This special issue of WaveFront is devoted to the release of my book Believing Cassandra in an updated new edition. Also, if you would like a behind-the-scenes look at the AtKisson Group, see our Winter newsletter, the AtKisson Update, which you can download here.
One of the small-but-important differences between the original 1999 edition of my book Believing Cassandra, and the new one (just released by Earthscan – click here to skip straight to a special offer) is the subtitle: How to be an optimist in a pessimist’s world.
The subtitle used to be An optimist looks at a pessimist’s world. That subtitle pegged me, publicly, as an optimist. Okay, I admit to being more optimistic than pessimistic by nature. But it is hard, perhaps impossible, to look on what is happening today on this planet and not have the occasional gloomy moment.
The new version of Believing Cassandra, in addition to being completely updated for the 20-teens, is not about “being an optimist.” It is about creating the possibility of optimism. It is about understanding what’s happening, and maintaining your strategic focus, even when things are crashing down around your ears. It is about engaging in, and sustaining, action for sustainability.
… and the new paperback version of The Sustainability Transformation
Enter a second book title, The Sustainability Transformation: How to accelerate positive change in challenging times. This book, now in paperback, used to be called “The ISIS Agreement” — a title I now think was a creative-but-bad idea. Readers will think, ‘The Bourne Identity,’” I told myself. They’ll think “The DaVinci Code.” They’ll buy the book just to find out what “ISIS” means. I even wrote suspense into it: you find out what the “Agreement” is only on the last page.
Fortunately, people still bought my ISIS book in hardback (to learn the ISIS Method). But it never crossed over into the thriller section of the bookstore. The new title says what it is. The Sustainability Transformation is, as my friend Alex Steffen described (in an annoying-but-accurate review), a book for sustainability “geeks.” (He assured me later that “geek” was a positive word, coming out of the internet and hacker culture, and meaning anyone who was serious about mastering the subject matter.)
So, Believing Cassandra is for anyone who wants to understand how we got into this planetary mess — and what we can do about it. The Sustainablity Transforamtion is for people who are willing to take a deep dive into theory, analysis, methodology, practice, and tools — and get entertained along the way. At least one reviewer, former top banker Herman Mulder, said he “read it in one sitting because I couldn’t stop.” (Thanks, Herman!)
… both in beautiful new editions from Earthscan
I am so happy with these new editions from Earthscan, the world’s best sustainability publisher. The covers are beautiful. And the new Believing Cassandra seems just as relevant now as it did in 1999 — in fact, more so. (The mythical Greek Cassandra was always ahead of her time, after all.) Paul Hawken has written a lyrical new Foreword as well. (Thanks, Paul!)
Meanwhile, The Sustainability Transformation has a new preface designed to guide you straight to the sections that are most useful, practical, and meaningful for you.
My colleagues keep telling me, “Don’t forget to tell people why they should buy and read these books!” Apparently, I usually forget.
So here’s why: these books will help you …
1) Get people excited about the need for change — inspire them, and motivate them.
2) Help people and organizations see where they most need to change (using tools like Compass)
3) Identify imaginative and innovative initiatives, policies, and actions to promote change (using the ISIS Method and tools like Pyramid and Amoeba)
4) Set in motion creative collaboration within organizations to achieve change.
Speaking of creative collaboration, those four points were penned by my friend and colleague Peter Redstone of the Barefoot Partnership, a consultancy in the UK. In coaching me to communicate more effectively about these books, Peter also said, “I too read most of The Sustainability Transformation at a single sitting and found the tools and stories inspiring!”
In these books, I’ve done my best to bring together the best ideas, information, models, tools, explanations, stories, and sources of inspiration I could find, from twenty years of doing sustainability work, in over 40 countries. I’ve tried to package those ideas into books that are interesting to read — not “textbooks” — with a narrative structure, with humor, and with seriousness of purpose.
But you don’t have to be a “sustainability geek” to read these books; you just have to be interested in where our world is heading, as a world. And you have to be interested in changing its direction, in large ways and small.
Can we quote you?
If you have already read these books, and you have something to say about them, here’s a request: please send us quotes, comments, feedback, critique, testimonials … really, we need it. These days, books sell mostly by “word of mouth.”
So please, send us your words! Click here to write an email to Cassandra [at] AtKisson.com
… and tell us something of your experience with these books. Let us know if we can quote you, or if you’d like to remain anonymous.
WaveFront will come back next month with our usual collection of sustainability news and trend analysis. And from all of my colleagues in the AtKisson Group network around the world, happy end-of-2010, and our best wishes for an ever more sustainable world in 2011 …
P.S. Catch up with the AtKisson Group:
Click here to download our in-house newsletter, the AtKisson Update