The Upcycle

  • by William McDonough, Michael Braungart
  • Narrated by Alan Sklar
  • 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Upcycle is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, the most consequential ecological manifesto of our time. Now, drawing on the lessons gained from 10 years of putting the cradle-to-cradle concept into practice with businesses, governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis: We don't just reuse resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve them as we use them.
For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. And they are practical-minded visionaries: They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings, and business practices - and they show us these ideas being put to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars, and factories are being reinvented not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour of the next industrial revolution as it unfolds in front of us.
The Upcycle is every bit as ambitious as such classics as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring - but its mission is very different. McDonough and Braungart want to turn on its head our very understanding of the human role on Earth: We should not just protect the planet from ourselves but should redesign our activity to improve the planet. And that goal is well within our reach.


What the Critics Say

"Stimulating and inventive." (Kirkus


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A "must read" for the environmental movement.

If you could sum up The Upcycle in three words, what would they be?

This is a comforting book for me to listen too. Living in Pennsylvania, It is hard not to loose hope for our environment. While I do not presume to be able to completely represent their argument, they state : we don't have a pollution problem, we have a design problem. They develop the idea with many examples of how to look at our choices as needing a moral center, based on fairness.

They point out that humans are a real part of the earth and have a right to life as well as other life forms. They further point out that each generations owes its children the right start fresh with a clean slate on every level. They continually illustrate the ways in which our problem is one of design, of intent. Design grows best based on the concept of heathy thriving life, centered on defining natural continuous resources and technological resources. Each, they see, as usable, but with a degree of separation. They emphasize that design should always have the objective being able to, at least, return to its primary form. They suggest looking at the use of a product in terms of its future use.

By re-stating the current environmental discussion, they reminded me of lessons my father used to make to me for his practices. And I found myself saying, of course! Thank you for reminding me of this foundation in thought.

What about Alan Sklar’s performance did you like?

Good speaking tone, didn't interfere, for me, with the ideas he was presenting. I frequently found myself thinking of him as an author.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, It made me sit down and try to construct this review! It made me feel humble to know the brilliance that lies in places of leadership. I see these men a quintessential leaders who I will look toward, in the future, for direction.

Any additional comments?

A hopeful and constructive read that is "an answer to many of my prayers".

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- Martha

Required reading

This book should be required reading at the high school level globally. It will plant the seeds to shape the human races future.
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- Devin Derstine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-29-2013
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio