Business

Published on July 2nd, 2009 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Looking for Green Business Ideas? Check Out Gil Friend’s “The Truth about Green Business”

the truth about green business coverAnother book on green business? You may be tempted to wonder if we need another one. After all, there are already numerous classics on the subject (The Ecology of Commerce, Natural Capitalism, Mid-Course Correction), as well as more recent books that bring the subject of sustainable business into the 21st century (Green to Gold, Strategies for the Green Economy). What can Gil Friend, founder and CEO of consulting firm Natural Logic, add to the subject with his new book The Truth About Green Business? (Note: that paragraph’s brimming to the gills with affiliate links…)

The short answer, of course, is “a lot”: Gil’s spent nearly 40 years in the sustainable business field, so he’s able to address questions ranging from the general (“What’s the business case for green?”) to the very specific (“What elements should an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program include?) with deep knowledge of green business ideas, as well as plenty of real-life examples.

What makes the The Truth about Green Business really stand out, though, isn’t necessarily the quality of information, but the format of the book itself. Most of the other books mentioned above delve deeply into their topics, and require a sustained reading effort (both of which are good things, of course). Friend’s created something quite different: in the Introduction, he describes the book as “designed to help you tackle these grand ideas in simple, practical, profitable, bite-sized chunks” (specifically, 52 “truths”).

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You might be tempted to call this a reference book, but that doesn’t exactly work, as it doesn’t just impart information; it also provides questions, checklists, and resources designed to spur thinking and action. There’s even a bit of a “hypertextual” quality to the book: any one chapter/truth will point you to others necessary to make sure you understand the broad picture. You might describe it as The Ecology of Commerce meets A Whack on the Side of the Head (Yep, more affiliate links…).

Furthermore, this is a book that executives and managers can use on an “as-needed” basis: my own straight-through reading should be the exception rather than the rule. Need to get a sense of the argument for green building? Check out Truths 33-36. What about IT? Truths 37-39. Want to make a broader case for greening your company? Truths 1-5 (general green business) and 6-8 (green strategy) should fit the bill.

Now, the chosen format means some things get left out: there are no extensive case studies, for instance. The book is replete with short, on-target examples, though, from many forward-think companies. Furthermore, fairly extensive appendices listing references and resources provide ample direction for a reader that wants to delve deeper into a specific topic.

The Truth about Green Business is one of those books that any forward-thinking manager will want to have readily available. It won’t provide all the answers — it isn’t designed to do that. Rather, it does what a good consultant should do: challenges prevailing assumptions with relevant facts and questions, and then provides a framework for the reader to apply his/her own skills and talents to the problem or issue at hand.

It turns out we do need another good green business book… one that draws on the best thinking on the subject, and even points readers to some of the other works mentioned above. For busy managers, The Truth about Green Business provides a great place to start hunting for the knowledge and ideas that can lead to innovation.

More information available at Natural Logic



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • Arthur Young

    Jeff McIntire-Strasburg literally hit the nail at its head. What distinguishes Gil Friend’s The Truth About Green Business from other good green business tomes are its high level of ease of readability and its thought-and-action-provoking organization. I must check the Natural Logic website to see if it’s available to download to my flash drive.

  • Lyon

    Gil Friend’s book sounds like a good resource for managers and consumers alike – anybody hoping to gain insight into the changing marketplace.

    For more discussions on Green Business, as well as emerging technologies like Earthster and Good Guide, check out Ecological Awareness, the new audio dialogue series with Daniel Goleman, Greg Norris, Michael Lerner and Dara O’Rourke.

    Find it at More Than Sound: http://www.morethansound.net/ecological-awareness.php

  • http://www.lbgba.org Meredith Gossland

    There’s a blog that is developing an ambitious list of 1000 green jobs by the end of the year, to date, the list has 130 jobs. This blog is also furnishing links to green funding sources.
    http://www.greenbizplan.wordpress.com

  • Maria

    Hello,
    I am starting a small artisanal icre cream production and I would like to know what type of packaging is more eco friendly.
    I have been doing some research and have found different opinios.
    I appreciate your help.
    Thanks! Maria

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