A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence



More or less nonfiction, this raucously funny book throws readers the insider’s curveball on oil embargoes, the race to the moon, and an elite think-tank that led the US effort on alternative energy. Part memoir, part energy adventure, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence is the serendipitous journey from musician – to college droput (Bob left after three months to join an experimental band) – to experimental musician – to law school graduate – to space law pioneer – to energy cogeneration consultant – to clean air industrialist – to large wood sculptor – to scientific environmental thinker at large – and back.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence is the first energy or environmental book that makes no point and doesn’t ask you to think. This is the first book by Robert Danziger, a ghost of alternative energy past.

More than just a good time, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence by author, inventor, musician, lawyer, and all around good guy Robert Danziger, teaches readers aspects of alternative energies without moralizing, pontificating, or even advocating. A key player in the alternative energy industry for over thirty years, Danziger was the first person to eliminate an entire class of pollutants from a working power plant. To date, his efforts secured the largest energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction event in history, and what his book offers is team spirit, a bipartisan bird’s eye view of new energy—and a lot of laughter.

In twenty-seven chapters like “See Your Two Swiss and Raise You One Jew,” “Kings of the Beach,” and “Give or Take $500 Million,” this mostly true work of nonfiction recalls the author’s career pursuing energy independence, music, and personal prosperity. He shares unbelievably funny stories about rocket scientists doing dumb things, why Uranus was renamed, and how a bowl of oatmeal helped get a five thousand pound satellite to Jupiter. He touches on solar ponds, windmills, biofuels, geothermal energy, ultra-clean emission systems, the climate change situation, and how it came to be that he garnered $60 million loan papers at the corner of Randolph and Clark, the exact spot in Chicago where, as a six-year-old child, his dad sold newspapers to support their family. It ends up new energy architects have to spend their share of hours in leather bars, and it helps if they’ve worked as studio musicians. Readers also learn that it’s far better to let a lawyer choke on a chicken bone, then not dance on a train platform in Tokyo—and that while we might not have all the answers to the world’s crisis, we should be glad that someone’s been taking notes on the funny parts.

A cartoon contest for the cover and illustrations was held by Animazing Spotlight and entries came from all over the world. The cover cartoon is by Mike Kazaleh.