The Positive Deviant: Sustainability Leadership in a Perverse World

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An economy low in carbon and high in life satisfaction will require thousands, if not millions of exceptional leaders. This book is the first to bring together sustainability knowledge with the leadership skills and tools to help you become one of those leaders. In it you will find everything you need to get started straight away, and to grow your effectiveness, even in a world that remains perversely intent on the opposite. Whether you are new to the whole idea of sustainability, or reasonably well informed but not entirely confident about what to do for the best, this guide will help you 'do' sustainability. Free of checklists and policy recommendations,
the focus is on you, and on developing your capacity to identify the right thing to do wherever you are and whatever your circumstances. This is essential reading for those in or aspiring to sustainability-literate leadership, and a must for all those teaching leadership and management.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"We are going to need the best possible leaders to guide us out of this mess and start us on the path to a sustainable future. In this fascinating book, Sara Parkin condenses her years of teaching experience into the definitive 'how-to' guide to sustainability leadership. Should be compulsory reading for everyone over 16."Tim Jackson, Economics Commissioner, UK Sustainable Development Commission and author of Prosperity without Growth

"Want to know how the future thinks? Plug into the world of the Forum for the Future Scholars. As Sara Parkin, eminence grise behind the Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development, puts it, 'The Future starts here'" – John Elkington, Executive Chairman, Volans Ventures; co-founder, SustainAbility; co-author, The Power of Unreasonable People

"With stalled international conferences and debates, and with the need for a sustainable economy and ways of enjoying life ever more pressing, this book is a brilliant response. It takes us by the hand and leads us through the ambiguities, the uncertainties and the difficulties and shows us what we can all do. And why we need to do it." – Chris Smith, Chairman, Environment Agency of England and Wales

"A veritable bible for leaders everywhere - business schools take note!' – David Puttnam, film producer and politician

"If life is too short to stuff a mushroom, it certainly isn't long enough to delay action on climate change. Business, government and campaigners alike, The Positive Deviant will give you all you need to become a sustainability leader and do the right thing yourself - straight away and despite the ditherers." – Fiona Reynolds, Director, The National Trust

"This book offers an opportunity...for anyone in or aspiring to a leadership role to get up to speed on essential information very quickly...,and, until there are many more suitable courses available, to design for themselves a journey to sustainability-literate leadership." – PRWeb, September 2010

"This book is a thoughtful, stimulating and timely contribution to currenty thinking on sustainability" – In Touch Magazine

"For anyone aspiring to be sustainability literate positive deviant this is a recommended read. It is full of good practical ideas, tools and techniques grounded in Parkins' lifelong experience in the pursuit of sustainability."Steve Martin, IES

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849711180
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara Parkin is Founder Director of Forum for the Future, the UK's foremost sustainable development charity and a life-long campaigner for a socially and environmentally just way of life. She established the well regarded Leadership for Sustainable Development Masters at Forum and received an OBE in 2001 for services to education and sustainability. In the past Sara has played leadership roles in the UK and European Green Parties.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes

About the Author


List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Introduction Positive deviance: A 21st century revolution 1

Section One The Anatomy and Physiology of Unsustainable Development 13

Introduction Getting the diagnosis right matters 15

Chapter 1 The symptoms 17

Examine the whole patient 17

Summary of symptoms 45

Chapter 2 Anatomy and physiology 47

The anatomy: Laws of nature have been broken 48

The physiology: Home economics 60

The diagnosis: A compound error theory of history 62

Chapter 3 The treatment 65

Four reflections: Capital, money, markets, growth 66

Reconciliation economics: What does good look like? 74

Conclusion A once in a lifetime chance to get it right 85

Section Two Lost Leadership 87

Introduction A dysfunctional system 89

Chapter 4 The best and worst of it: Leadership today 93

Traditional leadership theories 95

Contemporary leadership theories 104

Evaluation 114

Chapter 5 Business school betrayal 123

Corporate (social) responsibility compromised 125

The anti-CR argument 134

Green shoots 136

Conclusion Transformation means no going back 139

Section Three Sustainability-Literate Leadership 141

Introduction Let thousands of positive deviants flourish! 143

Chapter 6 Four habits of thought 145

Resilience 145

Relationships 148

Reflection 150

Reverence 153

Chapter 7 New perspectives and broad knowledge 155

A sustainability-literate world view 155

A good enough knowledge base 162

Chapter 8 Principles of practice and tools of the trade 171

Principles of practice 171

Evaluating outcomes 191

Tools for change 195

Conclusion Practical wisdom 230

Section Four The Global Sustainability to do List 231

Introduction Global challenges, local contributions 233

Chapter 9 A global sustainability to do list 235

Two models for thinking about sustainability on a global scale 250

Conclusion Design your own 256

Prologue The Future Starts Now 257

Appendix Positive deviants 263

Notes 275

Bibliography A good read 287

Index 303

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