Ah, what a monumental book for me. Listening to the TED Talk was how I got into Mars colonization in the first place, and re-reading it was what sparked my post about Mars on day two of 100DaysToOffload. All in all, this book is very well-written. Providing a structured understanding of the steps we need to take to get to Mars – from the funding to the food/water/shelter on Mars, to the colonization and terraforming – if you want a quick overview of how these things are going to be carried out, this book is the place to go.
It offers succinct explanations that can be understood by the layman (I mean, I first read this in 6th or 7th grade). My biggest gripe while re-reading this book was the optimism. There’s nothing inherently wrong with optimism- but I found it a little concerning Mars was depicted more as a heroic adventure story than an engineering challenge of magnificent proportions.
I utilize this book mostly as a Mars 101 lecture, which after all, is what TED is all about.