No Impact Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

No Impact Man

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  2,656 ratings  ·  531 reviews
The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process

A guilty liberal finally snaps, swears off plastic, goes organic, becomes a bicycle nut, turns off his power, and generally becomes a tree-hugging lunatic who tries to save the polar bears and the rest of the planet from environme...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about No Impact Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about No Impact Man

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanSilent Spring by Rachel CarsonThe Backyard Homestead by Carleen MadiganFarm City by Novella Carpenter
best sustainability
10th out of 147 books — 173 voters
The Happiness Project by Gretchen RubinThe Year of Living Biblically by A.J. JacobsAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertThe Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
A Year in the Life
17th out of 128 books — 218 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Trena
Nov 16, 2009 Trena rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Environmentalists In Need of an Energy Boost
Recommended to Trena by: DCPL New Books Shelf
I expected to kind of hate Colin Beavan, but actually the book really sucked me in. He recognizes that one of his main challenges as a person is a tendency toward self-righteousness, and this consciousness helps him temper the tendency when it crops up. He comes across as earnest and likeable, just doing the best he can and making it up as he goes along like the rest of us.

It was an interesting experiment and he and his family fully committed to it. It's also interesting that it's basically an e...more
Ciara
it's kind of amazing to me that this book doesn't have more one-star reviews, considering how insufferable it was. i went on a jag a couple of months ago, where i read every eco-gimmick book out there, almost all of which were dreadful. i put this one on hold at the library during that time & then forgot about it & moved on to better books. when the library let me know the book was in & waiting for me, i felt a pang of dread. i didn't go in expecting the book to be any great shakes,...more
Erica
Simply awful, pretentious and obnoxious. Colin Beavan is milking the environmental movement, trying to make a quick buck off the green buzz. If the author is any indication of the caliber of person currently trying to change the world, please, thanks, but no thanks.
Christopher
If you stop to read about the environment or even just to think about the way we use the world, the thought that we're totally screwed is unavoidable. In our lust for power and comfort, we have created an unsustainable system of consuming. I don't even need data support this* - if you burn and destroy and throw away, eventually you're going to run out of stuff to burn, destroy, and throw away.

This guy Colin Beavan realizes this and furthermore realizes that he is a hypocrite for realizing this a...more
Erika
What a disaster of a book. Conceived by its publishers, the book is meant to discuss the author's year-long project in personal environmentalism. Rather than a helpful how-to, or even an informed philosophical treatise, it is (as the title suggests) a series of personal rants and revelations by a person who has recently found a cause. Lacking any sort of expertise or credibility, Beavan comes off as both obnoxious and pretentious, leaving readers to wonder at the narrator's apparent immaturity a...more
jess
Jan 23, 2010 jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
This book has been hot in the eco-blogosphere for a while now. I missed the documentary when it came to Olympia, but I thought I should read the book anyway. There was a long wait at the library, so I experienced plenty of build-up and hype. This book brought out some strong feelings and opinions that I didn't realize I was harboring. I spent some time working through my assumptions. I was really irritated - what an arrogant, presumptuous, hyperbolic, self-serving premise for a book! Doesn't the...more
Margaret
No Impact Man by Colin Beavan was a required summer reading text for my university honors program. While this is a good introduction to examining the consumerism and materialism that currently pervades American consumption culture, the science and claims made in this book are shaky.

That being said, the data for anthropogenic climate change and the unsustainable practices of the modern industrialized society as conducted by the United States are facts. There is plenty of scientifically collected...more
Rachel
So really two things are happening here - the Project and the Book. I give the Project an A. Learning to live without so many of our modern conveniences - most of which depend on waste or environmental devastation of some sort - is fascinating. Can we live comfortable lives without harming the earth and contributing to climate change? Beavan's experience reveals that comfort and happiness are possible - even abundant - in a life free of waste, except that things start to suck when you give up el...more
Amanda
Now I scrammed this book off my brother, because it seemed fairly interesting. One man, one family, trying to be as eco friendly as they can be, without fully taking everything out of their life. The entire book was actually a revelation or revolution change in my mind, since Colin is trying to be that one person who goes beyond the statement, if no one else does this, why am I? There are plently of people who try to cut down on produced waste and using less plastic and taking certain foods from...more
David
highly engaging report of a year author, his wife, and his daughter lived in NYC trying to have absolutely minimal environmental impact -- eating only locally grown foods, creating no trash, not using electricity, no TV, not traveling by plane or car or train, not buying anything new, not taking the elevator, etc. etc. etc.

Interesting from the points of view of..

(a) problem solving -- e.g., some trial and error on how to keep his daughter's milk cold without using refrigerator

(b) interpersonal r...more
Maya
It's my own fault. I picked this up thinking I would hate it because of the title, yet I checked it out and read it anyway. I almost gave it two stars because I want to shoulder part of the blame, but that doesn't excuse how bad this book was.

Author just annoyed the hell out of me through the entire book. If you're actually encouraging people to make these kinds of changes, why not explain what you're doing instead of using toilet paper rather than getting angry about it when people ask questio...more
Susie
Not going to lie, I never would have picked this book up had it not been for the fact my college required it (as a common reading assignment for all incoming first years). I appreciate what the author did and how he tries to motivate his readers to do the same (but less extreme version). At the very least the author managed to make me uncomfortable with my life style, but that is not why I gave this book three stars. Three stars because frankly I just hated the writing style. I wished for more d...more
Helen (Helena/Nell)
I knew this book would make me uncomfortable. I was right.

It was uncomfortable in a good way, though. It made me think, which is what Beavan intended. And it will do more than just make me think: I know I’m going to change some things in my life as a result of reading it (how often do we say that of a book?).

Obviously the drawback to the huge challenge of sustainability is that when faced with the reality, we feel overwhelmed. What’s the point? What difference can we, as individuals, possibly...more
LibraryCin
Colin Beavan decided to do an extreme environmental challenge, and his wife and little girl were included in the challenge. For one year (though they brought each challenge in in stages, so it wasn't the entire thing all year), they would try to produce no trash, eat sustainably, not buy new things (though second-hand was ok), live without electricity and more. He wanted to see what concessions might even make them happier.

I am impressed! A lot of my friends think I'm extreme, but I wish I could...more
Katherine
This book really opened my eyes to how wasteful our culture has become. Although I recycle as much as possible, this is just a blip in what needs to be done.
The author spends one year trying to change his way of living to not leave any carbon footprint on our world. Each month he added new ways to become more Eco-friendly. He started with not buying anything in packaging, which was a lot harder than he expected. From there he added walking or biking instead of using cars or any other fuel burnin...more
Stringy
Less a how-to or an examination of environmental science, this is more of a why-to, an exploration of what's in it for you. Beavan's one-year stunt isn't about an earnest hippy going that extra mile, it's about your average concerned citizen realising that he's got to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

So he gives himself, his wife and daughter a huge challenge, realises it's a bit insane, and forges ahead anyway. It's about his efforts to reduce his hypocrisy as well as his eco-footprint....more
Jen
Amazing. This was one of the most honest books I have read in a long time and was what I really needed to read at this point in my life. I had seen it on sale at a bookstore in the fall and figured I would pick it up--the title and the materials used to make the book were enough to convince me. And I am so glad I did.

I picked up the book on Saturday morning this last weekend as a favor to my supervisor who was looking for a book that she could use for her freshman course in the fall and I couldn...more
Mary Harley
I liked this book more than I thought I would - I was expecting to be annoyed by some super-hero wannabe who was completely off the environmental deep end (even more than Alice's Amish Sister!).
Instead, this blog-turned-book is a lot more humble about mistakes made, picking up and trying again to leave less of a footprint on the earth. The author, Colin Beavan, admits that he is naturally prone to criticizing other people's wastefulness and one day decides to just try to make a difference himsel...more
Kelly
Thanks to this book, I have a new favorite phrase: automotive-related polar bear drowning. What better way to describe global warming, really?

This is a funny, honest and thought provoking story of one man who decides to see if he, along with this "Prada-wearing" wife and one year old daughter, can live a zero-impact life in New York City for a year. The family goes from eating take out every night and having the best luxuries to living without trash, taxis, subways, elevators, TV, chemical prod...more
Jennifer
Sep 21, 2010 Jennifer rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
I had to read this book for work as I am a college instructor. So, I expected that I would have to slog through it as I normally do with the "freshman common book." I was pleasantly surprised to find Beavan to be relatable, talented, and far from pedantic. Beavan's narration is witty and funny, and, best of all, he acknowledges the extreme nature of his experiment. He's not advocating that we all adopt his temporary lifestyle. He's advocating that we all think about our choices and their effects...more
Sarah
I got about halfway through and then decided to check in with good reads before potentially wasting another minute on this. As someone who doesn't own paper towels, gave up meat 15 yrs ago, tampons 10 years ago, started vermicomposting 5 years ago, and would have never even considered disposable diapers, this book was ridiculously elementary. As I read through his major philosophical breakthroughs I kept half expecting him to have a Eureka! moment where he realizes he should turn off the lights...more
Beth Bonini
I feel like I should make a personal disclosure about this book: Colin's wife, Michelle, is a friend of mine. Although I'm interested in environmental issues, I probably wouldn't have read this without the personal connection; but having said that, I'm glad that I did.

If you want a how-to guide, this probably isn't your best choice. Although Colin Beavan does describe some specific details about the (often drastic) lifestyle changes he and his family made, the book is fairly philosophical in ton...more
Jillian
Sep 06, 2011 Jillian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jillian by: Kyle
No Impact Man is the story of a family of three trying to make as little environmental impact as possible for a year: eat only local food, take only human-powered transportation, buy no brand new products, live without electricity, produce no trash (which means no paper products, disposable items, food that come in packaging...) etc. They make a few exceptions, but it’s still an impressive and extreme project. As the subtitle explains, Colin starts as a “guilty Liberal” who doesn’t do much for t...more
Mo Tipton
In spite of the gross "guilty liberal" subtitle business, I'm enjoying this book more than I thought I would. There's something appealing about Beavan's honesty, even when I'm sometimes baffled as to how an adult human being could be so completely clueless about things that seem pretty common sense from where I'm standing. Example: He spends a couple of hours in search of a mesh shopping bag, because he saw or imagined--can't remember--people in France using them at the open stall markets, and a...more
Sapote3
I often find that I'm most influenced by books I hated (that Positivity book is another one) or books where I find the research spotty but the idea strong. I think there are some really good things about this book: the author is an ecoschlub who is not already awash in tips and tricks but rather has to start from the ground up (handkerchiefs exist, and you can't grow coffee in New York.) He lives in a city and doesn't apologize for it, which I appreciate - I'm sick of people acting like driving...more
Andrea
Aug 16, 2009 Andrea rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers interested in life on earth, how to live a happier life, the environment
Shelves: environment
There have been a lot of books lately in which the author gives up some modern convenience (or some combination of them) for some period of time. Some of them are pretty awful. But Beavan manages to be both humble and even occasionally funny while narrating his family's attempt to make the smallest negative environmental impact possible while living in New York City and maintaining their usual social commitments, work etc. This is an inspiring book and, while I consider myself to be a "not-that...more
Lex
I picked this book to read after watching the documentary of the same name. Both are excellent and different enough to check out both. While the documentary shows more the personal and emotional aspects, the book goes deeper into the family's background, personal difficulties, and breaks down the stats of climate change into easily digestible facts and figures. It is also frank about successes and failures of all sorts. Beavan makes no secret that he purposefully went as far extreme as he could...more
Gabriel
An emotional roller-coaster for anyone who constantly worries about climate change and the environment. This book helps give your ordinary environmentalists (common citizens worried about global warming) hope for the future as well as an education on how individual action is not meaningless and can promote change thus eventually, making a difference.
Margaret Heller
This is for a book discussion later this week. I expected it to take me days to read, but I finished it in a few hours. Everyone had told me it was heavy going and to drink while reading it. Maybe it was that I'd already walked with a reusable shopping bag to the farmer's market to pick up my CSA share and worked in the garden rather than watching TV, but I really enjoyed Beavan's attitude and plans. I'd read the New York Times article which made him so despondent and thought he sounded like a j...more
Eileen
This book was really inspirational -- just what I needed! It was more than about one's man journey in doing what he could to save the planet for a year. It puts life in perspective and helps you think about what is really important and what truly makes us happy (hmmm...maybe it's not buying more stuff!).

The author is a normal guy trying to do what is seemingly impossible (no waste, no electricity, no toxins, no cars, etc. all in NYC with his wife and toddler). I really liked his story because h...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
SOH-Par Book Club: Just finished No Impact Man... 4 8 May 31, 2012 05:15AM  
  • Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too
  • Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide
  • Little House on a Small Planet: Simple Homes, Cozy Retreats, and Energy Efficient Possibilities
  • The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience
  • Hope, Human and Wild: True Stories of Living Lightly on the Earth
  • Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability
  • The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and our Health—and a Vision for Change
  • Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle
  • Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
  • This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader
  • Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada
  • The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-Reliance Series)
  • Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage
  • Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege
  • Sleeping Naked is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days
  • Living Like Ed: One Man's Guide to Living an Environmentally Friendly Life
  • Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis
  • Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators
Fingerprints: The Origins of Crime Dectection and the Murder Case That Launched Forensic Science Operation Jedburgh: D-Day and America's First Shadow War Alles öko!: Ein Jahr im Selbstversuch (German Edition) World Regional Geography (Loose Leaf) & No Impact Man: Collegiate Edition Hum Mos LL 11E&Exp Geo&atlas&no Imp

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“We are the ones we've been waiting for.” 5 likes
“We can all change the people around us by changing ourselves.” 5 likes
More quotes…