To be honest, the title of this post says everything that needs to be said, so I won’t belabour the point. Rather, since my magnum opus (if anything that can be read from cover to cover in under an hour could ever be described as such!) may soon disappear from Amazon, I wanted to let people know that, instead, I’m making it available to download for free, as a PDF; also to record for posterity some of the very kind words people wrote about it in customer reviews.
For all the equally kind words Live Long and Prosper received from luminaries such as Paul Polman, Jonathon Porritt and John Elkington, it’s these reviews that I truly cherish, because they nail the essence what Kevin Keohane, me and our fellow 55-minute guide authors set out to do: namely, to give our readers the maximum possible insight, while taking from them the least possible time. I couldn’t have asked for better…
I bought Live Long and Prosper out of curiosity to see how it would tackle the complex convergence of sustainability, brand and design in a book that could be read in only 55 minutes. It does it well.
Billed as a ‘quick and dirty’ tour with ‘no fluff. No filler. No jargon’, I’m not sure this description quite does the book justice. Admittedly, the style is no-nonsense, however this only helps convey highly complicated concepts in a concise, clear and accessible format that will appeal to the seasoned sustainability professional, as well as those new to this space.
As someone well-versed in the concept of a sustainable business and brand, it was a great book to re-elevate my thinking out of the day-to-day issues, re-grounding me in the importance of what building a sustainable brand really means – the ability to exist in 50 years time. The short summaries on each page are great sound bites – handy for those conversations with the non-believers! In fact, this is an ideal book to hand out to the skeptics that I meet on a daily basis.
Yes this book can be read fast but I challenge readers to get through it without pausing to think or jot things down. A few extra minutes – in my view, it’s time well spent.
For those who have already read the first edition of “Live Long and Prosper”, you know how fantastic this little treasure is. I don’t know how he did it, but author Dan Gray has updated and improved his 55-minute Guide to Building Sustainable Brands and has (in my humble opinion) created the best guide to how sustainability issues can and will influence business in the opening decades of the 21st century. For anyone with an interest in the future of business and brand value, you owe it to yourself to get this book!
[About me: I recently completed a multi-year graduate degree in sustainable business at a top-ranked US business school, and when I read this book I was amazed at how it manages to combine the most important themes from my (very expensive) education into 100 thoughtful, concise, and easy-to-digest pages.]
A few of my personal favorite updates in the 2nd edition include a feature on “Creating Shared Value” first advanced by Michael Porter at Harvard Business School, an explanation of the dichotomy between thin vs thick value, and a new section on “Design for Sustainability” and biomimicry (the most exciting field within sustainability today).
This 55-Minute Guide has been near the top of my sustainability reading list since it was first published, but now that it has been updated it is going right to the top of the pile. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Distil down all the critical points you might hear from a well-informed sustainable business consultant, using everyday language grounded in practical business fundamentals rather than emotive arguments, and deliver it in a form that even a slow reader can squeeze into an hour (with time left over to make a cup of tea), and you’ll end up with something like this.
As someone who works in the field and consults with some of the world’s biggest companies, I can honestly say that if I were given a chance to spend an hour locked in a room with a global CEO, to persuade him or her to think differently, I would seriously consider keeping my mouth shut and just handing over a copy of this.
Global CEOs: buy and read this.
People who have the ear of global CEOs: buy and make them read this.
People who consult with global CEOs: buy, read and absorb the simplicity and clarity of this.
Everyone else who cares about the impact of business on our planet and society: ok, you get the message!