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The New Normal: An Agenda for Responsible Living

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In Simple Prosperity, Dave Wann showed readers how to have an abundant, sustainable life. In The New Normal, he challenges us to do some heavy lifting and transform our non-sustainable culture by transforming ourselves. For Wann, our current "old normal" lifestyle - buying water in disposable bottles, allowing the government to ignore global warming - will not preserve the ...more
Paperback, 274 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published December 21st 2010)
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Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
"The New Normal" has a great premise: we need to reevaluate our values and priorities. But I questioned some of Wann's conclusions, especially his reliance on government regulations and tax policies to change our behavior, and his seeming dismissal of the small changes many of us are already starting to make. His writing style is a little impersonal, almost academic, and he overwhelms us with all of the things that are wrong with our current life. I was disturbed by Wann's belief that Americans ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked how practical the advice is, def pushed me to reflect on my lifestyle.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm still thinking this book is a mixed bag. Part of me wants to give it a great review because I was one of the lucky few to win a first copy from First Reads. However, I think 3 stars is fair.

What I liked overall:

*For a book dealing with a heavy subject matter it is not a difficult read
*The author has clearly spent time researching the subject matter
*The book is broken up with plenty of sidebars, visuals, etc. for easier reading
*I appreciated the author's willingness to point fingers at multin
Adam Sherritt
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read this book. You will read others reviews that say Wann's ideas are extreme, or that this book talks about public policy and government interacting with their citizens in a way that goes against the status quo, there will be reviews that say this book is not a "fun" read, or that there is a lot of information to digest. All of these reviewer's are right in their assessment. This book is for dreamers. This book is for people who are tired of the same old story we hear day after day. Those who ...more
Jessica Oban
Feb 21, 2011 rated it liked it
David Wann brings up some good points, but I feel like this book, as a whole, is too over my head. I feel like I should have read his other book, Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle, first.

The basic structure of the book is Wann giving an old paradigm, explaining why it should be abolished, and in its place, a new paradigm is given and expanded upon showing up how this way benefits a higher percentage of the population than the old way.

He has a lot of great ideas a
Kimberly Morghan
Feb 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I found this book pretty interesting and informative. I'm already one of those folks who has made much of the "paradigm shift" the author is talking about, and would like to see much more of us make the same switch in thinking. I appreciate the author's optimism and enthusiasm. I like how thoroughly he covered a whole suite of diverse "green" topics, and it is obvious he has done his research. I'm pretty well informed already and have apparently been reading many of the same things he has, but I ...more
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The New Normal is an intense read! David Wann takes environmental change far beyond "Hey! You can ride your bike to work!" and offers real solutions to our ecological and economical crisis. Packed with facts and statistics showing where we are and where we could go, The New Normal lays out a 33-point plan that establishes concepts for everything from reducing our dependence on oil to boosting the local economy.

I have to admit, this book took a while to grow on me. Initially, I felt that many of
Susan Peterson
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: discarded
It's one thing to complain about mega-corps and worry about peak oil; it's another thing to figure out what to do about it. The New Normal looks at what a sustainable life would look like. It looks at (among other things) food, fuel, health, and possessions. It describes why the current way of living isn't sustainable, then offers suggestions for what might be a viable "new normal." In sections entitled "the Heavy Lifting," Wann suggests ways to get a jump on the change right now. If I had to su ...more
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
In "The New Normal," David Wann outlines a plan for a new paradigm that values community above money and redefines success. Wann emphasizes compassion and contentment as new values that should replace selfishness and consumerism. The book is packed with ideas to lessen our negative impact on the world and on others. But while Wann is clear about the urgency of reducing our carbon footprint and admits that the meat indstrusty has a one of the largest negative impacts on the environment, he stops ...more
Sep 14, 2011 rated it liked it
The New Normal is primarily a policy book--focused on changing social policy, business practices, and government involvement through citizen activism. I'm all on board personally with less consumption, and I believe the over-consumption is one of the primary factors that caused our current economic woes. I also believe that our economy can no longer sustain the kind of consumption both from an employment standpoint and an environmental standpoint. I too believe that we're ready for a new normal. ...more
Kate Lawrence
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is not a "50 easy ways to save the environment" kind of book. Rather, this is a well thought out, in-depth description of more major changes individuals can make: "heavy lifting," as the author terms it. What we really need, he says, is not just surface changes while continuing business as usual. We need major paradigm shifts about how we look at our economy, energy use, etc. He remains upbeat about our ability to make these changes, saying that if individuals change how they think, overall ...more
Carol Kuniholm
Sep 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Wann's premise is that we're going to need to make major changes as we move from an unsustainable dependence on fossil fuel to a less fuel reliant paradigm. It's not a great read, but it offers some very practical ideas in a wide range of areas, from housing to transportation to food supply to entertainment. Some of the ideas are familiar and predictable; some more intriguing. It's not a book I would read through again, but it would be a helpful reference, a reminder to move from the easy to wha ...more
Suggests 34 "New Normal Agenda Points" for society as we adapt to the new realities of oil shortages and high cost, degradation of the environment, etc.

some good quotes:
"If at first the idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it." Albert Einstein p xi
"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela p. xi
"Speed is irrelevant if you're traveling in the wrong direction." Ganddhi p. 3
"That which is not good for the beehive cannot be good for the bee." Marcus Aurelius, AD 170, p. 15
Mar 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was one of the better "go Green" books i have read, although i found it a bit repetitive in that the author continued to talk about the changes that have to happen on a large scale. The small scale changes were not stressed as much. I completely agree with and understand the need for change overall, but the problem is how do we go about this? The book was well written and well cited and overall a good reference for information about green policy changes
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011, reviews
Another lucky win in a GoodReads giveaway!

I'll be honest, much of this book so far is way over my head -- I'm like a pre-schooler with all this environmental stuff, and this seems like college level. I'm sure there's a lot to get out of it, but right now I'm finding it sort of overwhelming.

No complaints about the writing, etc, and it's definitely already made an impact on my thinking, but some of the ideas seem a little advanced.
Nini Villanova
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone. The author certainly has some far-fetched ideas, but I think he is mostly on the right track, and I love that he gives actionable ideas. I took notes while I was reading of things I want to do differently, products and services that are instrumental in change.
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Won this in a First Reads Giveaway. It sounded interesting and like something that would provide some useful tidbits. Unfortunately, this book just didn't keep my interest -- I found it difficult to slog through to the end.
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The New Normal was truly an incredible read! The book has kept me mesmerized by it's fantasic chapters. David Wann has created yet another bestselling book that rivals Affluence and Simple Prosperity. I dearly want to thank Goodreads in which through its giveaways I have gotten this book!
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent and thought provoking book. Presents an alternative to the normal left/right Demo/Republican debate. Lays out a sensible and practical vision for solving the big problems facing humanity and our planet.
Apr 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
Gave me some new ideas on how I can live "more green", more alert to what must change in our economies, politics, ideas about what is really important. Startled to find USA is not the "best" country in these terms. "It always seems impossible until it's done" - Nelson Mandela.
Marjorie Elwood
David Wann has created a blueprint for transitioning from an industrial civilization to an ecological one. While it's tough to see how the changes will be implemented the point is clearly made that we can't afford *not* to take the suggestions presented. Thought-provoking.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great Points on what we can do to help the planet and for use to be more responsible on our impact of the world. The book reminded me of my life style in Boulder, but is a bit of a stretch in Pensacola lifestyle.
sara frances
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
ready to leave suburbia for superbia!
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great book.
May 09, 2011 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
Did not finish, but enjoyed the section on food
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I really wanted to like this book. I thought the premise was interesting and it started out strong, but it did not keep my interest. I will have to try reading it again someday
Jan 16, 2011 marked it as to-read
I won this book from First Reads Giveaway. Waiting to read it when I receive it. Thanks.
Josh Lamb
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books about the environment EVER! It gives step by step information, it is very informative, and its a very good read.
Jun 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This started off great, and then I lost interest about halfway through. This may have been just me - I'll have to try it again one day.
rated it liked it
Apr 25, 2012
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David Wann is President of the Sustainable Futures Society; a board member of the Cohousing Association of the U.S.; a fellow of the Simplicity Forum; and recipient of various lifetime achievement awards for his work on sustainability. He’s been a passionate gardener for 25 years and now coordinates a neighborhood garden in the cohousing community in which he’s lived for 11 years – Harmony Village ...more

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