Hoffman, Andrew J. & Ehrenfeld, John R. (2013) Flourishing: A Frank Conversation About Sustainability, Stanford University Press.
This astonishing book invites you into a conversation between a teacher, John R. Ehrenfeld, and his former student now professor, Andrew J. Hoffman, as they discuss how to create a sustainable world. Unlike virtually all other books about sustainability, this one goes beyond the typical stories that we tell ourselves about repairing the environmental damages of human progress.
Through their dialogue and essays that open each section, the authors uncover two core facets of our culture that drive the unsustainable, unsatisfying, and unfair social and economic machines that dominate our lives. First, our collective model of the way the world works cannot cope with the inherent complexity of today’s highly connected, high-speed reality. Second, our understanding of human behavior is rooted in this outdated model. Driven by the old guard, sustainability has become little more than a fashionable idea. As a result, both business and government are following the wrong path – at best applying temporary, less unsustainable solutions that will fail to leave future generations in better shape. To shift the pendulum, this book tells a new story, driven by being and caring, as opposed to having and needing, rooted in the beauty of complexity and arguing for the transformative cultural shift that we can make based on our collective wisdom and lived experiences. Then, the authors sketch out the road to a flourishing future, a change in our consumption and a new approach to understanding and acting.
There is no middle ground; without serious change at the most basic level, we will continue to head down a false path. Indeed, this book is a clarion call to action. Candid and insightful, it leaves readers with cautious hope.