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The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability Paperback – Jun 2 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Business; Reprint edition (June 2 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887307043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887307041
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I have come to believe that we in America and in the rest of the industrialized West do not know what business really is, or, therefore, what it can become. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Krystle, SelfmadeFarmer.com on April 22 2003
Format: Paperback
When I first tried to read this book, I didn't even get past the first chapter. But when I picked it up again almost a year later, I absorbed it like a sponge. Even when I interviewed the president of a sustainable business for my website, SustainableWays.com, I found that the same thing happened to him. The fact of the matter is, this is an excellent book, but it's also somewhat of a pragmatic call to arms. It wasn't till I'd explored and developed my ideas about the environment and resolved to do something about it that I could fully appreciate this book. For someone who's still exploring their position on these issues, Paul Hawken's prescriptions for action will probably seem irrelevant and premature. But if your ideas are ripe and you're ready to put them to work, The Ecology of Commerce is an invaluable resource.
Before I read this book, I used to think that business and the environment were inherently at odds. But then I realized that this doesn't have to be the case. According to Hawken, the problem lies in our economic system's design, and no amount of management or programs is going to change that. In order to make things better, we're going to have to rethink our economic structure, and in that possibility is where Mr. Hawken finds hope. As he so eloquently put it:
"To create an enduring society, we will need a system of commerce and production where each and every act is inherently sustainable and restorative...Just as every action in an industrial society leads to environmental degradation, regardless of intention, we must design a system where the opposite is true, where doing good is like falling off a log, where the natural, everyday acts of work and life accumulate into a better world as a matter of course, not as a matter of conscious altruism." (Hawken, p.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol Grosser on March 14 2001
Format: Paperback
As we all know, everyone crows on the "failure" of communism, but no one crows about the REAL failure of capitalism. It is a more slow dying weed than the "socialism" of communism, but it is a dying weed as well. When the vast majority of the population is dying a slow death from failing lungs in the form of asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, when all the ills of our "capitalistic" economy are enumerated including increasing failure of our children to have IQ above retardation level, i.e. "Survivor", etc. and most of them have failing immune systems, how can capitalism have survived?
Paul Hawkens, I believe, is the first real thinker to address the issue. He gets rid of those self-assured Americans who name themselves environmentalists because they put out their trash at the recycling curb while proceeding as usual otherwise.
The other frivolous reviews you have at the first is further evidence of the old business ethic that is afraid to rethink or,indeed, to even think!
Put my review at the first where it belongs, corporate giant, soon to be owned by Wal-Mart, the corporate giant that dots the American landscape with even more junk and cuts every tree in its path!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 1 1998
Format: Paperback
Don't get me wrong: I agree with the vast bulk of this book. Yet Paul Hawken's attempt at a new vision of corporate behavior and business ethics is more mirage than masterpiece.
I have two main criticisms of this otherwise eloquent book. First, although Hawken bravely tries to bridge the ideological gap between his two different audiences (the rapacious businessman and economically-uninformed environmentalist), he ultimately has to pull punches on both fronts; this is okay for political compromise, but not for building vision or revealing "inherent" truthes (which seem to be the book's aims). Second, and more important, the book has almost no helpful detail, either for policy or for corporate behavior. Perhaps I'm really just complaining that the book is too short, but a call for Pigovian taxes and a vague yet comprehensive overhall of business philosophy does not a vision make.
But read the book anyway, since there's little else out there in this vein (though I recommend When Corporations Rule the World, David Korten). ;-)
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By Nancy Grant on Oct. 15 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the best I've read of its kind. I would rate it a classic as it doesn't give a gloom and doom scenario. Paul Hawken does however provide insight into how business and the economy have evolved so destructively in a short span of time which opens ones eyes to how far things have progressed. More importantly, Hawken gives strategies on how everyone from the average Jo, small business, large corporations and the government(s) can work on building a future for those who come after us. We do need, however, common will. I think this book should be taught in schools and all government officials should read it, in fact, everyone should read it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have yet to finish the book but it has been a fantastic read thus far. I heard about it on a documentary called The Corporation... give this documentary a watch it is free. And it will change your outlook on the future and give you a stead fast warning on how to change our methodoloy and the issues our globe faces each day we continue to pollute.

[...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rob M on July 9 2009
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. As someone with two business degrees, you get used to hearing a fairly narrow perspective on the economy, the environment, and the way businesses are meant to operate. I was initially drawn to the book by a documentary in which the CEO of a rather large organization talked about how it had impacted his life. On reading it, I found that it challenged me to think differently about the way that I live and the way that I think about the role of businesses in modern society. Overall, it was quite an impactful book and I'd recommend it to others.
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