Energy Industry’s Harold Hamm is a ‘Game Changer’

It’s going to be over 110 degrees in Phoenix tomorrow, for the nineteenth day in a row, and a lot of people are wondering if a climatic Armageddon is upon us. Personally, I’m wondering why America is purchasing so much oil and natural gas from foreign countries, when we have all we need right here?

This question first occurred to me while I was filming Dirty Jobs. That show, in so many ways, forced me to ask a few fundamental questions about the world I’d been taking for granted. Questions like, where does my energy really come from? Where does my food really come from? And most of all, who are the people most responsible for making my comfortable existence a daily reality? Over the years, it’s been my privilege to meet many of those people, introduce them to the country, and learn from them along the way. But of all the people I’ve met and worked with in the energy industry, no one has taught me more than Harold Hamm.

Harold Hamm grew up poor in rural Oklahoma. Real poor. He is the youngest of thirteen children, and the son of a sharecropper. He was blessed however, with an insatiable curiosity, a ferocious work ethic, and a relentless determination to do something meaningful for the country he loves. And so, he did. When the experts were making dire and daily predictions that we were about to run out of fossil fuels in the “very near future,” Harold and his team of geologists found a century of affordable, reliable energy, right beneath our feet. Then, he pioneered a revolutionary technology called horizontal drilling, ushered in the shale revolution, and demonstrated conclusively that America really could be energy independent – if we wanted to be. So – why aren’t we?

I’m not trying to pick a fight, honestly. Nor am I blasé about the future of our planet. I understand the need to transition toward alternative technologies, and I have always supported those efforts – especially with respect to nuclear. But it seems hypocritical to lecture the world on the evils of fossil fuels, brag about our commitment to wind and solar, shutdown projects like the Keystone Pipeline, warn of a climate apocalypse, and then purchase billions of dollars of oil and natural gas from Canada, Mexico, Iraq, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. If we need oil and natural gas to provide us with enough electricity to keep us all on the grid – as we obviously do – then what possible justification can there be to purchase it elsewhere?

The answer to that question, and many others, can be found in the book I just finished reading. It’s called Game Changer, by Harold Hamm, and it should be required reading for anyone who has ever worn clothes, driven a car, flown in a plane, used a computer, cooked a meal, eaten a steak, or walked into an air-conditioned room in Phoenix. Like The Prize and Fossil Future, (both of which I’ve also recommended), Game Changer is packed with undeniable facts and inconvenient truths. (The breakthroughs in carbon capture alone are worth the price.) But unlike so many other excellent books that outline our relationship with fossil fuels, this one was written by an eyewitness to history. Not just an eyewitness, a true game changer. A man who played – and continues to play – a pivotal role in making America a truly energy independent nation.

Assuming of course, we want to be one.

It’s a great read. Get a copy here.
PS I didn’t meet Harold on Dirty Jobs, though I very nearly did. We were both in North Dakota at the same time, back in 2011. I was erecting a cellphone tower on the high plains, and he was just around the corner, transforming the Bakken Formation into one of America’s greatest natural resources. We didn’t actually meet though, until 2021, when he invited me to Oklahoma City to tour The Hamm Institute for American Energy. If you ever have the chance, take a tour of this place. It’s located at OSU, and it is without question, America’s premier institute for innovation, education, and growth for all forms of energy. Ever since, we’ve been working together on ways to cut through the myths and misperceptions that have left so many people conflicted and confused about the role of oil and natural gas in their own lives. You can see some of the work we’ve done in Oklahoma, at

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