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Publisher's Summary

The Upcycle is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, the most consequential ecological manifesto of our time. Now, drawing on the lessons gained from 10 years of putting the cradle-to-cradle concept into practice with businesses, governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis: We don't just reuse resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve them as we use them.

For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. And they are practical-minded visionaries: They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings, and business practices - and they show us these ideas being put to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars, and factories are being reinvented not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour of the next industrial revolution as it unfolds in front of us.

The Upcycle is every bit as ambitious as such classics as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring - but its mission is very different. McDonough and Braungart want to turn on its head our very understanding of the human role on Earth: We should not just protect the planet from ourselves but should redesign our activity to improve the planet. And that goal is well within our reach.

©2013 William McDonough and Michael Braungart. (P)2013 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Stimulating and inventive." ( Kirkus

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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A "must read" for the environmental movement.

If you could sum up The Upcycle in three words, what would they be?

This is a comforting book for me to listen too. Living in Pennsylvania, It is hard not to loose hope for our environment. While I do not presume to be able to completely represent their argument, they state : we don't have a pollution problem, we have a design problem. They develop the idea with many examples of how to look at our choices as needing a moral center, based on fairness.

They point out that humans are a real part of the earth and have a right to life as well as other life forms. They further point out that each generations owes its children the right start fresh with a clean slate on every level. They continually illustrate the ways in which our problem is one of design, of intent. Design grows best based on the concept of heathy thriving life, centered on defining natural continuous resources and technological resources. Each, they see, as usable, but with a degree of separation. They emphasize that design should always have the objective being able to, at least, return to its primary form. They suggest looking at the use of a product in terms of its future use.

By re-stating the current environmental discussion, they reminded me of lessons my father used to make to me for his practices. And I found myself saying, of course! Thank you for reminding me of this foundation in thought.

What about Alan Sklar’s performance did you like?

Good speaking tone, didn't interfere, for me, with the ideas he was presenting. I frequently found myself thinking of him as an author.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, It made me sit down and try to construct this review! It made me feel humble to know the brilliance that lies in places of leadership. I see these men a quintessential leaders who I will look toward, in the future, for direction.

Any additional comments?

A hopeful and constructive read that is "an answer to many of my prayers".

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Required reading

This book should be required reading at the high school level globally. It will plant the seeds to shape the human races future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Essential reading (just longer than necessary)

this is definitely a classic in the field of environmental innovation, sustainable business, and social innovation. I have worked in this field for over 20 years and their work is often cited. this work is highly recommended. I enjoyed the voice of mr. sklar.

the basic idea is elegant and powerful and difficult and wonderful... But you can understand it in one chapter. The book is longer than it needs to be.

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The way forward

Read & use this book. If we want to survive on this planet (or others for that matter), we need to adopt this kind of thinking. As always there are some points I disagree with, but the vast majority is solid. They give ideas that are mostly big & require tech knowledge, but also give examples of how we regular folks can make improvements to our world by our actions. The narrator is very good, but sometimes comes across a little too preachy. Don't let that get in your way of some top notch thoughts. Enjoy

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Probably a good reference book, not great audio.

Probably a good reference book, not a great audio book. For a book about design, the writing (and so the story) is not clearly structured. It consists of stories of the author's many projects, the author's past books, and the author's non profits. my key takeaways from the book were that even when humans try to do good, they could still do better, but do not ask me where to start, because that got lost in the shuffle with this book.