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The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals And Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World

The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals And Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World [Kindle Edition]

Peter M. Senge , Bryan Smith , Nina Kruschwitz , Joe Laur , Sara Schley
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Acclaim for The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge, Honored As One of The Five Greatest Business Books of All Time by The Financial Times

“A management classic.” –Boston Globe

“One of the seminal management books of the past seventy-five years.”—Harvard Business Review


Imagine a world in which the excess energy from one business would be used to heat another. Where buildings need less and less energy around the world, and where “regenerative” commercial buildings – ones that create more energy than they use – are being designed. A world in which environmentally sound products and processes would be more cost-effective than wasteful ones. A world in which corporations such as Costco, Nike, BP, and countless others are forming partnerships with environmental and social justice organizations to ensure better stewardship of the earth and better livelihoods in the developing world. Now, stop imagining – that world is already emerging.

A revolution is underway in today’s organizations. As Peter Senge and his co-authors reveal in The Necessary Revolution, companies around the world are boldly leading the change from dead-end “business as usual” tactics to transformative strategies that are essential for creating a flourishing, sustainable world. There is a long way to go, but the era of denial has ended. Today’s most innovative leaders are recognizing that for the sake of our companies and our world, we must implement revolutionary—not just incremental—changes in the way we live and work.

Brimming with inspiring stories from individuals and organizations tackling social and environmental problems around the globe, THE NECESSARY REVOLUTION reveals how ordinary people at every level are transforming their businesses and communities. By working collaboratively across boundaries, they are exploring and putting into place unprecedented solutions that move beyond just being “less bad” to creating pathways that will enable us to flourish in an increasingly interdependent world. Among the stories in these pages are the evolution of Sweden’s “Green Zone,” Alcoa’s water use reduction goals, GE’s ecoimagination initiative, and Seventh Generation’s decision to shift some of their advertising to youth-led social change programs.

At its heart, THE NECESSARY REVOLUTION contains a wealth of strategies that individuals and organizations can use — specific tools and ways of thinking — to help us build the confidence and competence to respond effectively to the greatest challenge of our time. It is an essential guidebook for all of us who recognize the need to act and work together—now—to create a sustainable world, both for ourselves and for the generations to follow.



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3.0 von 5 Sternen Me too... 1. Februar 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Von Peter Senge bin ich Besseres gewöhnt, etwa "Fifth discipline" Buch + Fieldbook oder "Dance of Change".
Und natürlich muss ein renommierter Autor, der seinen ökologisch-ethischen Hintergrund herausstreichen will, auch ein Buch über die Anwendung von systemischem Denken auf den Nachhaltigkeitsbereich schreiben. Bei den Praxisbeispielen wird sehr auf amerikanische Firmen Bezug genommen, die wohl eher ein gutes Beispiel für ökologischen Etikettenschwindel als für verantwortungsvolle Nachhaltigkeit abgeben. Nicht wirklich viel Neues d'rin.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Value Priced, Superb Overview, Isolated from Other Literatures 28. August 2008
Von Robert David STEELE Vivas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
At the end of this review following the links to other recommended books, I specify why this book receives four stars instead of five. Shortly I will load several images that will augment my written review, a couple of them recreated from this book, a couple my own original work.

I found this book absorbing, and while I recognized many many areas where the authors could have identified and respected the work of others more explicitly, I also found this to be the single best book for a manager of any business, any non-profit, any educational institution, any citizen advocacy group, with respect to the changing paradigm of business from industrial era obsess on profit and waste wantonly, to the information era of integrated full life cycle with total transparency of all costs (social, environmental, and financial) and ZERO footprint on Earth and society. There is ample original work from the authors, and this book is priced just right as a vehicle for energizing groups of any kind.

Following from my extensive notes:

+ A handful of top global businesses "get it" and have been pioneering footprint free zero waste business model: BP, GE, Coca-Cola, Dupont, even Nike.

+ Non-governmental organizations (NGO) know more about local needs and the emerging marketplace (four billion of the five billion poor, I am very disconcerted to see the business world "writing off" the one billion extreme poor) than any market "intelligence" firm.

+ With credit to Jared Diamond, I read for the first time about the unreal financial reality "bubble," and the "real real" world bubble that is catching up with it. See John Bogle's book below for a deeper explanation of how the financial mandarins have stolen one fifth of the value and misdirected the Main Street economy while doing so.

+ Although I have read Stewart Hart's work, this book helped me appreciate in detail his Sustainability Value Matrix.

+ Other "big ideas" by others that are integrated into this book include that of civil society stakeholders; ethical consumerism, stabilization wedges (Palala and Socolow),ladder of inference (an anthropological practice), peacekeeping circles, requisite organization, and law of limited competition (Daniel Quinn)


1. Industrial Waste (USA wastes 100 billion tons a year, 90% of inputs)

2. Consumer/Commercial Waste & Toxicity (of 8B/year, 5B not absorbable)

3. Non-Renewable Resources in Sharp Decline

4. Renewable Resources down 30-70% and in some cases close to extinction tipping point (fresh water, topsoil, fisheries, forests)


1. No viable path neglects future generations

2. Institutions matter

3. Real change must be grounded in new ways of thinking (see Durant below, capstone lessons from their ten volume history of civilization was that the only real revolution is in the mind of man, and that morality has a strategic value of incalculable proportions).


1. Energy & Transportation

2. Food & Water

3. Material Waste & Toxicity


1. Seeing Systems Within Systems (Full Cycle Closed Earth)

2. Collaborating Across Boundaries (No one has it all)

3. Creating & adjusting instead of problem solving in isolation


1. Natural system encloses social and economic systems

2. Industrial system must operate in that context

3. Regenerable resources have harvest limits

4. Non-renewable resources are finite.

5. Waste is a cancer on the Earth

6. Socio-cultural community is the vessel for change


1. Convening diversity of viewpoints

2. Listening to all, avoiding advocacy

3. Nurturing relationships over time and above money


1. Save dollars internally

2. Make dollars externally

3. Provide customers with competitive value

4. Sustainability as point of differentiation

5. Shape the future of your industry, win market share

6. Become a preferred supplier for giants like Home Depot

7. Change image and brand for better (70%+ of market value)

The book is full of examples of successful change implementation, and includes a number of "toolbox" pages that could be made into a protable booklet or distributed broadly across corporate networks.

I was struck throughout the book with the value of this work in identifying specific personalities and specific companies who could be drawn into the broader holistic work of emerging meta-strategic networks such as Reuniting America, the Transpartisan Institute, and Earth Intelligence Network. Two women in particular jumped out as future global leaders on the order of Lee Kuan Yew and Nelson Mandela:

1. Vivienne Cox of BP

2. Lorraine Bolsinger of GE

I put the book down deeply impressed with its concluding sections, and thinking to myself: China, CHINA, CHINA! That is the center of gravity for getting right on a massive scale in the near term.

Other important books NOT mentioned by this book:
The Story of Civilization by Will Durant with The Lessons of History (Complete in 10 Vols. plus The Lessons of History which was written by Durant to accompany the 10-volume set)
Organizational Intelligence (Knowledge and Policy in Government and Industry)
The Knowledge Executive
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
The New Age of Innovation: Driving Cocreated Value Through Global Networks
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

I resolved to rate this book as a four for the following reasons, in relative order of annoyance:
1) Crummy index for what could have been a brilliant REFERENCE book, not just an orientation book for leaders that do not read a lot. This index is SO BAD it fails to list all the individuals mentioned, and completely blows off numerous key phrases (e.g. sustainability wedges) that would be in any properly created professional index.
2) No literature search and total isolation from the major literatures of Collective Intelligence, Wealth of Networks, Organizational Intelligence, Integral Consciousness, Closed Systems Engineering, Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, and so on.
3) Understandable use of the iconic name of the lead author, but in all probability actually written by the other four authors.
4) Really marginal reference section and no bibliography (even more valuable would have been an annotated bibliography).
5) Absolutely clueless on the means of visualizing and using world-class visualization to create compelling multi-dimensional mental images (this is not to say I am any better, just that they missed a chance to be "the" reference work for the next seven years).

Bottom line on the deficiency: I read very broadly, and am increasingly distressed at the continuing isolation of authors from one another's work. It's time every work of this importance do a proper job of connecting to other works.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Conversations and collaboration are the way forward 2. Juli 2008
Von John Inman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This long awaited book fulfills all of my expectations for a manual to help us create the conversations and collaboration necessary to reclaim our world's health. Over the years there have been quite a few high impact books helping us understand the extent of the challenges we face as we look forward to create a sustainable world. "The Necessary Revolution" steps forward and outlines how to create the partnerships that are needed to unleash the pent up creativity that millions of team members across the world and in all enterprises have been holding back. Peter Senge and team from his organization Society for Organizational Learning come at the subject as world leaders in the austere world of business. It is going to be very difficult for business leaders across the world to read this work and write it off as rantings of an extremist. Peter is one of the top business minds in the world and I do not believe this work can be easily ignored.

For those of us who are disbursed across enterprises and feel like we have little impact on moving our enterprises towards a more sustainable future, this book provides outstanding case studies of work being done across the world by enterprises large and small. Some of the work and the visions of the leaders chronicled in this text are not only enlightening but surprising. After many chapters a "toolbox" is provided to help set the stage for the conversations and collaboration needed to move change forward. And of course, all of this work is set in a framework of systems thinking which is so necessary to be able to see beyond the silos so many are bound by.

"The Necessary Revolution" should be required reading for community leaders of all types, NGO, religious, Government, and corporate alike. As we start to create these critical partnerships and conversations focused on sustainability, I believe that we can quickly change the course that we are on. A must for every person who wants to see a change in our direction. Thank you Peter, Bryan, Nina, Joe, and Sara for this extraordinary work.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Not Systems Thinking 6. August 2008
Von Ana Kritis - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and organizations are working together to create a Sustainable World. (TNR)
Value of TNR: The theme of TNR is that we must shift beyond being reactive in our solutions approach, merely seizing short term solutions, and move to deep thinking to really make a difference. I strongly agree. The book includes many stories of what organizations and individuals are doing to try to be more proactive. The "Take, Make, Waste" mode of the last 60 years is no longer viable and some folks are digging deeper in their thinking and getting beyond symptom solutions. It is the right message but with insufficient thinking on the part of the authors on what it would really take to accomplish that deep thinking. They fall into the same trap they are critiquing, working in a problem-solving mode with humans doing less harm and letting nature restore itself, but with just a more sophisticated version than they challenge.
Shortfall: The authors point out that what got us into the mess we are in is working from a Cartesian view of reality that sees the world as things divided into parts and pieces that are not connected. As a result we have outsourced solutions by specialty, allow the problem creator to side step the deep dive to get to the underlying causes. However, TNR is working with an approach to Systems Thinking based on the Study of machines and computers that originated at MIT with Jay Forrester in the Engineering and Cybernetic Systems School in the 1950s. Forrester moved to the Sloan Management School and took his Systems Dynamic Theory with him. It is still a part of the Sloan School and has been adopted by the SOL Sustainability Consortium unrevised from its computer science basis and applied directly to human systems. It is true that Systems Thinking is needed to get us past the current crisis but one based in and developed from understanding artificial intelligence in computers and the working of machinery is just as limited as the element Cartesian model that positioned us for the current challenge. Even though the authors open with the Einstein quote, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we create them," they fail to see that that is the mind that created the form of system thinking is still the one they are using for the most part.
One of the greatest shortfall of the book is the banalization of the term regenerative and equating it with renewable, as in renewable resources and restorative, as restoring a wetland to its original state--or letting nature do it. This comes from the way of thinking about Systems itself.
The least encompassing type of Systems Thinking is what I call, Causal Systems Thinking or Cybernetic Systems Thinking because it is based in Cybernetic Studies and Science coming from Computer Science fields and Industrial Engineering applications to machinery based on non-living metaphors applied to Living Systems. Causal loops are an incomplete and often inaccurate way to describe human and social systems since they imply a single connecting or steam of causes back to an original cause. Even Forrester said that feedback loops do not apply to open systems, which Living Systems are because feedback loops are based on repetitive behavior and refer back to actions of the past and control those directly for the future. In open systems, the actions are independent of past action. (see Principles of Systems, Jay Forrester, 1979) [...]
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An important contribution to sustainability strategies 28. Juli 2008
Von Alan Lekan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is one of the most interesting and important contributions of 2008 to the vital area of sustainability thinking. MIT's Peter Senge is well known for deep analysis of organizational effectiveness (that can be challenging to read). He applies the same "systems thinking" found in his best-selling book, "The Fifth Discipline", to the multi-dimensional problem of unsustainable industrialization to reveal the real drivers and not merely the symptoms of the core problems. Yet in this fresh, face-paced book, Mr. Senge takes a more "story-teller" approach to illustrate how we as a society can accomplish much more in our efforts to find more sustainable practices working together than working in a wary isolation.

He uses many examples of successful collaboration between industry, brands, NGO groups, government and individuals. This is the new charter for effectiveness. As Wired magazine rightly said this year: "Global warming is too important to leave to environmentalists alone to solve." Government and business are in the best position to lead large-scale sustainable change and must take more and more ownership.

I help lead sustainability programs for a major athetic brand, and we would never dream of collaborating around performance technology innovations. Yet, increasingly, we and my peers at other brands throughout the industry have been actively collaborating around many sustainability initiatives - even making ideas and patented technologies that solely benefit the environment available to others. We work with NGO groups to better inform our strategies and they are always willing and helpful to collaborate (as some of them say, we would rather work in partnership than take you to court!). We are working to develop common mreasures and standards to drive supply chains toward more sustainable production and better equip the consumer for informed choices regarding environmental impact. Senge's book is all about such collaboration - in product companies, energy sector and the built environment.

No longer perceived as a fad or gimick, sustainability and eco-thinking are now evolving to necessary(and perhaps even survivability) strategies to insure this generation's children will have a world worth inheriting and similar opportunities than us adults have had living quite well off the resouces of the planet. Peter Senge shows us how to get there by developing shared awareness of the problem and working effectively across boundaries of all kinds. A main audience he wrote this book for is the grass-roots visionaries who have "gotten this" long ago and who work quietly but surely as the dynamic change-agents for a more sustainable world. A intellectually savvy and notable contribution to the topic that reads remarkably well. 5 stars.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Good beginning reference 5. September 2009
Von Christopher Foundas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I'm a Supply Chain Management / Logistics consultant, so I bought this book to start to learn more about the impact large companies can have on the environment through their supply chains. As a beginning reference, it works well. The book is well cited, with many footnotes and references provided to the reader so a fair and balanced perspective can be reached. For this reason alone I was extremely pleased.

Overall it is a fairly interesting book to read. It contained a step-by-step guide to beginning change within a large organization, and tips on how any business can start to become more environmentally friendly. Although some are more practical than others, I think anyone would benefit from reading this book. It's not as heavy on the doom-and-gloom other works are, and while it won't keep you up at night it will certainly make you think. Of particular interest to myself was the Xerox case study, and the Coca Cola water usage study.
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These core capabilitiesseeing systems, collaborating across boundaries, and creating versus problem solvingform the underpinnings, and ultimately the tools and methods, for this shift in thinking. &quote;
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Problem solving is about making what you dont want go away. Creating involves bringing something you care about into reality. &quote;
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The gap between the need to think and act interdependently and our abilities to do so sits at the heart of all the most difficult problems we face today. &quote;
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