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Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose--Doing Business by Respecting the Earth Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312543492
  • ASIN: B003STCQI4
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,216,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1994, after reading Paul Hawken's The Ecology of Commerce, carpet mogul Anderson decided to make his carpet company Interface, established in 1973, the first company to achieve 100 percent sustainability, a massively successful effort that has made him a sought-after business consultant (clients include Walmart) as well as an environmental hero. Sustainability, argues Anderson, makes just as much business sense as it does a liberal crusade, and he even makes absorbing reading out of the process that transformed his operations. Interface developed processes for recycling old carpets, invented a leased carpet program (too much ahead of its time, admits Anderson), utilized the work of indigenous peoples, switched over to solar and other alternative energy sources, reduced water use and contamination, and, in 2007, even managed to achieve negative net greenhouse gas emissions. What is even more impressive is that Interface achieved this globally-not just in the U. S.-while growing profits. Unfortunately, Anderson is far less compelling when he turns his focus from Interface to leadership strategies, stumbling through the banalities of corporate spirituality and the Golden Rule. Still, the story of Anderson's commitment to green practices and the wild success he achieved is fascinating, instructive, and very timely.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Ray Anderson with his team has transformed Interface, Inc. in one of the best cases of sustainability. All employees led by him were committed with the 'climb of Sustainability Mountain', as he says, and believed the challenge was possible. Throughout the book, Anderson reinforces that the concept  'I have financial success or I have environmental success' is not true and I truly believe in it. Besides all the skepticism, he shows us that everybody, from the CEO to the homeowners, can be part of this movement of building a new society. This is the main role of this book: to prove this is possible!"--Fabio Barbosa, President, Grupo Santander Brasil

"Ray Anderson is a personal inspiration for me and for anyone trying to find their way in this new world of green business.  He may be ‘radical’ but he’s also a profit-seeking businessman. Confessions tells an amazing first-hand story of a personal and business transformation, a journey  from being a cold-eyed capitalist to being…a cold-eyed capitalist, but just with a much larger perspective on what profitable really means.  Ray has found a new path that’s good for the planet and great for his business.  He’s showing the world how it’s done yet again."--Andrew Winston, environmental strategist, author of Green Recovery and co-author of Green to Gold

If we had a lot more businessmen like Ray Anderson, the planet would be neither bankrupt or overheated. He is a hero, and this book makes clear why!” --Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

“We are in desperate need of hope in this world, but if hope is to be credible and trustworthy, it has to walk a straight line to reality.  No one does this better than Ray Anderson.” –Paul Hawken, author of Ecology of Commerce, Natural Capitalism, and Blessed Unrest

“Anyone who thinks that business leadership on environmental sustainability is an oxymoron must read Confessions of a Radical Industrialist. In a humble, inspiring and informative manner, Ray Anderson describes his own journey to not just tweak the edges of his business towards green goals but to fundamentally re-think and re-design every aspect of its operations to respect environmental limits.

My only hesitation is that we cannot clone Ray Anderson…or perhaps we can? Let’s hope that Confessions of a Radical Industrialist becomes required reading in all business, industrial design, and economics classes so that our next generation of business leaders continue in the direction that Anderson has begun.” --Annie Leonard, author of The Story of Stuff

"Ray put everything he has built at his company on the line for what he believed and created a model of profitable sustainability and humanity. This tale of how and why is a great story of a good man.  We sure do need more radical industrialists ."--Jonathan Lash, President of World Resources Institute

More About the Author

The story is now legend; the "spear in the chest" epiphany Ray Anderson experienced when he first read Paul Hawken's, "The Ecology of Commerce" seeking inspiration for a speech to an Interface task force on the company's environmental vision. Fifteen years and a sea change later, Interface, Inc., is more than half way to it's target of "Mission Zero," the journey no one would have imagined for the company, or the petroleum-intensive industry of carpet manufacturing, which has been forever changed by Ray's vision. His Georgia-based company, Interface, Inc., was recently ranked number one in a GlobeScan survey of sustainability experts. The once captain of industry has eschewed his luxury car for a Prius and built an off-the-grid home, authored a 1998 book chronicling his epiphany, "Mid-Course Correction," and has a new book chronicling his journey, "Confessions of a Radical Industrialist," published by St. Martin's Press. He has become an unlikely screen hero in the 2004 Canadian documentary, "The Corporation" and was named one of TIME International's "Heroes of the Environment" in 2007. He's a sought after speaker and advisor on all issues eco, including a stint as co-chairman of the President's Council on Sustainable Development and as an architect of the Presidential Climate Action Plan, a 100 day action plan on climate that was presented to the Obama Administration.

Customer Reviews

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The book is super easy to read and has a lot of good information.
KR20
This is definitely a must-read for anyone in the sustainability field, and a good read for anyone interested in improving their business operations.
Mike
I think Interface's and Anderson's transformations are an inspiration for personal change as well.
F. VALDES Perezgasga

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Baker on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Eight years ago, I attended a presentation given by Ray C. Anderson in Ottawa. His demeanour, notably calm, did not get in the way of his message. He did not thump the pulpit like a garden variety demagogue, nor did he machine gun the audience with statistics. Seldom has been the case when I've walked away from a conference speech so impressed by a man given the weight of his words.

As with all essential issues of the day, factions have divided into two opposing groups, neither one seemingly interested in swaying the other's position, as though the only options for climate change are denial or support. The levels of vitriol and obfuscation lower a very necessary debate to the very shameless tactics used to stalemate tobacco, gun control, abortion and gay rights issues. Lost in this bludgeoning of public discourse's most basic principles is the requisite sophistication to step back; to seek a third option.

Mr. Anderson, by virtue of being one of the few - though growing number of - industry leaders to implement a large scale sustainability program, offers an insider's perspective on his company's creative, can-do culture that has made Interface Inc. an irrefutable example of what can be done when the distraction of warring words is set aside; of the focus and determination needed to be at once a profitable as well as environmentally responsible corporate citizen. And as if that wasn't enough, Mr. Anderson gives us an intriguing vision for an overdue overhaul of industrial assumptions seldom challenged or updated since the 18th century.

This book, so important in its description of a comprehensive and sensible approach to industrial sustainability, has garnered so little attention from the mainstream press. Nor have I seen it among bestseller lists.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By greenovation on March 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the most important book for business leaders that I have read in over ten years.

I've heard Ray and many others speak. I've read dozens upon dozens of books on similar topics. I've been to conference after conference. But, rarely have I seen in such plain and clear terms a concrete case for how we can meet the goals of sustainability.

While others tell us what's wrong . . . Ray Anderson shows us how to do it right. And, most importantly, he tells us through experience and proven data how we can profit and do well by doing good. Love this book. It is a must read for anyone in business today.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rug EMT on November 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This provides strong evidence that when upper management gets excited about something other than purely profit-driven business pragmatics, socially- and environmentally-beneficial results occur along with reasonable corporate growth. "Confessions..." nicely rounds out readings such as Esty and Winston's "Green to Gold," McDonough and Braungart's "Cradle to Cradle," and Epstein et al's "Making Sustainability Work...," adding the details of how it can be done from a manufacturing viewpoint (and how hard it is), which is only briefly summarized in the other works and that don't have the personal "been in industry, done it" perspective that Anderson brings. While it's somewhat self-serving (but deservedly) and a little condescending in its treatment of Anderson's competitors, that pales in comparison to the vision that is detailed and how well his company stuck to it. This is a good, can-do kind of road map applicable to driving the cultural change goals that support environmentally sustainabilty, and is straight from the heart of industry.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By F. VALDES Perezgasga on October 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ray Anderson's memoir is a clear and thorough review of his and Interface's (his corporation) journey up Mount Sustainability. Interface is transforming itself from an extension of the petrochemical industry to a truly sustainable corporation aiming at a zero footprint.
I think this memoir illustrates what can be done when you set a seemingly impossible goal and you take it on with intellectual honesty and ingenuity. I think Interface's and Anderson's transformations are an inspiration for personal change as well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Brown on December 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read about Ray Anderson in Natural Capitalism and several other books and articles over the years, so I wasn't sure what more I'd get from reading his book, but it has been a tremendous pleasure to do so. I've found the details of his transformative work at Interface to not only be fascinating from an ecological and business perspective but also to inspire me to look more closely at my own company and how we can transform. If a carpet company can do it, surely an educational company can as well. Thanks to Ray for his vision, his company's tremendous work, and this fantastic book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KR20 on September 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've heard a lot about Interface and Ray Anderson, but never looked much into it. I had to read this book for a class, but I'm glad it was assigned. It also came at a fitting time period with the recent passing of Anderson. The book is super easy to read and has a lot of good information. It's the best way to get a closer look at why Interface is revolutionary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Allytude on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first heard of Ray Anderson in the documentary "The Corporation". He seemed to be well meaning, but I thought it was all talk, till I researched him and found that he was one of the rare breed of people who practice what they preach. If only more business owners were like him- stewards of resources. The book is interesting and a very easy read. I recommend it for every business student.
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