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Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things Paperback – April 22, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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The authors walk the talk by using a non-paper substance for the book's pages that outlast the pages of paper books and can be recycled into other books (not down cycled or discarded). Take this book to the beach; it's waterproof!
The authors make for a powerful partnership William McDonough brings his chemistry background to the subject. Of the tens of thousands of chemicals available, which ones are environmentally friendly? Which ones can be reclaimed and used over and over with minimum down cycling? Michael Braungart is an architect. In The Answer to How is Yes author Peter Block suggests that leaders should pattern themselves after architects (not engineers or economists) who must balance artistic beauty and real world constraints (engineering and financial) in their work. The artistic element keeps the engineer and bean counter from dominating the process, causing unbridled harm. Following the advice of their book, we could begin to use products that were truly elegant - products that would evade birth to death cycles by being suitable for birth to rebirth cycles.
Cradle to Cradle is an important book which condemns current practices while stimulating one's imagination and hope for the future.
--Jack Bender, author of Disregarded: Transforming the School and Workplace Through Deep Respect and Courage
The first thing you notice is that this book is rather heavy compared to normal books its size. This is explained by the authors trying to live their philosophy by creating a book out of a material that can be truly recycled as opposed to current paper which, while it can be reused, requires several unattractive processes and is not endlessly repeatable.
The book makes many other decent arguments for why we should think of products as temporary services rather than things we own and therefore dispose of when we are done. The book makes a case for current recycling (or down-cycling as they call it) measures as being okay - as long as it is thought of as no more than a temporary stop-gap measure to be used while we pursue true technical and regular nutrient recycling.
The only improvement I would like to see is more in-depth examples of how this process has been applied to commercial processes. They kept going back to the same one or two examples and I think there are more out there and I suspect by the time this book in republished there could be even more worthy examples.
Top international reviews
The first half (yes half) of the book could be condensed to just a few pages. It sets out how bad the current way of doing things is, but is extremely depressing (to the point where you start wondering how any of us are still alive!) and in fact just says the same thing in numerous different ways. I think in the entire first half of the book, there were only actually two positive suggestions of what might be done differently, and these were very brief. One was the turf on the roof concept, so nothing new there.
I would suggest just skipping the first half of the book. In summary, what we do now is less than good.
The second half of the book starts to actually outline what the authors suggest as an alternative and the book does improve. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the offerings are highly conceptual in nature rather than actual practical ideas or things that could be implemented. If we could move to cars that functioned like purifying trees, then great, but anyone can suggest that. Actually suggesting some technology that could do this, now that would be something else.
This book should be compulsory reading for every government and industry leader, as well as a core reading on the design curriculums.
Would recommend for students of Industrial / Product Design.
I have read it before but thought I should hold a copy for my kids. The original was plastic and was a concept book.
The reprint though was acceptable and is still a great read. The book challenges cradle to grave thinking in that most production is destined for landfill. The book presents ideas that rather than being green, we need to think of all components to be a resource and to consider properties of the materials involved.