The best books to create a sustainable economy for our children and grandchildren

Why am I passionate about this?

As a corporate lawyer, I saw first-hand that corporations lack a comprehensive social and environmental conscience. I had begun to experiment with articles and bylaws when I met one of the founders of B-Lab, the creator of the B-Corp and architect behind the benefit corporation, in 2008. I have been working to upgrade the operating principles of the economy ever since. I was the co-chair of the legal working group for California’s benefit corporation legislation and my former law firm was one of the first law firms to become a B Corp. I’m highly motivated to leave a habitable planet to our children and grandchildren.


I wrote...

Net Zero Business Models: Winning in the Global Net Zero Economy

By John Montgomery, Mark Van Clieaf,

Book cover of Net Zero Business Models: Winning in the Global Net Zero Economy

What is my book about?

Net Zero Business Models: Winning in the Global Net Zero Economy is an indispensable resource for executives, corporate directors, and institutional investors. The book provides a one-stop playbook for implementing a bona fide, net zero emissions transition plan to transition from business models that are contributing to worldwide climate disaster to net zero business models aligned with long-term sustainability and commercial success. 

For the general reader, the five core eco-efficiency processes will help you reduce your own greenhouse gas emissions.  The general reader can also accelerate the advent of a sustainable economy by recommending or gifting the book to executives, directors, and investors in companies that urgently need to decarbonize their business models.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

John Montgomery Why did I love this book?

Kim Stanley Robinson hooked me immediately with this fast-paced novel about how humanity finally wakes up to the deadly consequences of pumping 54 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year and decides to do something about it.

I could not put down this page turner which reads like a science fiction thriller but is filled with interesting facts and perspectives about global warming. This book inspired me to write my book and will prepare you to engage in the enormous task of decarbonizing the economy and creating a sustainable civilization.

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked The Ministry for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
 
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite…


Book cover of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

John Montgomery Why did I love this book?

I have been a raving fan of Kate Raworth and Doughnut Economics ever since I heard her speak about Doughnut Economics at a B-Corp conference in Amsterdam.

Ultimately, a sustainable economic system requires an upgrade of its current operating system which operates on the principles of neoliberal, free-market economic theory. Kate Raworth provides a brilliant alternative to neoliberal, free-market economic theory in Doughnut Economics

I love Chapter Two which provides one of the best synopses of the foundational principles of neoliberal economics and suggests alternative principles – Doughnut Economics - that will allow humanity to live within the planetary limitations of the biosphere while providing a baseline standard of living for all. 

Doughnut Economics will help you envision a sustainable future in which we care for each other and the planet.

By Kate Raworth,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Doughnut Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Financial Times "Best Book of 2017: Economics"

800-CEO-Read "Best Business Book of 2017: Current Events & Public Affairs"

Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times.

Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.

That's why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth,…


Book cover of Better Business: How the B Corp Movement Is Remaking Capitalism

John Montgomery Why did I love this book?

The prevailing corporate form renders corporations prone to anti-social and environmentally destructive behavior because they are designed to maximize profits for shareholders without considering the consequences to society and the environment.

I love Better Business because it tells the story of the creation of an emergent alternative corporate form, the B-Corp with benefit corporation governance, that provides a material positive benefit to society and the environment in addition to making profits for shareholders.  

A sustainable economy not only requires new economic principles, but also new corporate forms that are endowed with a social and environmental conscience in addition to the usual pecuniary one. Better Business introduces you to these new corporate forms without bogging you down in legalese.

By Christopher Marquis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Better Business as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A compelling look at the B Corp movement and why socially and environmentally responsible companies are vital for everyone's future-"a valuable guide to an important force" (Financial Times)

"An important blueprint for how businesses can and should be both successful and a force for good."-Rose Marcario, President and CEO, Patagonia

"Better Business is the book to read if you want to put values and purpose at the center of your company. It's an inspiring book with great insights to share."-Jerry Greenfield, co-founder, Ben & Jerry's

Gold Medalist in the Business Ethics category, 2021 Axiom Business Book Awards and longlisted for…


Book cover of Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet?: Rethinking Capitalism for the Twenty-First Century

John Montgomery Why did I love this book?

I was skeptical that a book about accounting could be entertaining. 

Jane Gleason-White not only brings the history of double book entry accounting alive but also tells the story of how accountants are quietly leading the transformation to a sustainable economy. This transformation demands that we upgrade traditional accounting that only accounts for financial and industrial capital to account for benefits and detriments to the natural world and society. 

To support a sustainable economy, accounting systems must include four additional categories of capital: intellectual, human, social, and relationship. A sustainable economy not only requires new economic principles and new corporate forms, but new accounting systems that account for all six capitals. 

By Jane Gleeson-White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Six Capitals, or Can Accountants Save the Planet? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a twenty-first-century revolution being led by the most unlikely of rebels: accountants. Only the second revolution in accounting since double-entry bookkeeping began, it is of seismic proportions, driven by the 2008 financial crash and our ongoing environmental crisis. The changes it will wreak are profound and far-reaching and not only will transform the way the world does business but also will alter the nature of capitalism.

While the wealth of nations and corporations has been vital to the global economy, increasingly the world is coming to realize that such endless growth is limited by the…


Book cover of Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness

John Montgomery Why did I love this book?

This is my favorite book about business. I recommend it to my executive coaching clients and have suggested it to scores of people. 

In short, it profiles the heart-based leadership required to create a sustainable economy. A heart-based leader sets the field of consciousness within his or her organization and models the values of its culture. When we work in environments in which we are loved and trusted, we’re twice as productive and twice as happy and the organization has half the normal employee turnover. 

The twelve heart-based leaders and their organizations profiled in the book provide examples of the kind of leadership required to build a sustainable economy that truly cares for people and planet. 

By Frederic Laloux,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Reinventing Organizations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The way we manage organizations seems increasingly out of date. Survey after survey shows that a majority of employees feel disengaged from their companies. The epidemic of organizational disillusionment goes way beyond Corporate America-teachers, doctors, and nurses are leaving their professions in record numbers because the way we run schools and hospitals kills their vocation. Government agencies and nonprofits have a noble purpose, but working for these entities often feels soulless and lifeless just the same. All these organizations suffer from power games played at the top and powerlessness at lower levels, from infighting and bureaucracy, from endless meetings and…


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Book cover of Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success

Joylynn M Ross

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What is my book about?

Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business is for anyone who wants to learn how to make money with their book and make a living as an author. Many authors dive into the literary industry without taking time to learn the business side of being an author, which can hinder book sales and the money that can be made as an author.

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Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business: Ways to Achieve Financial Literary Success

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Do you want to make money with your book? Do you want to make a living as an author? There’s more to doing so than simply writing and publishing your book. Many authors dive into the literary industry without taking time to learn the business side of being an author. This could dramatically hinder your book sales and the money you can make as an author. Without a guide such as this, mastering the art of financial literary success can take you years, and you’ll be sure to make mistakes during the learning phase. Some mistakes could cost you money;…


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