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Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto Hardcover – July 6, 2009
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...useful and refreshingly nondoctrinaire book...tells vivid and interlocked stories that stick in the brain. --Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The author's frustration at not being able to persuade New Orleans' leaders of the risks of a hurricane inspired this book. I appreciate the passion. However, I came away confused, feeling that perhaps the passion was driving his writing faster than he could evaluate what actually reached the page; that perhaps there were more thoughts behind the words than were actually communicated by the ink on the paper.
p7: "Innovate differently, and win, or continue to innovate narrowly, and lose." Has Werbach not read The Innovator's Dilemma? "Innovating differently" is an enormous challenge to established companies and isn't going to be solved by exhortation.
p. 20: "Nature obsesses over protecting its young." No, only for some vertebrates. Not for oysters, or pine trees, or any of the bazillion R-strategist species, which have better survival profiles in unstable environments than the K-strategists that invest heavily in gestation and nuturing babies.
p. 20: "Integrate metrics. Nature brings the right information to the right place at the right time. When a tree needs water, the leaves curl." Huh? This is the place where I began to wonder whether there was some major additional thinking behind the words because the words didn't make sense to me. How on earth are curling leaves metrics information to the tree? Curling leaves are a survival "behavior," and perhaps metrics to someone with a watering can. But I don't water trees...
(There's actually a whole lot more on this particular page that leaves me scratching my head, pondering how the author's view of nature-as-business-model is different from mine.Read more ›
If you are a business executive with a disposition to sustainability, this book will speak to you and is a must read. He does a pretty good job comparing his perspective to other thinking, such as that of Jim Collins (Built to Last, Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall).
But he opens with an anecdote of how he couldn't reach the leadership in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina and he feels professional regret about not being able to frame his argument in a way it would be received.
I think that's noble and he has tried very hard to be persuasive--speaking in the language of the receiver--in this book, but he almost overly does so, pulling every business and societal buzzword (down to transparency) as conditions to be successful in meeting business and sustainability goals. Heck, actually, sustainability itself is a buzzword these days.
So, what comes out is a well-thought thesis for action, and, despite my headline, a potential roadmap. But, it's potential in that it is theoritical. I think he knows this--hence, the "Manifesto," in the subtitle. "Manifesto" worked for Jerry McGuire, though, and this author evokes similar passion.
Temper your expectations, and I think you'll be impressed with the book and retain--even apply--many of the ideas. Look to this at the ultimate prescription for sustainability in business, and you'll be disappointed.
* Diversify across generations
* Adapt to the changing environment
* Celebrate transparency
* Plan and execute systematically, not compartmentally.
* Integrate metrics
* Improve with each cycle
* Right-size regularly, rather than downsize occasionally
* Foster longevity, not immediate gratification
* waste nothing
Unfortunately his organization could use some work. His best definition of sustainability actually comes in the conclusion of the book! (Sustainability means meeting your needs now, while not compromising your ability to meet your needs in the future). There are also a few acronyms he invents that he doesn't define until after they've been used.
The most glaring omission in the book is that while he has loads of examples and ideas, he focuses almost exclusive on the manufacturing sector of the economy, and ignores the service sector. He does mention that his ideas can be applied to the service sector too, but it would be nice to see him give more than just lip service to that notion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very informative and powerful book on developing and maintaining a strategy. However, I could have done without all of the name dropping (listing companies) in the book.Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
interesting and informative, I have learnt a lot from this bookPublished 17 months ago by Kerrie Pickering
Good book that teaches you about corporate social responsibility! Keeps the readers engaged. Would recommend it to all MBA students.Published 24 months ago by Lulu
Excellent book and perfect for businesses wanting to transition to a new sustainable strategy. This will give businesses an added "jolt" and edge to their businesses... Read morePublished on March 12, 2014 by Sondra
The development of corporate strategy shold starts from thinking the shared value with society.
This book will be usuful for such way of thinking.
Used this book in grad school in the senior capstone course in an organizational leadership program. Read morePublished on September 21, 2013 by Michelle Schaefbauer
Bought this book for my son who attends a Summer Course on Business Sustainability for High-School students. It came on time and nicely packaged. Read morePublished on July 15, 2013 by Zomas T.
While I'm not an activist in any way I am a fan of Adam Werbach's passion.
Several reviews mention this is not a roadmap or organized guide to sustainabilty & they're... Read more
Adam Werbach, the Global CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S, offers an exceptionally clear, appealing explanation of how sustainable business practices are not only morally good but also... Read morePublished on August 28, 2012 by Rolf Dobelli