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Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World Paperback – September 27, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Sustainable Excellence provides an insightful window into the intersection of business and environment. Companies that take to heart the lessons Aron Cramer and Zach Karabell provide will be well positioned as natural resource constraints reshape the business landscape.” ―Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy
“Essential reading for any business aiming to understand how they can turn sustainability into opportunity.” ―Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and author of The Long Tail and Free
“The Must-Read Book.” ―Alice Korngold, Fast Company.com
“A smart, readable, and provocative book that argues that business success in the long run will be earned by companies that ‘integrate consideration of society and the environment into their DNA.' ... This book gives us a reason for optimism, as well as a framework to understand the dramatic changes reshaping the corporate world.” ―Marc Gunther, contributing writer to Fortune magazine and author of Faith and Fortune
“A compelling case for why a focus on sustainability ... is now a form of enlightened self-interest for businesses. ... An increasing vigilance by the business and investor community could play a big role in striking a new balance. Sustainable Excellence represents a major--and much needed--step in that direction.” ―AOL's Daily Finance
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Top Customer Reviews
Based on that definition I was looking forward to reading about how a company accomplishes each of these goals. I am reviewing this book from that perspective a business person who gets the sustainability message and is interested in what excellence looks like and how I might be able bring that to my company.
Unfortunately rather than a book that looks to explain how companies are sustainable and profitable, the book quickly becomes more of an extended press release engaging in name dropping and high level descriptions that offer little value to the reader looking to understand how to achieve sustainable excellence. Cramer and Karabell call this parlor games when companies do it, so without being disrespectful I have to say that they do the same with this book when viewed from a business perspective.
This book may be well received by the sustainability community, but its impact will remain within this community as there is little here to educate and encourage executives and managers to go much beyond the `parlor games' of press announcements, incremental improvement and differed structural change.
This book could have been the seminal call for serious business change playing a role similar to Hammer and Champy's Re-engineering the Corporation.Read more ›
The authors contend that sustainability has become the defining factor in business success. This does not negate the necessity for excellence in other business practices. And profit is still a necessary goal of business. However, in today's business environment of rapid change, corporations need to commit to sustainability. This means delivering value to a wider circle of stakeholders, using natural resources wisely, and treating people fairly. Business leaders need to transform the way they think about the purpose of business and how it is conducted.
Transformation is not easy as illustrated by the examples throughout the book. The authors do not minimize the challenges. Corporate failures as well as successes are discussed. The lessons to be learned in either case are highlighted.
This book is a great place to start for an introduction about the role of business in ensuring environmental sustainability. It provides an overview of what needs to be done and what companies are currently doing or not doing to achieve sustainable excellence. Readers seeking a detailed how-to manual will be disappointed.Read more ›
Aron Cramer and Zachary Karabell provide an interesting exploration of companies who have embraced a culture of sustainability. The examples are interesting and to a certain extent, it fosters the idea that sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive.
While the book has its moments, it has several key weaknesses:
1) The authors focus on businesses that have already "drunk the sustainability Kool-Aid." This is not a criticism of the concept, but rather a desire to have seen more focus on how companies which have hitherto not acted under the sustainable model, can begin the process. Many companies find the notion of sustainability so overwhelming that they are discouraged from even beginning the process.
2) There is a judgmental "all or nothing," "success or failure," "black or white" approach. I have worked with businesses who wish to act as good corporate citizens, but feel as if the "sustainability advocacy" has no room for the realities of business. Recognizing that sustainability is both a goal and a process is something that needs to be promoted in order to reduce the often adversarial pressures existing as businesses seek to evolve.
That being said, the book provides a good introduction to an understanding of the "sustainable" side and what constitutes good social responsibility. If only it provided more guidance to those earnestly seeking the means to sustainable excellence in measures consistent with often diverse corporate objectives.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was dissapointed it had white stinky stuff all over the front :( I didn't realize how damaged it was.Published 19 months ago by brittney
THIS BOOK NOT ONLY OFFERS VALUABLE INSIGHT TO THE WORKINGS OF THE CORPORATE WORLD, IT ALSO OFFERS HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. Read morePublished on August 22, 2011 by i cramer
I found Sustainable Excellence an excellent overview of many of the innovators in thinking about the challenges facing their industry and the planet. Read morePublished on December 7, 2010 by Bernie Kelly, Intelog Healthcare
This is a must read for anyone who wants to know where business is headed--and how to be at the forefront of innovation. Read morePublished on November 16, 2010 by Amon Rappaport
This is an insightful, provocative, and terrifically readable book, which provides a window onto the environmental and social challenges faced by both business leaders and citizens... Read morePublished on November 13, 2010 by Clare Record