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Daniel Howard Yergin

Birthplace: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Private and Private
Husband of Angela Stent
Father of Private User and Rebecca Yergin
Brother of Marc Yergin

Occupation: Writer, Consultant
Managed by: Betsy Teutsch
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Daniel Yergin

Daniel Howard Yergin (born February 6, 1947) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, speaker, and economic researcher. Yergin is the co-founder and chairman of the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy research consultancy that is now part of IHS Inc. He is best known as author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power and The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. He received his PhD from Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar.

Early life and education

Born in Los Angeles, California to a Chicago Tribune reporter father and a mother who was a sculptor and painter, Yergin attended Beverly Hills High School. He received his BA from Yale University in 1968, where he served on the board of the Yale Daily News, and was a founder of The New Journal. He earned his PhD in International Relations (1974) from Cambridge University where he was a Marshall Scholar. He has honorary doctorates from Colorado School of Mines, University of Houston, and the University of Missouri.


From 1978 through 1980, he was a lecturer at the Harvard Business School and, until 1985, a lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He founded Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) in 1982 with the purchase of a $7 file cabinet from The Salvation Army. In 2004, CERA was acquired by the information company IHS Inc., of which he is now vice chairman.


Yergin's first book, Shattered Peace, partly based upon his PhD dissertation, focused on the origins of the Cold War. It was named 'best book of the year' by the National Historical Society.

He co-authored and co-edited with Robert B. Stobaugh, Energy Future: the Report of the Energy Project at the Harvard Business School, which was a New York Times bestseller.

Yergin is best known for The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, a number-one bestseller that won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1992 and the Eccles Prize for the best book on economics for a general audience. The book was adapted into a PBS/BBC mini-series seen by more than 20 million viewers. Yergin was awarded the 1997 United States Energy Award for "lifelong achievements in energy and the promotion of international understanding.”

His next book was Russia 2010 and What It Means for the World, written with Thane Gustafson, which provided scenarios for the development of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was followed by The Commanding Heights: the Battle for the World Economy, written with Joseph Stanislaw, which started out as a 60,000-word essay and described in narrative form the struggle over the "frontier" between governments and markets and the rise of globalization. It was made into a prize-winning six-hour PBS/BBC television series. Yergin was executive producer and host of the series. Yergin interviewed many high-profile people including Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Gordon Brown, Newt Gingrich, and Robert Rubin, as well as prominent economists.

In September 2011, Yergin published The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, which continued his history of the global oil industry but also addressed energy security, natural gas, electric power, climate change and the search for renewable sources of energy.

All of Yergin's books were drafted in long-hand.

Peak oil controversy

Yergin has criticized predictions of imminent peak oil, noting in 2011 that the early 21st century is the fifth period of widespread predictions that world oil production was about to fall. The four previous times when experts commonly predicted that oil production would soon decrease were: first in the 1880s, then after each of the World Wars, and again in the 1970s. He wrote that Hubbert peak theory ignores the effects of economics and technological advances. Instead of a peak, Yergin predicts future oil production will be more of a plateau, as increasing prices moderate demand and stimulate production. He also addressed peak oil in a chapter in The Quest entitled “Is the World Running Out of Oil?”

Yergin's peak oil views have been attacked by critics from a peak oil perspective. For example, Jean Laherrere contended in 2011 that Yergin's predictions on energy production and prices have omitted key facts, leading Yergin to draw incorrect conclusions. Another industry observer criticized Yergin's statement in September 2007 that the price of crude oil was then higher than justified by fundamentals. (At the time of Yergin's statement, the price of West Texas Intermediate oil was $US79 per barrel. The price peaked nine months later at $US145 per barrel before dropping dramatically following The Financial Crisis of 2007-2009.)

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Daniel Yergin's Timeline

February 6, 1947
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States