Monday, September 22, 2008

Book Review: Ready, Set, Green - Graham Hill & Meaghan O'Neill

I'm getting my book, the Green Business Bible, edited and it is a painful experience. All the bits you think are clever get kicked out as they usually mean nothing to the reader, or worse, would distract or confuse them. You get asked to justify your sweeping statements and changes in tone are hunted down and mercilessly shot. It hurts you to protect your readers.

Ready, Set, Green by's Hill and O'Neill is another eco book which needs a really tough editor (they're in good company - the mighty Jonathan Porritt has far too many exclamation marks in Capitalism as if the World Matters - ie more than zero). While there's plenty of good stuff in there, too many things really bugged me:

- The subtitle is 'Eight Weeks to Modern Eco-living' - why eight weeks, apart from you've got eight chapters? Most of the small stuff ("save the planet in 30 minutes or less" ) could be implemented immediately (8 days?), and the "so you want to do more" things would take you at least 8 months.

- The sudden appearance of unexplained jargon like "anthropogenic emissions" and "secondary raw materials" jars with the matey tone.

- There are some real humdingers like this definition of an ecological footprint: "Put simply, it is a calculation that works to ascertain planetary limits, like a spreadsheet of environmental checks and balances". Not simple and doesn't really make sense. It is also inaccurate - a footprint it is actually a measure of how the impact of our lifestyle compares with planetary limits, not the limits themselves.

- the references to the books Cradle to Cradle and Biomimicry appear to be there to show off the knowledge of the authors, not add to the effectiveness of the message.

- the things in "save the planet in 30 minutes or less" won't save the planet by a long stretch.

All this is a shame as the book is packed with good ideas and interesting facts. Get an editor, a really tough one, and this could be a good book.

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At 12:08 PM, Blogger Green Bob said...

Thanks for the book review. It's increasing difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. It's in part why some friends and I started - a green directory for Austin Texas.
I look forward to your book!


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