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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, especially the second time around
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...
Published on April 22 2003 by Krystle, SelfmadeFarmer.com

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice try, but simply not enough
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...
Published on Feb. 1 1998


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, especially the second time around, April 22 2003
This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (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. xiv)
The Ecology of Commerce is dedicated to envisioning such a system, and discussing how we can get from here to there. The restorative economy contemplated by Hawken may seem like a long shot, but he demonstrates that it IS possible because his approach is to work WITH natural processes, not against them. That not only includes those processes existing in ecosystems, but also the ones present in ourselves, like our unique ability to innovate. You see, what makes these ideas inspiringly hopeful, and what I love most about this book, is the author's willingness not just to acknowledge the way things really are, but also to use them to our advantage. For example, he's smart enough to know that any system, program, or law that asks people to sacrifice happiness, comfort, or convenience ISN'T sustainable because ultimately, it just won't work. "Humans want to flourish and prosper," he explains, "and they will eventually reject any system of conservation that interferes with these desires...[A sustainable society] will only come about through the accumulated effects of daily acts of billions of eager participants" (Hawken, p. xv).
This is the kind of book I'd encourage you to buy if you are even remotely concerned about the state of our environment, which is intimately tangled with our own. On a personal level, it's one of the most motivating books I've ever read--in fact, its concepts form the foundation for my website, SustainableWays.com. My copy is now riddled with highlighter marks, astericks, and dog ears. It's just one of those books you come back to again and again and again, every time learning something new.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only real hope for sustainability, March 14 2001
By 
Carol Grosser (San Antonio, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice try, but simply not enough, Feb. 1 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Read it, Oct. 15 2013
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars encourage everyone to give it a read if you want to change your environmental outlook, April 10 2012
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This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - Challenges you to think differently, July 9 2009
This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for all Entreprenuers, Jan. 18 2007
By 
David A. Dittmar "Ditty" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Paperback)
This book is absolutely incredible. It is a little thick at times but I think the topic itself is that way. Nonetheless, just keep reading and you will be amazed at the future you can create. I plan to establish and "develop" a landscaping company within the next few years and am using all of the princples in this book to construct its foundation.

I can only hope that there are many more entreprenuers out there who are looking for answers to their business woes; this book is for YOU!

Read, enjoy and let your creativity do the rest!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Resrorative Economy, Feb. 10 2004
This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Paperback)
The Ecology of Commerce is a fascinating book that changes your view on the way business should be run. Using interesting facts and analogies, he describes the restorative economy, a new way to transform buisness to better suit the environment. Incorporating the ideas of others, he presents a good idea of where we are now and where we have to go, and equally distributes responsabilities to business, politics, and citizens as a whole. The book is well written, although it does tend to ramble and jump around at a few places. Hawkin's propositions are probable, if not extremely possible, and could solve many of the problems we face in the everyday world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Line your pockets and your clouds, Dec 26 2002
By 
Daniel Crews (Nashville, TN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Paperback)
As a portfolio manager, teacher, and economist I canb whole-heartedly say this is a must read.
The concept is simple. Everyone has a misconception that profits and capitalism come at the price of environmental destruction. This divides the issue into sides. But it's a myth. We can make money and restore the the biosphere fairly easily. It will create jobs, increase quality in the economy, increase market efficiency, and change our end-of-the-pipe focus on pollution.
The criticism that seems to apear on this book most often is that there is a lack of detail on how to execute a cohesive vision. I think this misses the point. The author does suggest a few macro-level actions in adopting Pigovian taxes and rethinking trade agreements. But for the most part, he makes a good case for things we can do as individuals. No one person will change everything overnight... but we can be a part of the solution.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Visions of a Better Tomorrow, Aug. 22 2002
By 
Adam F. Jewell (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Paperback)
In the current economy we seek to minimize economic costs and maximize profits while ignoring most everything else. Virtually no aspect of the economic equation factors in the true cost of anything - the toll it takes on the environment, the massive amount of energy consumed to maintain our lifestyle, or the biodiversity of the planet, which is continually diminished.
The Ecology of Commerce addresses these issues from both business and environmental points of view. It recognizes there will be immediate, sometimes substantial, economic costs during the transition to a sustainable economy. The point is made, however, that should the strain on the planets resources exceed carrying capacity, the consequences would be devastating.
We don't, and probably can't know the precise limit till we get there. At that point things are likely to get ugly. Really ugly. Paul correctly argues that we need to move toward a sustainable economy that more closely mirrors biological systems. He suggests production processes that begin with the end of the useful life of a product in mind so that waste can easily and continually be recycled into new products.
The book seems to be overly optimistic that business will see the light and move to adopt sustainable business practices. While some are moving in this direction, they are not moving fast enough. As the most powerful nation in the world and the one that uses far more resources than any other in the world, the US must lead the way. Some companies are taking positive steps, but efforts need to increase dramatically.
The Ecology of Commerce is a good start. It lays out the direction in which we need to move. The vision is an economy in which the full economic AND environmental costs are factored into the cost of goods and services. This book lays out where we need to go; now we just need to figure out how to make a smooth transition to get there.
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The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability
The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability by Paul Hawken (Paperback - June 2 1994)
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