Whether you are just getting started in your clean energy or sustainability career or you have working for years, it is important to keep up to date on what is happening in the business. If you are signed up for the email list, you know that ever week I include recommended articles, but if you are like me, sometimes you just want a good book. Over the course of my career and life as a reader, there are a couple of books that have helped me along the way which I like to recommend.
The book that started it all for me is Getting Green Done by Auden Schendler. Before I started my sustainability career path, I lived in the mountains of Colorado and spent most of my free time snowboarding or mountain biking. This is relevant, because Schendler is the Sustainability Director for Aspen Ski Company. When I first started down this path, I hoped to land a similar position. While my goals have changed, this book will always be meaningful to me.
Another foundational text for anyone who wants to work in this space is Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era by Amory Lovins. Amory founded the Rocky Mountain Institute along with Hunter Lovins. Lovins is often credited with inventing the term “negawatt” which is short hand for energy use avoided thanks to energy efficiency.
Hunter Lovins co-authored Natural Capitalism, along with Paul Hawken and Amory Lovins. This book was often cited by Interface founder Ray Anderson as inspiring him to fundamentally change the way his company did business.
Ray Anderson authored Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in corporate sustainability. Anderson was the CEO of Interface Carpet, now renowned as a sustainability leader due to his leadership of the company.
If you are a listener of the Energy Gang podcast from Green Tech Media, you should be familiar with Jigar Shaw. Shaw founded SunEdison and revolutionized the solar industry by popularizing the third party ownership model for rooftop solar. His book Creating Climate Wealth: Unlocking the Impact Economy is a great read for anyone seeking inspiration for climate entrepreneurship.
While this book is not sustainability related, I have found it to be immensely useful in my life and career: Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life by Stuart Diamond. Using techniques described in this book I’ve negotiated a month of free rent, an exit row seat on a transcontinental red-eye flight, and many other things. The month of rent in DC more than covered the cost of the book, believe me!
For those of you who are like me and find themselves wishing for more time to focus in and do important work, but constantly feel pulled in multiple directions, check out Deep Work by Cal Newport. Newport shares strategies for managing the digital distractions we find ourselves surrounded by today.
If none of those books interest you, here are a couple of others that I’ve found useful: