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Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming Our Consumer Culture
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Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming Our Consumer Culture

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The developed world, increasingly aware of “inconvenient truths” about global warming and sustainability, is turning its attention to possible remedies—eco-efficiency, sustainable development, and corporate social responsibility, among others. But such measures are mere Band-Aids, and they may actually do more harm than good, says John Ehrenfeld, a pioneer in the field of ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 23rd 2008 by Yale University Press (first published September 15th 2008)
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Nov 27, 2009 John rated it liked it
I tried hard to like this book. I largely agree with the author's feelings and beliefs about sustainability. He is obviously very intelligent and thought a lot about the subject. The tone the author uses to address his audience is an interesting mix of academic and conversational, which generally feels sloppy, but is also sometimes refreshing when his passion comes through.

My general complaint is there are way too few examples of what he actually means when he talks about "sustainable design". H
Paul Brooks
Mar 05, 2015 Paul Brooks rated it it was amazing
Great look at sustainability without focusing on the ecological sustainability that we are so familliar with. an all encompasing and brilliant whole systems look at our future.
Jun 24, 2012 Litbitch rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
There is some good analysis in here, and a nice theory of suggestions, if few practical ones. At times it was too squishy and emotional for me, but my biggest problem with the book is that his solutions do not rise to his understanding of the fundamental social and economic resistance to change. Our priorities are wrong, our social structure is destructive, and our economic practices are amoral at best, so ... we should design products that make us stop and think for a second before we use them? ...more
Duncan Noble
Nov 03, 2014 Duncan Noble rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a book to reassure you that the transition to a sustainable world will be easy, keep on looking. This book argues that we need to make fundamental changes in the way we see ourselves and our relation to others and to nature. Not an easy read. Probably the deepest dive into the root causes of unsustainability that I have read. Ehrenfeld draws from many disciplines and that is his genius.

This book made me think a lot. And made me question many things. I was already headed in
Sep 22, 2011 Troy rated it liked it
This is a great book, though in my opinion Ehrenfeld takes his analysis a little too far to the philosophical side at times, to be palatable to the lay reader. This works against the powerful message of his book as he will likely be dismissed as the stereotypical tree-hugging, granola-eating leftie often associated with the field. That said, I think such philosophical considerations are certainly necessary to fully understand the idea or principle of sustainability, and I came away from this rea ...more
Sep 21, 2012 Kannan rated it really liked it
Shelves: sustainability
This was a difficult read and the longest I took to read 200-odd pages. But I guess scholars and academicians have the license to indulge and be abstract. This book will make you work and you may have to transcend levels to follow the author's thought process.

The author makes a compelling, logical case for the need for a holistic approach to sustainability.

It was totally worth it, and I have become a fan of the author and follow his blog at
Alexander Tomes
Sep 02, 2012 Alexander Tomes rated it really liked it
This was the very first book I read as I was beginning my adventures as an environmental scientist. I will say, it sparks a large amount of interest in me as I pursued many projects on sustainability. It's a great read. Very readable (I was a freshman in undergrad).
Jun 29, 2012 Carolyn rated it liked it
A bit repetitive and abstract, but an introduction of sorts.
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