Inspirational books on how to create a Better Century

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. Been busy with the garden, children, thinking and reading. I want to share six books which have really inspired me about the creation of a Better Century.

A Life on Our Planet - My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future - David Attenborough

At the age of 95, David Attenborough has witnessed firsthand the decline of nature and properly believes that together we can regenerate it, so as to improve our own lives and tackle climate change. He provides in this book his insight as well as a positive take on what is possible within international cooperation. He calls for an immediate halt of the destruction of rainforests, rewilding of vast swathes of land, implementing a circular economy that replicates nature, capturing the vast quantities of renewable energy available to us, and the use of non fossil fuel dependant technology. I particularly like his call for humans to reach beyond intelligence, and gain wisdom - he likens us to a tree in a rainforest - that we have fought hard to grow out of the canopy and how need to spread our branches out and settle in for the long run.

THERE IS NO PLANET B - A Handbook for the Make or Break Years - Mike Berners-Lee

Mike is a foremost expert in carbon calculation and has advised the government and businesses. He wrote ‘HOW BAD ARE BANANAS - The Carbon Footprint of Everything’ and has the best analysis I’ve ever seen on food, energy and transport. His technical analysis of carbon emissions from all sources is incredibly helpful in thinking about the problem as a whole. He asks some very insightful questions, and although is depressingly scientific in the large part of his analysis, does provide some good insights into how to curb climate change, restructure economies and reassess our values sets. He gives some really insightful ways to think as a conscious human being and provides some basic questions we should be asking of every politician. Although he doesn’t really provide answers he frames the right questions - so well worth a read if you’re up for the deep technical dive!

Human kind - A Hopeful History- Rutger Bregman

I’ve been trying to answer the question posed by apathetic citizens on climate change ‘do you really believe we are able to tackle climate change with human nature as it is?’. This book has provided me with the answer. Rutger almost extends the story from the brilliant book of Sapiens (by Noah Harari), by undertaking a review of modern history. He starts the book by acknowledging that in order to tackle world issues such as climate change and ecological breakdown, we have to ask the question ’ what is the true nature of humanity?’. His analysis is quite revealing. It shows that the initial success of our species was achieved through copying one another and cooperation and that it is only in the last 12,000 years since we’ve created possession, have we propagated the belief that human beings are not to be trusted. He argues this belief is self-propagating, and we unconsciously reinforce it through media, behaviour and interaction. Rutger explores examples where trusting environments in extreme places such as prisons, achieve better and less costly outcomes, and he explores the possibilities of making this a central belief in a better society.

Reinventing Organizations - Frederic LaLoux

Frederic LaLoux, an ex McKinsey management consultant with 20 years of experience, writes this incredible management book about half a dozen organisations that have adopted a new form of management which he coins a major breakthough in human evolutionary consciousness. This matches Bregmans work beautifully as trust is placed as the central tenant of organizations that adopt this ‘teal’ structure. These organisations have no middle management, no autonomous decision-making (even from the CEO), and they operate through group decision-making. Effectively everyone is given the authority and responsibility of the company. Most I tell about this book tell me that it can’t work, but it has in an energy organisation with 100,000 staff, for a large gearbox manufacturer in Europe, a school in Germany, a rapidly growing neighbourhood nursing service in the Netherlands with over 60% market share, and a good numer of others. Although this book doesn’t actually address climate change, what it does do is provide an inspiring story about how we could operate entirely differently, whilst providing everyone with a voice. If we trust that human beings are collectively concerned about climate change then this will lead to a better century. This book is a page turner and is highly recommended - don’t be put off by the management slant! My take away is that a new competitive management structure could overtake old simply through competition, and this will lead to better; decisions, equality and will use human resources in the best way.

DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS - Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist - Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth takes the story of tackling climate change to an economic level and gives us a road map to replace old thinking. She educates you about history of economic thinking over the last few hundred years and takes you on her personal journey of over a decade on coming to the idea of the Doughnut Economy. This theory is now being implemented in Amsterdam and is a part of the big conversations on shaping future economies. Finally planetary boundries have been placed on the economic model, as well as a clear understanding of basic human needs. The book is technical but reveals how old thinking needs to be replaced and gives a road map to making that happen. Although potentially not for everyone this book helps complete an education for someone like me who wants to know how to implement a sustainable society. I highly recommend it!

Please do make your own recommendations below and let me know how you get along with these books and what you think!