Troy’s Book Club: "Making a Living…"

“Making a Living While Making a Difference” by Melissa Everett

I’m embarrassed to say how long ago I bought this book, but even though I only read the intro at that time, it gave me some good advice.  It suggested that all people, regardless of their specific job role, CAN make a difference.  Non-profits needs accountants, environmental groups need lawyers, for-profit manufacturers needs environmental officers…everyone can conduct their work in a way that is beneficial to the community and the environment.  No matter the work you do, you CAN do it in a way guided by positive values, benefiting the environment, your immediate community, and to a lesser degree, the worldwide community.

I believe the Universe brings the things we need to us when we need them.  I have been a bit listless lately and last night came across this book in my office.  The world can be a nifty place when you connect meaning to coincident.  My coming across “Making a Living While Making a Difference” seemed like a meaningful coincidence.  It’s time to read this book.  It’s time to find new ideas for making my business more successful and to reaffirm the operating principle I’ve tried to maintain: when I work within my values, the work I make is better and the clients happier because we are all working for more than just money, but to make the world a better place too.

Making a Living While Making a Difference

You can also find the book in our fine Milwaukee Count Library System

  • “The premise of this book is that we become more effective in deploying our skills when our choices are consciously driven by values and life-affirming passions.” (my italics)
  • “Values are not a luxury.”
  • re: this choice in life-directing, “Do not think for a moment that this approach means less conflict or complexity.  Often it brings more of these, many difficult trade-offs, and a spectacular potential for unintended consequences.”
  • “If you want to make a real difference, consider going into a company as a product designer or accountant.  Be a regular worker, but do your work in new ways.”-Rod Day, research associate Mgt. Institute for Environment and Business
  • “If your local government doesn’t have a position called ‘bicycle transportation coordinator,’ find a job in a related agency where people are open-minded, do your job, and make a project of the innovation you want.”–Kevin Doyle, Environmental Careers Org
  • “an international movement that calls itself New Work,…urges people…design their lives with multiple sources of security and expression…hybrids of jobs, business ventures, barter and simpler living.”
  • “According to Holly Givens, of the Organic Trade Association, there are approximately 5000 certified organic farms in the US (when this version was published in 1999). (Now, according to the Organic Farming Research Foundation, there are approximately 13,000 certified organic farms in the US.  Despite that growth, organic farming still only accounts for 2% of the US food supply.  Here is a map, from the New York Times, showing the distribution of organic farms in the country.  Way to go Wisconsin!
  • re: CSA farms (Community-Supported Agriculture): “…What happened here has happened in many CSAs: not only does the community support the farm, but the farm helps to reignite the spark of community.”
  • “It’s easier than ever to be a freelance communicator, but as competitive as ever to make a complete living at it.”
  • “There is a growing body of research that employee retention, morale, and productivity are positively affected by a culture that employees regard as ‘values-based’.”

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