10 books like Net Positive

By Paul Polman, Andrew Winston,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Net Positive. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

By Bill Gates,

Book cover of How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

I must confess that I didn’t start out as a Bill Gates fan. But in the wake of his Microsoft career, his proactive investments in start-up companies that could transform our society for the better started to capture my attention. When I read his book climate solutions, I became convinced of his analytical and entrepreneurial genius. He approaches climate breakdown with the pragmatic optimism of a venture capitalist. One of his most compelling insights are his “green premium” calculations for major sectors, which effectively measure the price gap between current solutions and emerging technologies. This provides a clear indication of the most appropriate investment strategies for given technologies – all with the urgent goal of halving carbon emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. 

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

By Bill Gates,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked How to Avoid a Climate Disaster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical - and accessible - plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide toward certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions…


Regeneration

By Paul Hawken,

Book cover of Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation

I like Regeneration because it is a book of science-based solutions. At a time when we are overwhelmed by global social and environmental problems and underwhelmed by ESG and sustainable business solutions, Paul Hawken continues to be the pioneering voice he has been for decades. His book, The Ecology of Commerce, was one of the books that inspired me over 30 years ago to pursue a career in sustainable business, and I use his book Drawdown in my teaching and workshops to illustrate the 100 best innovations for tackling climate change. Regeneration is aligned with the idea of thriving – as opposed to surviving – and gives practical insights into tried and tested ways to reverse the current degeneration of nature and society.

Regeneration

By Paul Hawken,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Regeneration as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A radically new understanding of and practical approach to climate change by noted environmentalist Paul Hawken, creator of the New York Times bestseller Drawdown

Regeneration offers a visionary new approach to climate change, one that weaves justice, climate, biodiversity, equity, and human dignity into a seamless tapestry of action, policy, and transformation that can end the climate crisis in one generation. It is the first book to describe and define the burgeoning regeneration movement spreading rapidly throughout the world.

Regeneration describes how an inclusive movement can engage the majority of humanity to save the world from the threat of global…


A Life on Our Planet

By David Attenborough,

Book cover of A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future

It’s hard to ignore the personal testimony of Sir David Attenborough, based on 70 years of exploring and documenting the natural world. Like Attenborough’s films, this is a masterpiece in storytelling and making science and nature accessible. This has been his enduring legacy. But this book is different. Here, he combines a severe warning about the breakdown in the web of life with hopeful solutions aimed at rewilding the land and oceans. His message is clear: we can turn the precipitous decline of life on earth due to human impacts; but we need to act fast and at scale. I especially like how he distills the essence in a quote that says: “in this world, a species can only thrive when everything else around it thrives too.”

A Life on Our Planet

By David Attenborough,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Life on Our Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Science & Technology Book of the Year* 

In this scientifically informed account of the changes occurring in the world over the last century, award-winning broadcaster and natural historian shares a lifetime of wisdom and a hopeful vision for the future. See the world. Then make it better.
I am 93. I've had an extraordinary life. It's only now that I appreciate how extraordinary.

As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world - but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been…


Nature's Best Hope

By Douglas W. Tallamy,

Book cover of Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard

Global climate and environmental problems are so overwhelming that it’s hard to get our heads – let alone our hearts and hands – around them. We feel helpless to make a positive impact. This is where I found that Tallamy’s book steps into the breach. It answers the vital question: what I can do, especially as an individual or family, to protect and restore nature? Biodiversity loss is one of the most serious existential crises we face as humanity, along with climate change. The power of Tallamy’s approach is to offer solutions that can be applied in our backyard. Our gardens can provide species under threat with a vital lifeline; an oasis in the desert of agricultural, industrial, and urban wasteland. This is a book on how to take positive action.

Nature's Best Hope

By Douglas W. Tallamy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nature's Best Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Douglas W. Tallamy's first book, Bringing Nature Home, sparked a national conversation about the link between healthy local ecosystems and human well-being. In his new book Nature's Best Hope, Tallamy takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Tallamy advocates for homeowners everywhere to turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats and mitigate the effects of development and corporate agriculture. This home-based approach doesn't rely on the federal government and protects the environment from the whims of politics. It is also easy to do, and readers will walk away with specific…


A Splendid Exchange

By William J. Bernstein,

Book cover of A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World

A brilliant sweep through the millennia of commerce around the world. If you think globalization happened over the last quarter-century, you are wrong by about 5000 years. Find out how and why.

A Splendid Exchange

By William J. Bernstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Splendid Exchange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sweeping narrative history of world trade—from Sumer in 3000 BC to the firestorm over globalization today—that brilliantly explores trade’s colorful and contentious past and provides fresh insights into social, political, cultural, and economic history, as well as a timely assessment of trade’s future.

Adam Smith wrote that man has an intrinsic “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.” But how did trade evolve to the point where we don’t think twice about biting into an apple from the other side of the world?

In A Splendid Exchange, William J. Bernstein tells the extraordinary story of global…


Shibumi

By Trevanian,

Book cover of Shibumi

I first read Shibumi in the 1970s when it was originally published, and it changed my entire philosophy about life. The cast of characters, led by assassin Nicholai Hel, his concubine Hana, and other characters are exquisitely well drawn, and each has their own distinct character traits, some endearing and others truly despicable. The book is at once exciting, sexy, funny, satirical, philosophical, and educational. Readers learn about Japanese, Chinese, and Basque cultures, World War II history, and even spelunking, all the while Nicolai deals with the evil forces of the CIA, NSA, MI5, and MI6. A brilliant writer, Trevanian was also a philosopher of sorts, giving us his take on society and how we relate to one another. One of those books that hold up well over time and you just never forget.

Shibumi

By Trevanian,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic spy novel from the bestselling author, Trevanian, about a westerner raised in Japan who becomes one of the world's most accomplished assassins.

Nicholai Hel is the world’s most wanted man. Born in Shanghai during the chaos of World War I, he is the son of an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father and is the protégé of a Japanese Go master. Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world’s most artful lover and its most accomplished—and well-paid—assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret…


The Business

By Iain M. Banks,

Book cover of The Business

Banks is a freak of nature: he wrote sci-fi of the pinkest blood as well as prize-winning literary fare; all it took to indulge this duality was the use of a spare initial. The Business is one of the subtler interlopers: a minimalist, monochrome cover and a tale of corporate greed. Banks dials what could have been a staid techno-thriller up to 11 with killer prose, a razor-sharp protagonist, and outrageous flirting with the edges of possibility: magnates who get their jollies beaching cruise liners, hollowed-out mountain lairs, revving supercars to the destruction around the Swiss mountains. This is a novel that pops with the wit and flair of a writer at the height of his powers and determined to have a blast.

The Business

By Iain M. Banks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kate Telman is a senior executive officer in The Business, a powerful and massively discreet transglobal organisation. Financially transparent, internally democratic and disavowing conventional familial inheritance, the character of The Business seems, even to Kate, to be vague to the point of invisibility. It possesses, allegedly, a book of Leonardo cartoons, several sets of Crown Jewels and wants to buy its own State in order to acquire a seat at the United Nations.

Kate's job is to keep abreast of current technological developments and her global reach encompasses Silicon Valley, a ranch in Nebraska, the firm's secretive Swiss headquarters, and…


The Constant Gardener

By John Le Carré,

Book cover of The Constant Gardener

Published in 2001, The Constant Gardener is my favorite le Carre Novel. A British diplomat in Nairobi, Justin Quayle, is informed his activist wife, Tess has been killed in a remote part of Kenya along with a doctor friend. As Quayle investigates her life (in a similar way to Eric Ambler unfolds Dimitrios’s life), he uncovers her work exposing large pharmaceutical companies’ unethical experiments in the poorest regions of Africa. This leads to her brutal death and cover-up at a diplomatic and political level. It is an exceptional book that makes you rethink how medicine and the industry behind it operates. After the collapse of the USSR, le Carre seemed to struggle with his work, The Constant Gardener though, kick-started another two decades of great writing from him.

The Constant Gardener

By John Le Carré,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Constant Gardener as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The book breathes life, anger and excitement' Observer

Tessa Quayle, a brilliant and beautiful young social activist, has been found brutally murdered by Lake Turkana in Nairobi. The rumours are that she was faithless, careless, but her husband Justin, a reserved, garden-loving British diplomat, refuses to believe them. As he sets out to discover what really happened to Tessa, he unearths a conspiracy more disturbing, and more deadly, than he could ever have imagined.

A blistering expose of global corruption, The Constant Gardener is also the moving portrayal of a man searching for justice for the woman he has barely…


Rainbow Six

By Tom Clancy,

Book cover of Rainbow Six

The best book I’ve read. I still have the hardcover edition that I bought twenty years ago, and it’s well-thumbed, trust me. Clancy, for me, was the master of the international action thriller. This one features a few of his better-known characters, including Ding Chavez and John Kelly (who was known by different names in other books). Kelly is tasked with creating a multinational anti-terror group using special forces personnel from around the world. Just in time, as a threat to mankind is unearthed.

Rainbow Six

By Tom Clancy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rainbow Six is a nerve-shredding thriller from international bestseller, Tom Clancy.

Newly named head of an elite multinational task force, John Clark faces the world's greatest fear: international terrorism. And following each terrifying new outbreak - the ghosts from his own past.

The challenge of a new mission is just what Clark needs, but the opportunities come faster than he expected. Hostage-taking at a Swiss bank. The kidnapping of an international trader. Carnage at a theme park in Spain. Each incident seems separate, yet the timing disturbs Clark.

Is there a connection? Is he being tested? Or is there a…


The American Way of Death Revisited

By Jessica Mitford,

Book cover of The American Way of Death Revisited

This is the classic, the moment at which the industrialization of death—like so much else in our lives—was made visible. And it was the start of a social movement to reclaim death as part of our social, interconnected lives. Mitford focused on the funeral industry, and how it turned death into a commodity – ‘ashes’ isn’t a good word because people would scatter them, but call them ‘human remains’ and you can charge to put them somewhere. Death often makes people feel remorse, even guilt – ah! That can be ‘satisfied’ by the purchase of a fine funeral. 

Mitford closed the book with a call for a social movement: “Whether the narrow passageway to the unknown, which everybody must cross, will continue to be as cluttered and expensive to traverse as it is today, depends in the last analysis entirely on those travelers who have not yet reached it.” (p228)…

The American Way of Death Revisited

By Jessica Mitford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The American Way of Death Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Only the scathing wit and searching intelligence of Jessica Mitford could turn an exposé of the American funeral industry into a book that is at once deadly serious and side-splittingly funny. When first published in 1963, this landmark of investigative journalism became a runaway bestseller and resulted in legislation to protect grieving families from the unscrupulous sales practices of those in "the dismal trade."

Just before her death in 1996, Mitford thoroughly revised and updated her classic study. The American Way of Death Revisited confronts new trends, including the success of the profession's lobbyists in Washington, inflated cremation costs, the…


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