Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reinventing Fire: A Book Review

Sustainable Industries just posted a review of Amory Lovins new book, Reinventing Fire by Jay Ogilvy, co-founder of the Global Business Network and former dean and chief academic officer at the Presidio Graduate School.

Ogilvy introduces the book by saying:

Many know Amory Lovins as what Isaiah Berlin would call a hedgehog rather than a fox: a thinker with one big idea rather than a lot of little ones. In Lovins’ case, the one big idea would be conservation though efficiency, an idea he made elegantly famous by favoring “negawatts” over megawatts--energy not used over energy that is expensively lifted out of the ground. By pursuing demand side management—the “soft path”—rather than drilling for more oil or building more nuclear plants—the “hard path”—we can end our oil addiction, reduce our energy costs, and live in a safer and more secure environment.

In Reinventing Fire, Lovins and his staff at the Rocky Mountain Institute have not surrendered the soft path vision first put forth in Foreign Affairs in 1976. But now they have filled in that big, hedgehog-like idea with enough detail to satisfy the foxes. Rather than relying on one big technological breakthrough to supply cheap, clean energy—an approach that, by comparison, looks pretty hedgehoggish—Lovins and Co. rely only on well-proven, existing technologies to chart a pragmatic path from here to a much better future.

I'll get the chance to read it myself during the upcoming between quarter break. Meanwhile, I wanted to share this new work by someone who approaches energy efficiency as a comprehensive strategy for economic and foreign policy resilience while combatting climate change.

Join team Soft Path, and win, win, win.


  1. I watched the streaming live talk Amory Lovins gave at TEDxRainier recently. I was so impressed by his approach. I can't wait to hear what you think of the book.

  2. I'm going to add Lovins' Ted talk my watch list. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Looks like another inspiring book I'll add to my wish list. Thanks for inspiring and practical blog posts, Tamara. I'll look forward to many more!