Inside our have-it-now economy
Introducing Door to Door
"Like 'Silent Spring' and 'The Omnivore’s Dilemma,' 'Door to Door'
is a rallying point for culturewide change... Humes’s tireless
curation of figure and fact, his well-reasoned arguments and
his uncluttered, well-ordered prose may turn the ship."
- Mary Roach, The New York Times
I used to brag about having the shortest commute in town: downstairs for coffee, back up to my office to write. How wrong I was. My daily commute is really more on the order of 3 million miles—without ever leaving the house. And so is yours.
From field to broker to port to factory to store to me, my morning coffee blend traveled enough miles to circle the globe—and that’s just the bag of beans. Add the cream, the globally sourced parts of my coffeemaker, the filter, the water and the electricity to power it, and my java has circled the earth a couple times before my first sip. My smartphone is even more well traveled, and the parts of my car have seen enough mileage for a trip to the moon before the odometer leaves zero—about 250,000 miles. Unprecedented amounts of transportation are embedded in every trip we take and every click we make. Just keeping the average American family moving, eating and working is like building the Great Pyramid, the Hoover Dam, and the Empire State Building all in a day. Every day.
I spent the past year looking under the hood of our have-it-now, same-day-delivery economy. I wanted to know how our lattes and pizzas and phones and cans of coke move door to door, what it all costs, and how much we have left in the tank. The trail led me through the nation’s biggest ports, its busiest delivery service, and across the harrowing obstacle course we call our streets and highways, where the deaths and injuries in one year exceed all the American casualties in all the wars we’ve ever fought.
Now we and our 3-million-mile commutes are at a fork in the road. Will gridlock win the day, or can the dreamers and tech wizards really re-invent mobility, end motor deaths, conquer traffic jams, and remove the most unreliable part of a car, the driver? Are we facing Carmageddon? Or Carmaheaven?
Come take a ride with me in Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation. And buckle up.
Door to Door In the News
- The Absurd Primacy of the Automobile in American Life, The Atlantic
- Your iPhone's 500,000-Mile Journey to Your Pocket, Wired
- The Door-to-Door Economy: Piloting the Giants, TechCrunch
- Why the Future of E-Commerce Depends on Better Roads, Harvard Business Review
- Four 'Easy' Fixes for L.A. Traffic, Los Angeles Times
Published by HarperCollins
Latest Edition (paperback) May 16, 2017
"A fascinating read from the center of world car culture."
—Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy & founder of 350.org
"This fun, informative, timely book will inspire many readers."
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NY Times Science: "Edward Humes on How Transportation Overkill is Killing Us"
Door to Door on the "Outspoken Cyclist"
BookTV: Nevermind the "I Word" This C-SPAN spot featuring Edward Humes, Rust author Jonny Waldman, and the erudite Brian Fagan is worth checking out.