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Ecological Intelligence: The Coming Age of Radical Transparency [Paperback]

Daniel Goleman
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 April 2010

Although we all want to help the environment, our knowledge of what are 'green' choices is often so limited that we can do more harm than good. But now a new phenomenon, 'radical transparency', the availability of complete information about all aspects of a product's history, is about to transform the power of consumers and the fate of business.

Ecological Intelligence shows you:

- Why a t-shirt that claims it is '100% organic cotton' may be in fact no such thing

- Why it's good to buy tulips from Kenya and wine from France

- That even the type of shampoo you use could affect the future of the planet

Knowledge is power. By discovering how to tune your eco intelligence, Daniel Goleman shows, you can make better decisions, and a better world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141039094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141039091
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 626,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Refreshingly optimistic (Financial Times)

An idea that is changing the world . . . the global economy is being remade before our eyes (Time Magazine)

About the Author

Daniel Goleman is an internationally known psychologist and journalist. He is co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning at the Yale University Child Studies Center (now at the University of Illinois at Chicago), co-chairman of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, based in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University, and a member of the board of directors of the Mind & Life Institute. His book Emotional Intelligence was on the New York Times bestseller list for a year and a half, with nearly 6 million copies in print worldwide and translated into thirty languages, it remains one of the bestselling non-fiction works of the past decade. Goleman lives in the Berkshires in the United States.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" -- Genesis 1:26

It's one thing to have power over the Earth; it's another to take good care of that gift. Dr. Daniel Goleman has long been concerned about how people can become more aware of the trade-offs that affect their health, the purity of the environment, and the sustainability of the resources that are being wasted. Most of the rules of thumb we learn about what's best for the environment are wrong in many particular instances. As a result, you need someone to analyze everything very carefully and tell you what the net effects are of option A versus option B, much as details about food contents of packages help consumers pick the best choices for their families.

In this book, Dr. Goleman looks at the information challenges and how people have responded to being provided with better information. He makes an aggressive and optimistic argument that information alone will provide the basis for people to make more rational decisions about ingredients, practices, and eliminating waste. While I hope he's right, I think he's over optimistic. While Dr. Goleman doesn't believe that government has a useful role, it's entirely possible that pollution and waste taxes can provide additional incentives to make more appropriate decisions.

Based on many years of best practice research my students and I have conducted, I agree with his assertion that eliminating waste, taking out harmful ingredients, and upgrading the surrounding environment is more profitable than the alternative.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been an essay rather than a book 20 May 2011
By ASax
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I heard about this book through a podcast about being ecological and was really excited about reading it. I have read a lot about the subject and so was looking for something new for me. This seemed to be the ideal book.

The first few chapters are interesting and informative with new information that I was not aware of and I did quite enjoy reading those. Goleman puts forward the argument that although a product may claim to be "green" and ecological, we as the buyer/ consumer do not have enough information in order to be able to judge how that product has been manufactured, what resources have been used to make it etc. What needs to happen is that products need to display this information become "transparent" with their information so that the buyer has the opportunity to decide. The book continues with various other examples of where the buyer/ consumer is kept in the dark and is therefore unable to judge the ecological value of a product.

This is all fine and interesting enough for the first 100 pages or so. However, once Goleman has made his initial arguments and explained those, the book becomes a bit slow to read since he often repeats things he has said previously. Sometimes he goes off topic and I found it difficult to relate this new topic to the subject of the book. This meant that I skipped quite large chunks of the book near the end since I was simply bored.

I think this book is good and an interesting read although I feel that it would have been better as an essay since there is not enough content here to be that long. There is repetition and long-winded arguments that go off topic.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Green skies thinking... 27 April 2011
An absorbing analysis of how to become eco-intelligent with the help of a transparent economy.

The story begins with an impulsive present bought for the author's grandson that causes some anxiety in consideration of how the toy might be coated out of lead paint. This act of ethical conscience drives the main thrust of the book in consideration of the merits of product impact cycle assessments (ICAs) at each stage of the process from extraction to manufacture, from 'cradle to cradle', i.e. recycling. The psychology of what it means to be a consumer at the hands of the green industry is explored, especially the euphemistically named 'green-wash' otherwise known as the cynical promotion of minor benefits to disguise major disbenefits. The idea of opaque-buying derived from 'satisficing' (the fusion of "it will satisfy and suffice") due to lack of time, inclination, bother and knowledge is also explained.

By drawing on research into market 'information asymmetry' Goleman lends credence to his philosophy of radical transparency, by railing against the inequality of information between consumers and companies. It reduces smart choice and rigs situations in favour of the player with inside knowledge creating an unfair advantage. Instead the power of the internet as a tool that aids and abets fairness through popular feedback and specialist expertise sites is promoted as an antidote. These become oracles of advice and best practice in the form of easily digestible ethical ratings, such as Earthster and Goodguide. A rosier future of enlightened consumerism is then plotted where radically transparent product ratings at the point of sale could supersede the present "good enough" approach of low cognition shopping.
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