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Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  683 ratings  ·  123 reviews
The bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership now brings us Ecological Intelligence—revealing the hidden environmental consequences of what we make and buy, and how with that knowledge we can drive the essential changes we all must make to save our planet and ourselves.

We buy “herbal” shampoos that contain industrial chemicals that can threaten our
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by Doubleday (Random House) (first published January 1st 2009)
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I really enjoyed this one and had a hard time putting it down! Goleman writes about how "green" really isn't "green." We may think we are buying green, but he says that nothing made industrially can be utterly green, only relatively more so. He talks about how "freegans" are green, as they try never to buy anything new, try not to drive, etc. Not a way of life that most of us will live, especially when it comes to food.

Good Guide is evaluating a lot of the chemicals found in the products we use
Montanna Wildhack
Two recommended apps for concerned consumers: Skin Deep for personal hygiene products and Good Guide for everything else. The triple bottom line is evaluated: toxicity, social responsibility and environmental responsibility.

Otherwise, here's what stands out in this book: notions of life-cycle assessments (LCAs), the triple bottom line (health, society, environment), and most of all radical transparency - the notion that if we had more information available at point of purchase, we would make be
Honestly, after this, I feel ashamed of making ANY purchase (including local, organic vegetarian foods)! Believing I'm a conscientious shopper has apparently only been vanity on my part. No matter how much I keep my lights off, turn my heat down, take public transit, refrain from making frivolous purchases, and don't contribute to population growth, it's not enough. I feel discouraged by this book.

There is a lot of information contained in the book and it could be well used to fuel the fire for
If individual readers and businesses haven't heard previously about Life Cycle Assessment, radical transparency, and websites like Good Guides and Skin Deep, this book is worth a look.

Toxins accumulating in the environment and our bodies could be a depressing topic, but the author presents a hopeful message and a vision of how to move forward to improve things.

Some changes have, in fact, already begun using information technology and consumer power. More change is on the horizon to give indi
I really liked the treatment of incremental improvements:

"Finally, are radical transparency and all its incremental improvements enough? The adequacy of perpetual upgrades alone was questioned from a surprising source: John Ehrenfeld, the executive director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology. One of the founders of the field, Ehrenfeld fears that in terms of the massive challenges facing our planet, these gradual improvements may be too little, too late. Ehrenfeld points out tha
Warning: not for the faint of heart. The more I read books like this, and start thinking about the thousands of environmental effects connected to even the simplest of everyday activities, the harder it gets to live in the world. Although a little redundant at times, Goleman presents critical information and ideas about how we can start moving toward a less toxic, more sustainable world. I especially appreciated the section on how many modern diseases, including autism, COPD, multiple sclerosis ...more
Jul 08, 2010 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ramblerjessica
This book is a must-read for every consumer! The author talks about how we really don’t have a transparent marketplace – meaning that we really don’t know the labor force that goes into making our products and the true carbon cost of items since companies hide this information and we don’t do our best to look for it. If we did, we could make wiser decisions as consumers. Goleman talks about how this is changing and how to support the change.

One of the BEST things I learned in this book is to go
William Crosby
I found this book to be very fascinating and enlightening.

The basic premise: if we knew the hidden impacts of our buying/selling, we could be better shoppers and shapers of a more positive, resilient, ecology-friendly future.

Has many concepts that are new to me: Industrial ecology, radical transparency, Life Cycle Assessment. All of these evaluate the interconnections between a product and the environment in various stages.

The author points out, because of the complexities of production and the
There are some good ideas in this book. The author's basic concept is as follows: Unbiased organizations are beginning to rate the ecological and social practices involved in a particular manufacturer's production of a specific items. For example, a T shirt produced by a company that uses little water, returns any unused water to streams in pristine condition and pays workers an adequate salary to live on, would rate much higher on both social and ecological considerations than one from a compan ...more
Alexandre Klaser
O livro apresenta vários insights bastante interessantes sobre a questão da ecologia. Por exemplo, não é o mundo que precisa ser consertado e sim a nossa relação com o mundo, pois quando falamos que "o mundo pode acabar" significa o fim da maneira em que é possível para que humanos habitem nele.

Outra perspectiva bastante interessante de ecologia é não pensar tanto em ecossistemas e suas disfunções sem lembrar que isso também significa a saúde, equilíbrio e consciência de cada ser humano. Isso le
As I picked it up at the library having not carefully reading the subtitle, I thought if was more along the lines of Gardner's multiple intelligences, so it was quite a bit different from what I was expecting. That being said, generally the topic interests me so I kept reading. He makes a case for "radical transparency" (making clear the environmental and social impact of goods), but I don't have his faith that making such a database will massively impact peoples' spending habits. Some of the th ...more
Daniel Goleman’s, Ecological Intelligence: The Hidden Impacts of What We Buy explains why we buy what we buy. It offers some intriguing ideas on current and future trends that may influence us to put more emphasis on buying products that are good for people and the planet.

A glance at the list of chapters is sure to pique your interest with names like, “’Green’ is a Mirage,” “Twitter and Buzz,””The New Math,” and my favorite “The Amygdala Goes Shopping.”

Goleman mixes brain science, psychology, an
I probably would not have picked this book up ad Goleman's name not already carried some positive sentiment from me reading his articles in the Harvard Business Review and a management book I read as an assignment from a previous employer.

I thought the opening salvo of the book sounded heavy handed and contrived, I thought Goleman did an excellent job logically walking through his concerns about businesses and consumers, sharing interesting information on psychology and neuroscience along the wa
In an age where eutrophication matters as much as Earnings Per Share and Biosphere takes precedence over Balance Sheet, corporates across the globe have an explicit responsibility towards making Earth a more sustainable, secure and safe Planet. Daniel Goleman in a paradigm shift from his earlier works on behavioural theories, elucidates both the benefits of a Corporations responsible behaviour and the perils of sheer impertinence, ignorance and inaction. Drawing on examples from hazards such as ...more
Jackie G
If you're going to live in this world and buy things: you should read this book. That should cover just about everyone existing as a proper member of society. Let's face it, it's vital to know what we buy and where it comes from. This book is a necessary read for both people who are trying to live a 'green life' and for those who are simply living. Goleman crafts a compelling piece of work here that lets the public in on a few industry secrets. This is the book to read if you care to understand ...more
At first I wondered why am reading this book as it seemed a all for "green living" pitch vs a book I can take something from on the way how we think like Daniel's other books

But as it progressed it fast became just as good and like a traditional "food for thought" insuring book like the others of his I like

Beyond just advice on how we think and buy products - it taught me too a lot and important reminder about how toxicity is everywhere in regards to what we touch, breathe, eat and even wear or
I liked the topic more than the book. The book did provide significant useful and interesting information about the difficulty in understanding the environmental impact of the things we consume, and the efforts to more systematically analyze those impacts, then reduce them. I particularly enjoyed learning of studies indicating that about 2/3 of consumers do care about the social and environmental impact of what they buy but don't have the time, inclination or wherewithal to do their own research ...more
Want to learn how some sunscreens have chemicals that turn to carcinogens when exposed to the sun? Want to learn how your buying habits affect you, the environment and the rest of the world? Read, or listen to, this book.

This book or audio book is a great learning tool for anyone that wants to learn about the products we buy. The purpose of "Ecological Intelligence" is to educate the reader (or listener, in my case) about the things we use, are exposed to, buy and consume every day. Daniel Gole
The title includes, "..How knowing the hidden impacts of what we buy can change everything." So when I picked up the book I was expecting it to tell me a plastic water bottle is better than the aluminum water bottle. But, that's not true, it turns out to be a very fuzzy line. The plastic may use less energy to create and use many toxic chemicals to produce but the aluminum could be recycled at the end of its use but the energy used to make it is so very high, is it worth it? He explains what a L ...more
From Publishers Weekly

Two years ago, British fashion designer Anna Hindmarch produced the must-have accessory of the season: a bleached, organic cotton tote manufactured in fair-wage factories, subsidized with carbon offsets and emblazoned with the slogan, I'm NOT a plastic bag. But according to Goleman (_Emotional Intelligence_), the people who bought the bag were advertising their ecological ignorance, not their consciousness. In this thorough examination of the inconsistencies and delusions

Mutlu Cankay
Ünlü psikolog ve yazar, farkındalık yaratılmasına yardımcı olacağını düşündüğü bir örnekle, günlük hayattan kişisel bir anekdotla metnine giriş yapmış. Endüstriyel sistemlerin ekolojik sistemlere benzer olduğunu belirten yazar, pazar şeffaflığı üzerinde durmuş ve saklı etiket kavramını açıklamış. Bireysel bilinçlenmenin önemine dikkat çekmiş. Medyada sıkça karşılan tarımsal ilaç ve gübrelerin yeraltı sularına sızması gibi örnekler vererek piyasaya hakim olan " Yeşil badana" kavramına dikkat çekm ...more
So after 'reading' this book for about a year, today I finally finished it.

I picked up this book for a song in the 'closing down' sale of Borders. It sounded right up my alley. I've started it about 14 times and never made it past chapter 7, but today I decided to devote my plane journey to it and I'm glad to say its finally finished.

The premise is simple, we consume too much, we consume wastefully and we consume irrationally. The book doesn't really cover the first point but for the latter 2 it
Fidelis Satriastanti
Me LOVE this book! This is a MUST-READ for people who are concern about health, environment, activism, or entrepreneurship. It's an eye-opener, especially on my personal account. The book present a simple argument : radical transparency on our everyday life. I have finally learned on how 'to save the environment' in the simplest way. But, also to care more about my health which connects directly on how I treat environment.

The book provide information on how we can contribute to save the earth us
Erin Noble
Goleman uses his impressive grasp of informational and social trends to argue for the role of radical transparency* as an environmental savior. While I learned from his descriptions of informational web programs like the Good Guide** and Earthster***, Ecological Intelligence comes off as more of a cheerleading routine than a critical analysis than.

Consider this quote from p. 246: "This informational fix hasbeen a missing piece in the free market system all along, one that holds the promise of en
Bradley Jarvis
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon David
A fantastic primer on ecological intelligence, Goleman arms the reader with language from which to begin thinking about their relationship to the living and natural environment, and society at large, especially in terms of our consumption-oriented, growth-centered society. Although interconnected with concepts of sustainability, Goreman discusses more than the triple bottom line of social, economic and environmental goals, and more than meeting today's needs without confounding future goals. He ...more
I found this book to be repetitive at the beginning and pretty depressing. As I continued reading I was appreciative of information about links such as GoodGuide which consumers can use to help make decisions about what they purchase based on a number of parameters.
"GoodGuide can evaluate a company's policies, its disclosure of key information on products, and ultimately a company's impacts on consumers, workers, communities, and the environment."

Warning: GoodGuide can eat up a lot of your time.
Brian Sullivan
Daniel Goleman's Ecological Intelligence reminds us that that cheap toy car may be brightly coloured by lead with a long lasting ecological cost born on an individual and community level.

He sets out to make the "radical trasparency" of our consumer choice a reality. Beginning with Coca Cola's 1960's Life Cycle Assessment methodology (used to assess the impact of glass and plastic bottles) he show it is not as clear cut as we would like.

That organic pesticide T-Shirt - wonderfully unpolluting -
I share Daniel Goleman's goal of "radical transparency", which I call "deprivacy", that trend--voluntary or otherwise--toward increased transparency through the use of information technology. Businesses and individuals, governments and non-profits, will increasingly ask themselves the extent to which they are revealing information, whether the flow can be stopped, and whether their competitive advantage is tied to increasing the flow or lessening the stream.

Goleman's thesis seems to be on page
I think the title is a good theme for the environmental movement as it transitions into the 21st Century. To try and sum up in a couple sentences: Goleman describes how, within the capitalist global economic institution we've essentially got in place today, a new value order known as "radical transparency" (i.e., mostly via "an informed consumer") will provide the essential piece to uncover the impacts of external costs and benefits on our ecological systems create sustainable "virtuous cycles" ...more
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Author of Emotional Intelligence and psychologist Daniel Goleman has transformed the way the world educates children, relates to family and friends, and conducts business. The Wall Street Journal ranked him one of the 10 most influential business thinkers.

Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times best sellers list for a year-and-a-half. Named one of the 25 "Most Influential Busine
More about Daniel Goleman...
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence Working with Emotional Intelligence

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