Sostane Blog


Archives for the ‘Book Reviews’



Don’t Throw It Out

A concept I have taken to heart lately and highlighted in the Story of Stuff film. Because the cost of items have become so cheap, is it really cost effective to repair that $15 toaster? A $5 pair of shoes? What do I do with a used toothbrush? What do we do with items that aren’t recyclable?

If we value not only our environment but our future generations, we need to get behind fixing what we own and repurposing what we have. Gone are the days of throwing anything that doesn’t work or of use into the trash. From this point in your life, you can ask yourself these questions: If I buy this, how will I dispose of it? This item I have and do not need, how do I keep it from going to the landfill? And this item I need to replace, can I fix it?

Packed with how to repurpose many household products, you will obtain a new prospective to the stuff that fills our lives and living spaces.

This book is my new mantra, and I hope it becomes yours too. I would highly recommend reading this book.

Don’t Throw It Out: Recycle, Renew and Reuse to Make Things Last | Lori Baird

New York, NY : Rodale | ISBN #9781594865770 |

Have you read this book? We would love to hear your opinions of it!


Book Review: Gorgeously Green

For those who have been to the Sisters meetings, you may have seen me toting around this book as it is one of the best ones geared toward green women. Featured on Oprah and a forward written by Julia Roberts, this book has definitely hit the mainstream and it does have a lot of great info.

Now, here are my two cents. I have a feeling that either women will like this book, or think it’s too cute. Personally, I am kind of in the middle, but leaning towards too cute. I want a little bit more seriousness applied to my green principals. But the facts and resources listed in this book are spot on and exactly what I would recommend to others.

I am really glad to see some more books coming out geared just for women – with all of the beauty, cleansers and children’s products we encounter, this is a great reference manual. I also found it really practical – combatting the urge to shop and consume (which was me about a year ago) and getting in touch with your natural side. The book definitely sets a realistic tone and guides you towards small steps, instead of feeling guilty for not being ‘mother earth’ instantly overnight.

I would highly recommend this book.

Gorgeously Green | Sophie Uliano

New York : Collins | ISBN #9780061575563 |
(I got my personal copy used when I visited Powells in Portland)

Have you read this book? We would love to hear your opinions of it!


Book Review: Green to Gold

This book is a great source for those who really want to see the advantage a business can benefit from by taking part in the eco revolution. Many successful examples and mis-steps of corporations leave me wanting to know a bit more about what small businesses can do. But if you think creatively, you can scale the stories to inspire what a sole-proprietor could do.

I really appreciate the idea that we need to take it beyond Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, but add on the base concepts of Redesign and Reimagine to support the first three.

The chapters on What WaveRiders Do, Inspiring and Eco-Advantage Culture, Why Environmental Initiatives Fail are not to be missed. These sections really gave me the momentum to move forward with my own endeavors.

Green to Gold | Daniel C Esty, Andrew S Winston

New Haven | ISBN #9780300119978

Have you read this book? We would love to hear your opinions of it!


Book Review: Stirring it Up

Following the personal story of the author (owner of Stonyfield Farm), the book takes more of a lead by example mentality where it describes the steps he took with his own business. I agreed with the message of adopting green principles and practices do have large financial gains over the long run, build brand loyalty and reduce advertising costs.

Mostly memoir with some corporate examples, I appreciated the honesty with which he writes and what successes and failures he had along the way.

Also loved the last chapter foreshadowing a perfect world in 2028, but the coupons printed in the back of the book seemed pretty cheesy. Just pointing to a website and telling people how to purchase his products would suffice.

Stirring it Up | Gary Hirshberg

New York : Hyperion | ISBN #9781401303440

Have you read this book? We would love to hear your opinions of it!


Book Review: Better Basics for the Home

A huge resource of household recipes for cleaners, skin and body care, gardening, house care and hobbies. There is so much information that I would really recommend having your own copy. Descriptions of why these natural alternatives are better for you cover what the grocery/drug store originals contain that are toxic and what herbs and ingredients are beneficial for you.

Starting out with a very informative glossary of terms about animal and herbal ingredients, it gives you a great rule of thumb to stick to whenever you are cleaning and which ingredients in products to watch out for.

Of course it covers the age-old benefits of vinegar and baking soda, but there are so many other ingredients you already have around your home that you can start implementing these right away.

Great for mothers who are concerned about exposing their children and families to toxic chemicals that can be found in many household products, and also for those just to live a more natural lifestyle. Covers all-purpose household cleaners, body creams and lotions, laundry products, and more.

Better Basics for the Home | Annie Berthold-Bond

Three Rivers Press | ISBN #9780609803257

Have you read this book? We would love to hear your opinions of it!


Book Review: The Sustainability Handbook

I was very surprised when I started reading this book with how friendly it was written. This 800+ page book seemed like a daunting textbook at first, but after reading the intro was pleasantly surprised with it’s readablity. Even the intro has a section on “Nobody’s Perfect.”

Make sure you check out chapter 12 on sustainability for small and struggling companies, although the struggling part is about a page and half.

The author is very down to earth and practical with their thinking and even though they tackle some huge topics, especially for large corporations, government and organizations, I would definitely keep this book on hand.

If you really want to sink your teeth into Sustainability and implementing it in your own organization or want to help other small businesses, I would say this is one of the best primers. The size of the book is a bit much, but the information is excellent.

The Sustainability Handbook | William R. Blackburn

EarthScan | ISBN #9781844074952

Have you read this book? We would love to hear your opinions of it!