship with this precious resource and consider the impact of our actions on the future of water.

    The Big Thirst Review

    The Big Thirst (2011) by Charles Fishman dives into the complex world of water supply, exploring our relationship with this vital resource and the challenges we face in the future. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With fascinating stories and compelling examples, it sheds light on the hidden complexities behind something we often take for granted.
    • Through meticulous research and in-depth analysis, Fishman presents a comprehensive understanding of the global water crisis and its impact on our lives.
    • By presenting both the seriousness of the issue and the potential for innovative solutions, it engages readers and encourages them to take action.

    Who should read The Big Thirst?

    • Individuals curious about the impact of water scarcity on our world
    • Environmentalists and those interested in sustainable practices
    • Policy makers and government officials aiming to address water-related challenges

    About the Author

    Charles Fishman is an award-winning journalist and author. He has written for publications such as The Washington Post and Fast Company, and has received numerous accolades for his investigative reporting. Fishman's book, "The Big Thirst," explores the global water crisis and the innovative solutions being developed to address it. His in-depth research and engaging storytelling make him a leading voice on the topic of water sustainability.

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    The Big Thirst FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Big Thirst?

    The main message of The Big Thirst is that water is a precious and complex resource that requires careful management and innovation.

    How long does it take to read The Big Thirst?

    The reading time for The Big Thirst varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, you can read the Blinkist summary in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Big Thirst a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Big Thirst is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in understanding the challenges and solutions related to our water supply. It offers thought-provoking insights and a call to action.

    Who is the author of The Big Thirst?

    The author of The Big Thirst is Charles Fishman.

    What to read after The Big Thirst?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Big Thirst, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
    • Simply Complexity by Neil F. Johnson
    • Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku