When we created this site, back before Natural Capitalism was published, we decided to call this area "Cheers & Jeers" because we expected roughly equal amounts of each. But so far, the book has received almost pure praise. Frankly, this is a bit embarrassing. Visitors are starting to complain. C'mon, reviewers, let's have some jeers! (By the way, if you think we've stacked the deck here, check out the writeups at amazon.com.)

See also the June 2000 press release summarizing the praise Natural Capitalism has received. For more detailed discussion of Natural Capitalism, go to Beyond the Book.

Published Reviews

Netsurfer Books (September 20, 2003):
"This is a provocative, energizing book that aims to improve economic planning by discarding unexamined assumptions, thinking in terms of systems, and valuing non-renewable natural resources. The authors demonstrate how waste can be radically reduced and both social benefits and profits be enhanced by reconceptualizing how we do business, make products, manage services. Rather than buying an air conditioner, if a customer buys the product of cool air and a business provides it in the most economical way, the provider is motivated to create the most efficient air conditioner possible, to maintain it well, and to recycle it as completely as possible when it no longer functions satisfactorily. This approach can allow all of us to live better using half the material and energy that now support a diminishing quality of life. The penultimate chapter of the book is devoted to the amazing, heartening successes achieved since 1972 by the city of Curitiba, Brazil. Through integrated design and planning and a determination to improve life for all its citizens, its economy is based on sound environmental principles, clean industry, and broad access to services, creating jobs in the process. Invitingly written, Natural Capitalism is highly recommended to anyone concerned with making a business succeed, as well as to all concerned with reversing human despoliation of our environment."—Charlene M. Woodcock, Book Review Editor, Netsurfer Digest

The Nation (Feb. 28, 2000):
"Natural Capitalism is so informative and provocative—and so unfashionably optimistic about the future of the planet—that I wonder why everyone in public life is not reading it and arguing over the implications. The President did volunteer a nice plug for the book when it came out a few months ago, but it has yet to be reviewed by virtually any leading publication. Literary culture doesn't grasp the high drama of industrial engineering. Newspaper editors, like other Americans, are transfixed by business stories about moguls and supermoguls from this gilded age and the previous one.

"The book will find its audience, regardless. It is that important. The authors are setting out a boldly different framework for understanding the ecological crisis.… This perspective has something to offend nearly everyone: Business interests will choke on the apocalyptic description of the earth in crisis but may be flattered by the suggestion that they have the means to solve it. Most environmentalists agree on the vast dimensions of the threat to nature but may dismiss the authors' can-do optimism as dangerously naive. I have particular doubts of my own. Nevertheless, Natural Capitalism poses an intelligent challenge to lazy assumptions on both sides of the political divide and ought to jump-start a reinvigorated environmental debate." —William Greider

Yes! (spring 2000):
"As a call to arms, the book excels. As a comprehensive analysis, it falls short. The sunny tone and Panglossian vision, while perhaps necessary to alert the complacent reader, are in many ways the book's greatest flaws. The relentless good cheer seems forced, as if the authors were trying to exorcise the ghost of Jimmy Carter's cardigan-clad presidency from their keyboards. As described here, Hawken-and-Lovins-land is malaise-free, with no politically uncomfortable belt-tightening required. Issues of power and privilege are irrelevant, they seem to be saying, as long as someone with a white lab coat is watching inputs and outflows.…

"The authors perform a vital service. Shaking the trees on this critical subject is necessary, and the low-hanging fruit that may fall as a result will, without doubt, lighten the heavy toll human activities take on their environment. It is too bad that the authors don't trust us to appreciate an important, if partial, argument. By attempting a theory of everything, Natural Capitalism undermines the power of its central message. The main thesis, that modern life is in part an engineering problem, is a powerful one and can stand alone." —Andre Carouthers

Amicus Journal (fall 1999):
"Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins are the advocates and technicians most responsible for shaping this emerging, pro-investment, win-win (profitable and preservationist) brand of environmentalism. In the past decade, the Lovinses and their colleagues at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Paul Hawken at The Natural Step/USA have brought about a sea change in our thinking about the upside potential of industrial ecology. Natural Capitalism brilliantly details their most recent thinking about hyper-efficiency—the next industrial revolution.… Henceforth, a familiarity with the logical and empirical basis of Natural Capitalism will be necessary to any informed discussion about the root causes of our ecological problems. And, for those looking for solutions to heal the planet most effectively and expeditiously, this is your book.

"Natural Capitalism is encyclopedic in scope.…It is simply impossible to summarize all the information contained in this book." —Allen Hershkowitz

The Economist (Nov. 13, 1999):
"Much of what the authors argue for is sensible, and certainly desirable. But what makes this book worth reading is the fact that the authors have taken as first principles for their Utopia the harsh truths of Darwinian capitalism: individuals and companies act in their self interest, and markets guide that impulse through prices."

Christian Science Monitor (Nov 10, 1999):
"Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution is both a call to arms and a revelation. Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins not only show how today's industrialists and economists can change to work in harmony with the environment, they reveal how many of them already are doing so—and improving profitability in the process.… This is radical stuff. But in an age when 6 billion people—likely to grow to 9 billion in a lifetime—are using up resources at accelerating rates, it's also the only way to grow an economy without depleting the natural capital on which it's based." —Brad Knickerbocker

Nature (Nov. 4, 1999):
"…a visionary new book that is truly appropriate for the new millennium with its focus on ultra-efficiency of energy and materials.… Over-visionary as some of the book's findings may appear to some eyes, the advance towards natural capitalism is surely as inevitable as it is possible." —Norman Myers

The Director
"Part vision, part practical business manual, and stuffed full of pertinent working examples."

The Independent
"This is smart, strategic thinking.… The book presents an extraordinary catalog of brilliant, profitable and environmentally informed design."

Business Digest
"A book not to be missed."

Pre-Publication Reviews

"If Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations was the bible for the first Industrial Revolution, then Natural Capitalism may well prove to be it for the next. I believe that the only real alternative to our 'take, make, and waste' society lies in a revolution of aspiration and inspiration. The aspiration must come from us, from seeing the world we intend to leave our children and their children. The inspiration will come from shared understanding of the principles for an economic system consistent with how nature works, and from seeing that it can be done, thanks to books like the stunning Natural Capitalism."—Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline

"Your book is hugely important and ought to be on the nightstand of every CEO."—Thomas Petzinger Jr, Millennium Edition Editor, The Wall Street Journal

"Three world-class minds. One giant leap for sustainability… I have no hesitation in saying that Natural Capitalism is one of the most important books since Karl Marx's Das Kapital."—John Elkington, Chairman, SustainAbility Ltd; author of Cannibals With Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business

"Natural Capitalism reads like a manifesto, a touching and powerful credo, for the second industrial revolution. Three of the world's best brains have put together all their wisdom and created a work that future historians may look back upon as a milestone on our way to a new, sustainable economy. In this book you will find a wealth of constructive, forward-looking ideas and suggestions, based on solid scientific research. I applaud the three for their significant contribution to mankind!"—Tachi Kiuchi, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Chairman of The Future 500

"This book is a 'must read' for those leaders in government and business who do not believe that sustainability is necessary or practical. It shows both the need and the way to all those who are not yet ready to do what we must do to leave a livable world to our grandchildren."—Murray Duffin, Vice-president Total Quality and Environmental Management, STMicroelectronics

"As the industrial arm of modern society's larger body struggles to come to terms with the mounting evidence of the damage it is inflicting on the body itself and the body's home, Earth, Natural Capitalism provides some crucially important guidance. Looking for a viable philosophical starting point? Here it is. Looking for hard evidence to validate that philosophy? Here it is. Looking for peace of mind? Start here."—Ray C. Anderson, Chairman and CEO, Interface, Inc.

"Anyone serious about business sustainability ignores this book at their peril. Here are the reasons for the explosion in ecological thinking in companies, and true to the Lovinses' form the book is packed with information and explanations about many new developments. This is natural capitalism at work"—Tessa Tennant, NPI Asset Management

"The whole concept of natural capital manages to be both pragmatic and idealistic which, in my book, adds up to inspirational. By emphasizing the relatively intimate idea of interactive services within the global economy, the authors underline the chain of responsibility that extends from supplier to producer to consumer. We all have our part to play in the future they outline. This intimidating, empowering challenge is lucidly defined in Natural Capitalism."—Anita Roddick, Founder, The Body Shop International

"This is surely THE publishing event for the new millennium. It demonstrates that if we don't change our economic ways smartly, our present lifestyles will hardly make it through the first one percent of the way to the next millennium. We shall either change by choice or we shall change by environmental force of circumstance—which is becoming ever-more forceful. Fortunately the authors are no doomsters and gloomsters. Quite the opposite: they show us, case by graphic case, that we can more readily squeeze through the bottleneck ahead if we streamline our economies, making them less wasteful, more productive and generally more supportive of our ultimate well-being. Altogether a hyper-hopeful book—and splendid fun to read."—Professor Norman Myers CMG, Hon. Visiting Fellow, Green College, Oxford

"In Natural Capitalism, Hawken and the Lovinses have created the equivalent of a 'Field Guide to Sustainability.' You had better have a copy of this on your shelf or you will not be able to identify tomorrow's companies and industries as they appear before your eyes."—Professor Stuart Hart, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina

"A thoughtful, thought-provoking, and radical vision of how to do business with sensitivity toward the natural environment."—Professor Eric W. Orts, Director, Environmental Management Program, The Wharton School

"I have only just begun to read this book and it is more exciting than any sci fi that I have ever read, and it is fact, not fiction! ... There are, of course, many literary masterpieces; this may be the first of the new millennium—an appropriate mind-set for the achievement of a sustainable future for all of us on "The Home Planet". And none too soon! If you are looking for inspiration, this book contains enough affirmations to make a believer out of Henry Ford!"—John J. Hague, BC Utilities Commission

"The most important book of our times."—George Leonard, author of Mastery and The Way of Aikido

"There is not an idea in this powerful book that doesn't make intuitive, obvious, immediate, calculable sense. We are at one of the historical moments of crisis when those forces must be routed, and change unleashed; Natural Capitalism comes not a moment too soon."—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and The Age of Missing Information

"Natural Capitalism…is a conceptual milestone on the road toward ecological
sustainability."—Fritjof Capra, author of The Web of Life

"By illuminating the common ground between economics, environment, and society with crystal clarity and eloquence, Natural Capitalism is the design manual for the 21st century. Read it! Read it again!"—David W. Orr, Oberlin College, author of Earth in Mind

"Natural Capitalism is the most important book of the century, a handbook of solutions and restoration that will have CEOs and ecologists cheering together.…After reading this book, there is no longer any excuse for pessimism and inaction. Required reading for all crewmembers of Spaceship Earth."—David Brower, Chairman, Earth Island Institute

"Whither capitalism, now that the communist dragon is slain? Hawken and the Lovinses map out a scenario that will appall conventional economists, unsettle conventional environmentalists and delight anyone who wants to see the Earth both protected and revered and responsible wealth creators allowed to flourish. If any book can be said to usher in a hopeful new age, it's this."—Jonathon Porritt, Director, Forum for the Future

"The survival clock is ticking! In the next decade many social, environmental, and political movements will morph into a new 'sustainable production and consumption' movement. Natural Capitalism will help lead that historic trend. The authors provide inspiring principles and examples on how to move forward."—Randall Hayes, President, Rainforest Action Network

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