He is rigorously numeric, using data to illuminate every topic he writes about. The word "polymath" was invented to describe people like him.
- Bill Gates
One of the world's foremost thinkers on development history and a master of statistical analysis . . . The nerd's nerd.
In a world of specialized intellectuals, Smil is an ambitious and astonishing polymath who swings for fences . . . They're among the most data-heavy books you'll find, with a remarkable way of framing basic facts.
Vaclav Smil has led a 30-year career of interdisciplinary contrarianism, writing hundreds of scientific articles and dozens of books attacking sacred cows of Western environmental and geopolitical thought.
- Foreign Policy