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Book Review of "the Necessary Revolution" by Senger Et Al:

Updated on February 17, 2022
Nyamweya profile image

Nyamweya is a columnist with a Kenyan print media.He is also a freelance writer with various online and offline media platforms


The book, Necessary Revolution is written by Peter Senge, Bryan Smith, Nina Kruschwitz, Joe Laur and Sara Schley. It discusses how people, organizations and nations are joining hands to come up with positive changes especially in light of sustainability problems that include global warming that is a threat to humanity and the environment. The book tries to lay emphasis on issues of sustainability which have brought about a global dilemma that affects nearly all of us. Their arguments are based on the unity of mankind in trying to alleviate these sustainability problems before things get out of hand. They try to explore at ways which these actions can be profitable and suitable to businesses especially when it comes to sound policies and environmental-friendly products. In this book, the authors go on to demonstrate how man can help in sustaining life in this planet. The book 1) lists for us the major sustainability problems 2) discusses why global warming is a threat that needs to be taken seriously, 3) shows positive developments that have been occasioned by people, 4) states what makes good business sense and 5) shows how one can become a part of the solution in this movement.

The book provides a picture of how the world is in a bad shape especially in regards to degradation of the most essential elements of life that include the air we breathe, the water we drink, fertility of the soil, a stable climate and pollination. These are important factors which sustain life on this planet. The book demonstrates how these essentials are under severe attack with forests and wetlands being on the verge of vanishing .completely. It goes further to explain how our rivers and water sources are heavily polluted and how the situation forces people to migrate from villages to cities that consequently results into the development of slums, shanty towns or even squatter camps. The worst among these problems is the issue of global warming. The world is getting hotter as a result of atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This is a looming catastrophe which needs not be taken lightly. CO2 increases water acidity which in turn destroys coral reefs that are crucial to marine life. An increase in CO2 will continue to cause more warming in the atmosphere and needs to be checked. This then calls for between 60-80% emission reductions in the next two decades.

Developing countries are known to dump most of their industrial waste in rivers, lakes, oceans and soil while the more industrialized ones known to lead in terms of CO2 gas emissions. Also contributing on degradation are the existence of landfills which swallow a large section of electronic wastes, vehicles and even plastics. Also nearing depletion are non renewable resources like oil. Although coal is in found plenty it is also a major source of air pollution. Due to water pollution, access to clean water has become difficult by the day. Over-fishing and over cultivation are also depleting these resources and this poses a great threat to man's future on this planet.

Strengths of the book

The book is very educative because it spells out the various sustainability issues that are affecting mankind and how well man can be able to tackle these emerging issues.. It gives out corrective measures that should be implemented by man in order to counter the issues at hand. The book goes further and tries to advise the reader on the various steps to take for one to be useful in bringing about positive change especially in relation to matters environmental.

The book also provides enough examples of countries and the efforts they are taking to correct negative effects caused by our own actions. It is written in simple language and therefore easy to understand and does not contain technical jargon. This is a book that is suitable for anybody who wishes to understand environmental issues and not only for students.

The author’s ideas are well structured and most of them agree with scientific research and studies. He also has a section where he calls the reader to action and encourages him to join worthy efforts of improving sustainability and reduction of environmental degradation. The book compares very well with others touching on the same subject matter and tries to be on point without deviating from the main issues at hand.

Despite the authors having relied on the works of others to authenticate their works, most of their works can be considered to be original. In addition, the work contained in this book could be relevant for business managers, whether public or private sectors, advocacy groups, educational institutions, in respect to the dynamic nature of businesses and industrial processes. Moreover, the book can be utilized as a vehicle to energize any group of people and the management. What is more, the author is also among the leading business minds in the globally thus giving this work more trustworthiness.

Limitations of the book

Despite its inherent strengths, the book has a number of limitations as well. For instance, the book appears to be more of a doom and gloom book than presenting positive aspects. The author has also wrongly used the term regenerative and comparing it with the term renewable. This he does by using the term loosely especially in discussing renewable resources and the restorative phenomena. This involves the practice of mainly restoring a wetland or marsh land into its original state or by letting nature take its cause. This then is a sort of thinking that is not broad based but systematic and which actually limits the author from achieving his objectives of trying to instill this particular notion to the mind of the reader.

The authors point out that what got us into this mess in the first place is by approaching reality from a Cartesian view that sees the world divided into parts and pieces that are not connected. This has then made us to outsource solutions which allow us to get to the underlying causes of the problems. It is true that systematic thinking is needed to get us past the current crisis but this is just as limited as the Cartesian model that positioned us for the current challenge. What the authors fail to see is that the mind that created the form of system thinking is still the one they are using for the most part.

Some of the author’s viewpoints such as the continual existence of market capitalism in the uninhibited form where profits are put first before the needs of humanity are simple obvious facts. Most people understand the impact and consequences of market capitalism in the global economy and that this acted as a simple reminder and not something new. Moreover, the authors argue that humanity has to live within the limits of natural resources, considering that they are gradually getting diminished. These are obvious facts which many readers understand.


In general, the work contained in this book could be relevant for business managers, whether public or private sectors, advocacy groups, educational institutions, in respect to the dynamic nature of businesses and industrial processes. Moreover, the book can be utilized as a vehicle to energize any group of people and the management of various entities. What is more, the author is also among the leading business minds in the globally thus giving this work more trustworthiness. Nonetheless, the author can opt to leverage the limitations which have been found in the book and hence improve it as a revised version.


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