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Book review: The Road – Cormac McCarthy (2006)

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“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. […] Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.” 

When, with his uncompromising and darkly beautiful prose, Cormac McCarthy wrote his 2006 novel The Road he penned one of the most important examples of environmental literature yet printed. 

The post-apocalyptic tale of a father and son navigating a burned, desolate America has little in common with the works usually featured in this series. It features no graphs or figures and makes no mention of carbon or economics. 

But, in the words of renowned environmental writer George Monbiot, it is a tale that “will change the way you see the world”.

Ranking the Pulitzer Prize winning novel above such definitive environmental tomes as Silent Spring and Small Is Beautiful, Monbiot argues that The Road’s stark nightmare offers an extreme glimpse of the world we are all creating. 

The devastation of McCarthy’s setting is total. The two protagonists wander through the burned out shells of cities and shelter in bare dead forests, meeting only hopeless travellers and roving gangs of cannibals on their way.

“By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp.” 

McCarthy does not speculate on the causes of the apocalypse, though readers have put forward many theories. The most popular, and perhaps likely, is a meteor strike but nuclear war is also a possibility, and a self-inflicted Armageddon would fit better with the novel’s remorseful tone.

Our misuse of the natural world is unlikely to have such grave or sudden consequences – no climate scientist is forecasting a rise in cannibalism – but McCarthy’s lyrical articulation of the death of the biosphere should make us all stop and think.

Our civilisation may not (yet) be at risk of such total collapse, but we cannot ignore that with insatiable consumption and runaway pollution, we are putting the natural world McCarthy laments at risk.

  

Books & Films

Book Review: Ubernomics

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ubernomics

Step inside the next generation of economics, business strategy and investing.

In this radical business book, Barbara Gray makes it clear that all is not as it seems. Just when we think we know the rules of the road, we find we have hit the age of economic abundance—and surprises await.

Gray navigates us through this journey with great insight and acuity, sharing stories and case studies about a new breed of “rebel with a cause” companies such as Starbucks, LinkedIn, Airbnb, and Uber, whose founders relish disruption of the status quo. Taking us through the highlights of her research, Gray reveals her discovery of the next generation of business strategy for companies looking to create economic abundance and rise above the competition.

Barbara Gray is a former top-ranked sell-side equity analyst and the founder of Brady Capital Research Inc., a leading-edge research and strategy consulting firm. She has more than fifteen years of sell-side equity research experience in Canada and the United States covering a wide range of sectors. Barbara has a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from the University of British Columbia (1993) and earned her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1997. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two sons.

Reviews

Ubernomics is über-needed by any organization that wants to be around in the next five years. Read it and you’ll be here for fifty–and more! Barbara Gray is half brilliant analyst and half seer. The result is a book that is both crystal clear and a crystal ball.”
–Joey Reiman, Chairman, BrightHouse and Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group

“Barbara is one of the most astute and forward-looking analysts who covered lululemon. Ubernomics gave me a framework to think about the sharing economy capital structure and the value that can be gained from that.”
–Christine Day, CEO, Luvo (former CEO, lululemon)

“Barbara’s overall analysis centering on the three new values of advocacy, connection and collaboration is very powerful. And the examples, both of firms born in the new economy and others trying to adapt to it, are fascinating.”
–Jean-Claude Larreche, Professor of Marketing, INSEAD, and author of The Momentum Effect

 

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Books & Films

Book Review: Business as an Instrument for Societal Change

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business-instrument-societal-change

Business as an Instrument for Societal Change: In Conversation with the Dalai Lama is the result of two decades of research and dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other leaders in business, government, science and education. Author Sander Tideman, a lawyer and banker who has maintained a friendship with the Dalai Lama over all these years, presents a practical framework and methodology to develop a new kind of leadership – one fit to repurpose the business world and tackle escalating social, economic and environmental needs.

The Dalai Lama rarely speaks directly on the topics of business, leadership and economics. Yet in the dialogues recounted here, his wisdom – combined with key insights from business and public leaders – creates a unified shift towards a consciousness of interconnectedness, offering profound insights for practitioners and general readers alike.

Tideman unites the scientific worldviews of physics, neuroscience and economics with the positive psychology of human relationships, and ancient spiritual wisdom, to formulate practical business leadership solutions. At the heart of this book lies the journey to discover our shared purpose. This ignites new sources of value creation for the organisation, customers and society, which Tideman terms ‘triple value’.  We can achieve triple value by aligning societal and business needs, based on the fundamental reality of interconnection.

Business as an Instrument for Societal Change: In Conversation with the Dalai Lama is a readable and intelligent exploration of how leaders can actually help to shape a sustainable global economy by embracing innate human and humane behaviour. It is also Tideman’s fascinating personal journey, which brought him to question the underlying motivations and goals of business leadership and to seek a new paradigm for a more sustainable approach. Reflecting Tideman’s sharp perceptions and infused with the Dalai Lama’s unmistakable joy, this book has the power to change your way of thinking.

 

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