Can American business assume a green mantle? Yes, assure Freeman, Pierce, and Dodd. Will they? Not until enough individuals...

ENVIRONMENTALISM AND THE NEW LOGIC OF BUSINESS

HOW FIRMS CAN BE PROFITABLE AND LEAVE OUR CHILDREN A LIVING PLANET

Freeman (Business/Univ. of Virginia), Pierce (Medicine/Univ. of Nebraska), and business consultant Dodd argue that US business must not content itself with meeting environmental standards mandated by the state: it must instead assume a leadership role in the struggle for conservation.

Progressive environmental practices are more than just a question of ethics, suggest the authors—they make for long-term profits. By melding business needs with environmental concerns and a principled stance, companies tap into employees’ innovative capacities: they thus have something at stake (namely, the world their children will live in) other than employer profits, and will be motivated to exceed standards. Such a business needn’t espouse deep ecology (though it could do that, too, as Patagonia has): it could assume a green image as it meets the market’s demands for better and cheaper products, or it could mirror the environmental preferences of its stakeholders. It might simply trumpet it abroad that it meets government standards—there are many shades of green, after all. How to get started? Probably not with the painfully superficial outline of contemporary environmental thought that Freeman, Pierce, and Dodd rather unhelpfully provide. Their strong suit is a clear ethical framework (read: we are responsible for our actions and our actions have environmental effects), yet their defense of capitalism’s decency and promise rings hollow: “If firm A invents a product or improves a product firm B depends on, firm B is not destroyed; rather, it creates yet another innovation.” This has an unsatisfying sound. Ultimately, we are told, “taking action to ensure a future for our children is up to each of us as individuals. Without individual commitment and concern, societal institutions will always provide too little, too late.” In a sense this puts us back to square one.

Can American business assume a green mantle? Yes, assure Freeman, Pierce, and Dodd. Will they? Not until enough individuals demand it.

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-19-508093-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2000

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Unsentimental nature writing that sheds as much light on humans as on eels.

THE BOOK OF EELS

OUR ENDURING FASCINATION WITH THE MOST MYSTERIOUS CREATURE IN THE NATURAL WORLD

An account of the mysterious life of eels that also serves as a meditation on consciousness, faith, time, light and darkness, and life and death.

In addition to an intriguing natural history, Swedish journalist Svensson includes a highly personal account of his relationship with his father. The author alternates eel-focused chapters with those about his father, a man obsessed with fishing for this elusive creature. “I can’t recall us ever talking about anything other than eels and how to best catch them, down there by the stream,” he writes. “I can’t remember us speaking at all….Because we were in…a place whose nature was best enjoyed in silence.” Throughout, Svensson, whose beat is not biology but art and culture, fills his account with people: Aristotle, who thought eels emerged live from mud, “like a slithering, enigmatic miracle”; Freud, who as a teenage biologist spent months in Trieste, Italy, peering through a microscope searching vainly for eel testes; Johannes Schmidt, who for two decades tracked thousands of eels, looking for their breeding grounds. After recounting the details of the eel life cycle, the author turns to the eel in literature—e.g., in the Bible, Rachel Carson’s Under the Sea Wind, and Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum—and history. He notes that the Puritans would likely not have survived without eels, and he explores Sweden’s “eel coast” (what it once was and how it has changed), how eel fishing became embroiled in the Northern Irish conflict, and the importance of eel fishing to the Basque separatist movement. The apparent return to life of a dead eel leads Svensson to a consideration of faith and the inherent message of miracles. He warns that if we are to save this fascinating creature from extinction, we must continue to study it. His book is a highly readable place to begin learning.

Unsentimental nature writing that sheds as much light on humans as on eels.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296881-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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