Rethink Everything

Megatrends 2010: The Rise of Conscious Capitalism by Patricia Aburdene

More and more companies are discovering that placing social and environmental values ahead of the bottom line is actually helping to boost profits . . . significant numbers of both new-economy and old-guard companies are tapping into the wave of conscious capitalism by bringing meditation into the workplace, forcing stricter environmental controls on their vendors, and donating both time and money to social causes.

Add Some Dirt to Your Purity, Some Grit to Your Optimism

The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things: Fourteen Natural Steps to Health and Happiness by Larry Dossey

It may seem odd that a book promising to reveal the keys to happiness as well as health lists unhappiness as one of those keys, but Dossey contends that unhappiness is as necessary for the preservation of good health as, say, periodic tetanus shots. Add healthy doses of such other common but oft-overlooked good things as optimism, novelty, music, plants, and miracles, and one can expect a longer, happier life, Dossey says. Going further than promoting the obvious, Dossey also believes that including a bit of dirt, some bugs, a few tears, and a certain amount of forgetfulness can also significantly add to life’s length and breadth.

— Donna Chavez

Overthrowing the Doom and Gloom

Imagine: What America Could be in the 21st century edited by Marianne Williamson

The writers in this optimistic anthology didn’t want to buy into the typical doomsayer theories and gloomy forecasts when imagining the future of America. Instead, editor Marianne Williamson assembled a soul-stirring gospel choir to sing out vivid, uplifting songs of hope and imagination.

One reader at amazon says:

I almost did not buy this book, and I say that because an awful lot of really smart folks might be inclined to turn away on the basis of the title and the possibility that this is a fairy tale wishful-thinking la la land kind of book. It is not. It is practical and political.

Turning the World Upside-Down Will Make It Rightside Up

Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming by Paul Hawken

Hawken describes a convergence of the environmental and social justice movements as the largest social movement in history, and the fastest growing movement, comprising over 1 million organizations in every country in the world.

Your Body Is Smarter Than You Imagine, Part Two

Health Is Simple, Disease Is Complicated: A Systems Approach to Vibrant Health by James Forleo

Dr. James Forleo proposes a return to the body as the site of self-healing. The problem, he says, is that we don’t understand the language of signs and symptoms it uses to communicate its healing messages. Health Is Simple helps readers decipher that language and access the great realms of health and vitality the body contains.

Remaking the Way We Make Things

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better — say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete. Recycling, for instance, is actually “downcycling,” creating hybrids of biological and technical “nutrients” which are then unrecoverable and unusable. The authors, an architect and a chemist, want to eliminate the concept of waste altogether, while preserving commerce and allowing for human nature. They offer several compelling examples of corporations that are not just doing less harm — they’re actually doing some good for the environment and their neighborhoods, and making more money in the process.

— Therese Littleton

In Search of the Miraculous

The 2008 Shift Report: Changing the Story of Our Future

“We are living through one of the most fundamental shifts in history — a change in the actual belief structure of Western society. No economic, political, or military power can compare with the power of a change of mind. By deliberately changing their images of reality, people are changing the world.”

— Willis Harman, Global Mind Change

The Stealth Revolution

The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington by David Sirota

“This book engages in the nearly lost art of reporting to tell us what’s going on in the many places that the elite media can’t be bothered to look.” — Bill McKibben

“David Sirota is a clear-headed and principled hell-raiser for economic justice.” — Naomi Klein

“After so many decades of fake populism — of revolts by the wealthy, red-state fantasies, and stock-picking grandmas — could we finally be looking at the real thing?” — Thomas Frank

Never Say Never

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel by Michio Kaku

IMPOSSIBLE! Preposterous! These words are often thrown about when people declare certain things to be scientifically ridiculous. Aliens cannot reach the Earth in spaceships, they proclaim, because the distance between stars is too great. Telepathy is impossible since the brain does not emit or receive messages. And it’s impossible to instantaneously transport an object from A to B because you cannot know the location and momentum of all its atoms — teleportation would violate the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Yet if you carefully analyze these examples, you realize that they are merely impossible today or in the near future. The real question is, are they impossible with technologies that lie decades, centuries or even millennia beyond ours? Perhaps these ‘impossibilities’ are merely very difficult engineering problems. The late Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”