Saturday, 21 April 2007

Green books

1. You remember that 'user library to swap books' idea? Well it exists

Karen & I got as far as a plan for our own version of book swapping that involved taking pics of the book shelf & putting them on flickr. But this is better. It's free. it's got 104,000 books available to swap and counting. What you do is list your books, arrange to swap with others, send the book by post & review each other (ebay style). I'm joining.
via treehugger

2. one book I wont be swapping for a while is Green to Gold

What I really like about this book so far is (major plaudits):
- it's a proper, rigorous business strategy book about eco innovation and strategy
- it makes the points that while the are some extraordinary successes (BP returned $1.5B in value from $20m of carbon emissions reduction programme) green stuff (like any innovation or change programme) can also fail
- it therefore sifts good and bad cases, to try to establish what really works
- it has good analysis, beyond reportage; eg the 5 factors which successful eco-advantage players share
- it's bristling with new jargon (like 'eco-advantage')
- it's based on extensive case research, including interviews with leading business executives
- they give strong billing to doing the right thing/values led business

What I like less about it are (forgiveable and minor faults):
- the title, it's crass and undermines the values point
- the title also gives completely the wrong impression about a book which is careful, balanced and rigorous
- the assumptions they seem to make about business readers; handy summaries for the hard of thinking etc.
- it claims to eschew cheerleading but is quite didactic/prescriptive in places (an 8 point "Playbook" etc.)
NB all of the above may reflect US-UK difference & also US publishing conventions/guidelines to authors which tend to be quite formulaic; wanting practical tools they can apply etc. It's just that business books seem to go straight to 'sales conference powerpoint' level language whereas business journalism aimed at the same audience is mostly just normal good writing.Either that or biz school academics genuinely do think business people are a bit thick?
- their choice of cases; they say its an issue for all businesses, making a special case for small businesses to be included, but they only did their research with super-global-corporates
- leaving the door open to climate change deniers; claiming (like Bush) the evidence is collecting but inconclusive. As Al Gore points out there is ZERO room for doubt in academic studies (not one single peer reviewed paper took this position in a compendial recent survey of academic papers), but about half of press mentions point to room for doubt.

1 comment:

Ben Rowe said...


No doubt you'll have come across natural capitalism.

I really like this one (especially the first chapter) because it's just so damn optimistic. We need more of this.

It also has sound economic arguments that even the most disbelieving of the disbelievers can't deny.