Today my guest is Paul Hawken. Paul is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, and activist. Paul is the author of at least eight books, many articles, blog posts. President Bill Clinton called his book, Natural Capitalism, one of the five most important books today. Paul’s latest book is called Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global Warming. Although Paul didn’t write this book Drawdown to give hope, he calls hope the pretty mask of fear. Saying instead that we must be fearless, not hopeful. I think you’ll find something in Paul’s interview here, something in Paul’s writing, that will help you to live more fully, more fearlessly.
00:02:01 – What is life about?
00:16:50 – People feeling powerless.
00:26:37 – Drawdown introduction.
00:33:19 – With what’s going on in the environment, is retirement planning necessary?
00:49:47 – What will the planet look like 50 years from now?
01:07:54 – Lightning round.
01:12:48 – Paul recommends libraries and used bookstores.
01:18:52 – Time structure as a writer.
01:27:46 – As a writer, how do you know you have something?
01:36:41 – The writing process.
01:48:35 – Read the books that save you from reading all the derivative books.
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken
Paul Hawken: Project Drawdown | Real Time with Bill Maher
Paul Hawken on Twitter
Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World
Bryan: 00:00:00 Today my guest is Paul Hawken. Paul is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, and activist. Paul is the author of at least eight books, many articles, blog posts. President Bill Clinton called his book, Natural Capitalism, one of the five most important books today. Paul is an accomplished speaker. He’s also an entrepreneur and a humanitarian. Paul’s latest book is called Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global Warming. Paul was recently a guest on Bill Maher show. Bill called humanity, Thelma and Louise driving right into the canyon, hoping some great big machine is going to soak up all our pollution and save us. Hawken calls this the silver bullet mentality. One of the things that I love about Paul is that he is very focused on possibilities. He recognizes that ultimately fear is ineffective to drive us to any kind of lasting, meaningful change and instead recognizes that every problem we face, either personally or as a society, is ultimately a solution in disguise. Although Paul didn’t write this book Drawdown to give hope, he calls hope, the pretty mask of fear. Saying instead that we must be fearless, not hopeful. I think you’ll find something in Paul’s interview here, something in Paul’s writing, that will help you to live more fully, more fearlessly.
Bryan: 00:02:01 Paul, I want to start with a question it’s one of my favorite questions to begin. What’s life about?
Paul: 00:02:08 Life’s about creating the conditions for life? That’s what life is. That’s what it does. That’s what it’s always done. We’re life and that’s what makes our life meaningful and gives us gratitude, gives us enjoyment, gives us fulfillment, gives us meaning, gives us purpose, gives us the sense that we belong. As opposed to our outsiders or you know, like alienated or disillusioned or loaners. It gives us a sense of community, connection. It gives us a sense of humility or you know, that it’s such a complex, wondrous, miraculous thing that we are connected to and creating the conditions that are conducive to life and that’s what life does in real life. So I think people know it, excuse me, knew it instinctively when we’re certainly when we were hunter gatherers, you know. And it doesn’t mean they didn’t take, you know, there wasn’t conflict. But I’m just saying is that as a hunting gathering communities, you know, they were so dependent on the interrelationship they had with their surroundings, with her environment. And they learned the hard way or the good way, one way or the other. They learned how to interact with that environment, respect it. So there was sustained, uh, so that they were sustained. And so therefore, again, it was that interconnectedness that they learned and embedded in their customs and morays and their language. So that science, cosmology, and, and food and history were all inseparable. Whereas in English they’re categorized and siloed, especially since the victorian period.
Bryan: 00:03:53 Yeah, I was just about to ask you, when did that change? Which I know built into that question is the assumption that it did, right? But instead I want to ask this is everything alive?
Paul: 00:04:07 Well, um, it depends how you look at it. I mean, in terms of biology, no. I mean a rock isn’t alive, um, bad if you step back conceptually. But if you step back and look at the universe, okay, well, is it alive or is the planet alive? Then you’re dealing with a different definition of life because you’re dealing with is time spans. Because a rock or rocks for example, become live. You know, when they’re broken down by the bacteria that seeds on the extra dates from plants, you know. That then make the rock bioavailable to the root and it goes up into the food and goes into the human and so forth. So when, again, you get to that level of connectedness, it’s really difficult to see where life leaves off and, and so called non-life begins. And I know that when you look at, say root structures, you know, you can have a plant and if you actually do the, if you could actually calculate, you know, um, the length of the roots. And, and again, the hair roots, the tiny, tiny roots that you never see really. I mean, you’re talking about tens of thousands of miles from one plant. And, um, and literally several scientists will say, or at least have said that you cannot distinguish when a root leaves off and soil begin. You know there isn’t that bright line. And so if there’s not a bright line there, then how could it be otherwise. Sense all of us, every little creature on, on the planet depends on food in some sort of fashion and on photosynthesis and on plants and all plants too depend on soil. And so is the most complex ecosystem in the world, more complex than oceans more complex. One square inch of soil is more complex and any wetland, any, um, uh, forest, tropical rain forests, square inches of soil has more different organisms and the interactions are more complex. So when you look at it that way, then the distinction between biology and then limnology and climatology and all these different ologies, basically scientific disciplines actually break down.
Bryan: 00:06:40 It’s amazing to look at it that way because there’s this case then that science really validates maybe what indigenous wisdom has always known about the interconnectedness or the inseparability of, of things of life. Um, I want to explore this a little further, but before we go much further, I want to ask you if you will share with me and with those who are listening; when people ask you who you are and what you do, what do you say? How do you answer that question usually.
Paul: 00:07:12 Well usually no one asks me that. They think that it’s the other way around. They think that they actually know what I do and who I am and what I stand for. Because there’s all these books and articles and stuff out there, you know, so far. Usually what you run into is, Paul Hawken is, they already have an idea of what that means, that name, you know, and so forth. Um, and so it’s very, it’s very rare that anybody asks actually. And you say like when people ask, I can’t remember anybody else in that question. But I do think it, it, it speaks to the inevitable, which is that, you know, all of us are making this up as we go along. Okay. We can get hardcoded, so to speak, or you know, sort of rigidly attached to our identity and then try to replicate our own identity of all things. Which doesn’t really exist anywhere except that our mind, but you know. And the identity than is something that other people project back onto us because we put it forward in the world. And so there is this sort of, um, back and forth. But the fact is that we’re all the same in a sense that we, our identity doesn’t exist. It’s just made up. It’s just make believe. And so the question is what are you doing here, you know, as consciousness. And, and for me it’s a, it’s about learning. It’s about curiosity. I’m just, I’m just fascinated by where I am. I mean I’m just, I have no idea how it works. And, and I think many people would say I don’t necessarily agree with them. They would say, well, you know, your mind very quick and fast and you’re smart. All that sort of stuff. Actually I feel like I’m really slow and which is like I look at something, I read it, I read things about it, I hear things, I’ll talk. It takes me a long time actually to figure out what the heck is going on. And I think a lot of my writings are about coming to a point where I think I do understand something and then I’ll write it down and share it. As opposed to, well, I know in here’s what I know. It’s actually the other way around. When I propose a book to my publisher, it’s really about going to school. I mean it’s a, it’s a learning exercise for me. And the great thing about being a journalist, whether a self appointed or otherwise, the great thing about being a journalist is that you know, you don’t know. You don’t go, you don’t go into something saying, I know, well some do, but you don’t go into it and saying, I know and therefore, you know, telling me what it is is going to reinforce what I know. I mean, you go into it ideally with an empty vessel. With a mind that’s like, like listening, totally listening or observing, or both, you know. And out of that comes a, a conclusion or an observation or an understanding that is original that you didn’t know yourself. You know, you didn’t know it, you might recognize it, recognize it in the sense that on some deeper level you knew that. But it’s, you know, you don’t go into it with this attitude that I know. And so that’s what I love about what I do. And that’s why I’ve never written what I call son of book and you, you see or daughter work, you see people that write a book, it’s successful. And then they write another book which is kind of a variation of that. Another burger is a variation on a variation, variation, variation. Not remotely interested in writing variations of my own books, you know, because to me they’re complete. And um, I don’t want to sound like a dilettante, but I want to move on and go to some new area where there’s curiosity, discovery. And also I would say relevance to others. You know, no it’s not just relevant to my curiosity, but relevant to the world as a whole.
Bryan: 00:11:25 Yeah, no, I think your book’s definitely do that. And that attitude, by the way that you’re saying about a journalist, you know, it goes in with an open mind and without preconceived notions is really the attitude of a scientist too. Going, yeah, ideally.
Paul: 00:11:44 The big corporations. Yeah.
Bryan: 00:11:45 Yeah. Publishing, they already know the outcome of the paper before it’s published. Where did you learn that or why is that a part of your makeup? That kind of perspective.
Paul: 00:11:58 Bryan it’s interesting that you asked that question because I’m not sure when it happened or what the question was, but during the, since Drawdown was published in April 2017. At one point somebody asked me a question and I, for the life of me cannot remember the question, but I do remember the answer, which is an answer I had never even occurred to me or thought of before much less given. And the answer was that when I was a child, um, my home is very dangerous. He was not a safe place to be. So, um, I spent as much time as they could outdoors. And there’s a difference between indoors and outdoors. Indoors, no matter how young you are, you can master it really quickly. There’s a refrigerator, there’s light switches, you know, there’s your bed, you know, if you have a TV, you turn it on and off. I mean there’s not much to master in a house and you can do it really quickly. Outside is the opposite, which is, it’s infinitely varied, varied and mysterious. And so when I was outside, I noticed that I didn’t know anything and no one was telling me and there was no switches. And so whether it was leaves or bugs or insects or birds or sounds or textures or stones or rocks or you know, things going in the water and wiggling and, you know. Whatever it was, I knew I didn’t know the name of it or what it was doing or how it worked. And so what happened is that it developed an intense curiosity. So the blessing of having a dangerous, unsafe home was that it pushed me outside. And so outside you learn that you don’t know, first of all, really important and second that it’s endlessly, uh, if not infinitely varied and diverse. Um, and that gives you a sense of the world that’s different than the one you get indoors. Which is in a sense program by kind of a simplified environment which is clean and antiseptic and bug free and animal free and bird free, free, you know. It’s free of so-called, of nature, but it’s also in it is the inputs which is tv, radio, media. And so most human beings are comprised of those two, um, if you will, one’s the environment. But one is where it comes into the environment which is part of that environment. And that’s how their mind is shaped. Their mind is shaped by these influencers, you know. And so if you’re outside your mind is shaped by different influences. And then when you go inside, whether it’s your home or somebody else’s home or a company, a business, your store or you know, a strip mall, whatever. Then you have, um, a very, very different sense of what’s going on. You know, and you look at it with kind of wonder and like, well, what’s going on and what’s, you know, why people acting this way and why are they buying this and all that sort of stuff. In other words, it’s actually kind of confusing to go back from what I called the natural world into the indoor world.
Bryan: 00:15:21 Yeah, I think that too, very often. You know, something that I’m really curious to get your view about is, you know, with what’s, what’s going on in the world today. Um, and one of the things, and I feel like I felt like a little kid reading your books. Um reading Drawdown and um, and by the way I wanted to share with you, I have a friend who who read Natural Capitalism and ended up going to the Presidio School. I believe it’s a Presidio School of Management where Hunter Lovins teaches because of that book. It’s like, wow, that’s pretty cool. So anyway, when I told him I’d be talking with you. But there were so many things that I learned from reading, reading your books and even things like the, I think it was reindeer that live in 100 degree below temperatures.
Paul: 00:16:10 Yakutian horses.
Bryan: 00:16:11 The horses, the Yakutian horses and how the delicate balance of life and just so many different things. And, and so one of the things that I read that, you know, to be honest, I hadn’t thought about and when I, I read it, you know, it, it was like, oh yeah, that makes sense. Was about these natural disasters that we’re experiencing will not, not only continue but intensify. And it was like, yeah, I mean I’d had the sense that it was climate change but hadn’t really thought a lot about it. Just went, you know, I think as many people do, living in the, the, the convenient ignorance, you know, in some ways.
Paul: 00:16:48 Indoors.
Bryan: 00:16:50 Yeah, indoors and stuff like that. And um, so the, the, the one thing that I was really interested to get your view about was something that I heard, um, Robert Reich talk about on a facebook post he made about the, the inputs of social change. And, and he mentioned that if three conditions are met, social change happens. Like it’s not, sometimes it’s basically like a law saying that number one, the, there’s a huge disparity between the ideal and the real. So whether it’s social justice or climate, you know, conditions or whatever. If this, and clearly we’re there, you know, that there’s this. The second is that it’s broadly known and obviously we’re there. I mean there’s still, there’s some deniers and things like that, but I think generally we, we know. And he said, but the third condition, and I think this is maybe where we’re lacking and making a, I don’t want to say meaningful change because I think we are. But um, is people, the third condition is that people must feel they can do something about it. And so I wonder if, how much of that, what’s your view of how much individuals feeling like, Oh, I’m insignificant. What I do doesn’t matter. Yeah, in the aggregate it does of course, but I’m just one person. Like what’s your view of people really feeling powerless and what do you as the reason that maybe we haven’t, you know, acknowledged or turn some of these challenges around that we’re facing. And what do you say to people like that?
Paul: 00:18:13 Interestingly complex and simple, both at the same time. The, the messaging around global warming, um, first of all has been a message about climate change and that’s kind of a scientific blooper. Because what you have is, you know, a sports and war metaphors being used constantly about climate change. We have to tackle it, they have to fight it, have to combat it. Um, and which kind of makes Don Quixote look like a pragmatist. Climate is supposed to change, deniers say that. But actually they’re right about that one, but it’s not, a, meant to deny its validity. So much as to say climate is a dynamic. And like therefore you cannot fight a dynamic. Um, you can’t tackle it. You can’t combat it. You can’t the word, another word is used as mitigates and curb. And all these verbs are really, really. What are you left with when you hear of a verb like mitigate climate change? What are you supposed to do and think. Mitigated means to reduce the pain and seriousness of something. And um, and so that’s the first problem right there, which is the language we use around it is wrong both in terms of the object, in terms of the verb um, the verbs. We’re talking about global warming here and when the earth warms, uh, which it’s doing, it changes the circulation patterns of the air. Air Is always moving. Okay. It’s moving as we know from west to east.
Bryan: 00:19:57 And that was another thing from your book by the way, that the wind doesn’t blow. The air is drawn.
Paul: 00:20:03 Yeah, exactly.
Bryan: 00:20:04 I was like, I didn’t know that.
Paul: 00:20:06 Yeah, I mean from a low pressure it draws it from high pressure areas. And so there’s always this dynamic on the earth and one of the dynamics is a movement of air. So when it’s warmer, two things happen. The air moves differently like it did this year, you know, incredibly so, the jet stream it’s called also. It’s like circulation, you know, like a bigger river in the sky. And, and also what changes is the amount of water it can hold. That is to say warmer air holds more water and more water goes up in when, when the earth is warmer. So then you have, um, uh, basically the hydrologic cycle is getting very, very, uh, um, volatile. So you have bigger rain, bigger floods, and the also you have bigger droughts due to the fact that the normal pattern of the jet stream is now changed. And so what normally would have brought rain or monsoon or depending on where you are in the world is no longer happens and so forth. So these are all, these are all things that are happening. The way we’re communicating it to each other. Um, makes people feel like, well, what can I do?
Bryan: 00:21:25 Yeah. And by the way, on your Twitter profile, I see that one of your descriptors is word giver.
Paul: 00:21:31 Yeah…
Bryan: 00:21:32 Right. I love that. And maybe this is an appropriate time to talk about that.
Paul: 00:21:36 Well, it because what we know is that if you use fear, threat, doom, gloom as a messaging tool; it’s constancy and relentlessness will not create fight or flight. Which is, you know, in other words fight for something you know, or a run for your life. In the case of climate change, it creates, it creates free, numb and freeze and a flight. It, it, it are called freeze implied. In other words, people just get frozen by it. Like, because they feel powerless or they flee from the information flight of a different sort, which is, I can’t handle it. I don’t want to know about it. I’m a mom. I’m single, I have a mortgage. You know, I have two children. One has a learning disability. My mom looks like she has, my mom looks like she’s getting Alzheimer’s. I could be wrong. I mean, this is not unusual for somebody. That’s the kind of life they’re living. And so you’re going in and saying, hey, listen up. You know, we’re, we’re, we’re in big trouble in terms of climate change and you gotta tackle it. It’s just so absurd to think that that’s going to cause engagement or involvement or the desire to learn…
Bryan: 00:23:01 Or even understanding.
Paul: 00:23:03 Yeah. And so that’s why you have 99 percent of the world is disengaged from the most momentous, um, critical crisis this civilization has ever faced. And, and it’s really due to communication. And so the problem with the communication is that it doesn’t discuss possibility. And so the project itself was founded on a basic premise which is that every problem is a solution in disguise. It is exactly what a problem is. It wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t beg for a solution, a change, a difference. And so that’s where problems are. This is the most gnarly super wicked problem anybody’s ever come up with. In this case, it’s the most extraordinary scientific endeavor in human history. Which is intergovernmental panel on climate change. And so they have described this problem so, so well, they’ve described it in ways which is almost unintelligible to people. But it doesn’t mean the sciences isn’t great, it is. But what they haven’t done is describe the possibilities that are latent in global warming. And so what Drawdown did is did two things. First of all, name the goal, what do we want to do here? You want to reverse it. We don’t want to combat it, tackle it, curb it, mitigate it, you know. All these, all those words are saying we want to make it less bad or at least not as bad as it’s going to be sooner. So we’d rather have it bad later. I mean, none of those words are motivating. And so we named the goal, which is, well, if it’s warming and the consequences are threatening to civilization, then we should say, let’s stop and go the other way. So that’s reversible. And the second thing is we wrote a book and created, you know, models that are really about possibility, which is, huh, God, what an interesting problem. So what can we do about it and what are the impacts of that and what does that do for humanity, community, water, children, the future for cities, habitat. All the ways in which we involve ourselves in community and the environment and this earth. And it turns out that virtually all of them with a couple of exceptions, uh, are what we call no regrets solutions. Which is what we would want to do and are doing them by the way, I might add. If we didn’t understand anything about climatology or extreme weather because they have so many benefits for the world. And so I mean that is just a shift in language. It’s like pointing out instructions which sometimes you hear teachers give or just point this way and, and students go, oh great. And this case, what we’re pointing out is that humanity is brilliant. It’s on the case. The solutions we model are all in hand at hand, known, well practiced, growing, scaling a have almost universally unit economic benefits. I mean there was dollar in dollar out, um, and we know how to do them. And if they continue to scale over 30 years, we can achieve and reach that point in time when greenhouse gases peak and go down. Which is the definition of drawdown.
Bryan: 00:26:37 I think what you’re sharing is such an amazing insight about the inefficacy of fear. Ultimately about, you know, a lot of the fear based approach ignores possibility. And you know, I love what you say in the beginning of Drawdown, which was such a radical shift for me from anyway I’d heard of global warming discussed. When you say consider that global warming is happening for us. An atmospheric transformation that inspires us to change and reimagine, reimagine everything we make and do. We began to live in a different world. We see global warming not as an inevitability, but as an invitation to build, innovate, and affect change. A pathway that awakens creativity, compassion and genius. That to me, like I said, I’ve never heard it talked about like that way it’s always been pretty much always been like, we’re all screwed. Doom and gloom, you know. At best we can slow it or we could pass more legislation or, or, or stuff like this. But this makes it, this book makes it very human for me. And very exciting. It was cool to see, you know, all the, like you said, brilliance, that humanity really is brilliant, very creative and very, um, just very insightful. You know, I, I can barely imagine editing, creating a book like this where the team that was a part of it was massive. Will you talk a little bit about, um, how you went about. I don’t know that I know we’ve talked about the book, but I don’t feel like it’s been introduced properly yet.
Paul: 00:28:11 Well, uh, the idea started in 2001 actually and then I kept asking other large environmental NGOs to do it or you know, and, and a couple of universities. And everyone I spoke to anyways said, great idea, but we don’t know how to do it. And the idea, by the way, was to map, measure and model the 100 most substantive solutions to reversing global warming. Seemed like a good idea and a good thing to know. I wanted to know starting in 2001 where we stood. Where do we stand? Is this like, is it game over? You know, people were saying it even then more so now,
Bryan: 00:28:52 Which I love on Bill Maher, when he was pushing you to give the number. What’s the number you’re like, why even go there? Right? Like, I love your view of this is so complete that it’s not even about the number at which we’re all doomed and gloomed. It’s about the possibilities and solutions right in front of us.
Paul: 00:29:08 Yeah. Because what good is that number do, even though it’s going to be wrong no matter what you say. So I, for what, 12-13 years, I mean, 12 years, I, I. Well I ask people for a couple of years and then I just stopped asking because no one took me up on it. And they, they were very nice about it and agreed, but said, you know, why don’t you do it? I said, I don’t know how to do it. That’s why I’m asking you, you know, you have the money and the resources and the scientists. Anyway, so in 2013, Bill McKibben wrote a book, excuse me, wrote an article in Rolling Stone called Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. And, um, it, it was aptly named by the way, it was a terrifying article. And what he had done is take the work of Mark Campanale, who is a carbon tracker in London. And Mark was a financial analyst and then went into the nonprofit side. And he analyzed the balance sheet of every, uh, uh, coal gas and oil company in the world that he could get his hands on. Some of them are privately held in Russia and in the Mid East and other Kazakhstan places like that. But he got most of them and, and then came up with a conclusion that the deposits, which are called assets, you know, of coal, gas and oil. And that was what was in the ground, which were unburnable. That is to say if we burned them, we’d be Venus. So why call it an asset on your balance sheet. And he called it unburnable carbon. And so that had a huge ripple effect in the financial community, that’s for sure. And it continued to, you know, be the obvious, you know. Like if, if we have to, if we’re double glazing the planet by combusting fossil fuels then how can we call the old ones we’ve discovered assets, you know. Um, so anyway, so Bill, what he did in that article, Bill McKibben is he burned them. He combusted them and then show what the consequences would be. And that was Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. And I had friends come to me then and say it’s a game over. And they, they, it’s interesting they said it and they didn’t know each other. But they used the same phrase, you know, which is kind of, again, a sports metaphor in a way. Which is we’ve worked hard, we tried but we’re, we failed. And um, and then they were talking about, you know, moving to the Squamish Valley in British Columbia are doing. I mean like, I’m getting out of the way of, of, of the impact. But uh, for the near future. Um, and that’s when I decided that we’ll Drawdown should be done. Because oftentimes when you get into that psychological place in your life where you give up, you surrender, it’s game over, you don’t know, you know, we feel like a failure. It’s actually a game on that is, it’s actually an opening, not a closure. There is a closure of one way of thinking for sure. But it’s an opening. And I felt like that, what Bill did was kind of a gift in a way because it just bummed people out so much. And um, so that’s how Drawdown got started. Project Drawdown in, sense nobody would give money because everybody who I talked to, funders and philanthropists basically said, well, show us something when you’ve got something, you know, and we’ll look at it. But we had nothing to show of course. And there was no we. And um, so uh, a small group of people got together and decided to figure out how to do that on the cheap. Uh, and so I put in the first $150,000 and took it out of my retirement account. And also a gift that somebody had given me to write a book. And so I gave that gift to Drawdown.
Bryan: 00:33:19 I have to figure maybe your thought process was, if this doesn’t work, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t work. That retirement doesn’t matter anyway.
Paul: 00:33:28 Mine would, but not some other people’s.
Bryan: 00:33:31 Well, like if, if the global warming issue isn’t reversed right? Nope, nobody, there is no retirement for anybody. Right.
Paul: 00:33:40 Do you know actually, you mentioned that, people, when the new IPTC a report came out, you know, two months ago. You could see it on twitter and other social media people said, I’m no longer going to put money in my retirement account.
Bryan: 00:33:59 It’s amazing. But not surprising.
Paul: 00:34:01 Yeah. So anyway, so what we did is we needed 60 plus 60, 70 scholars scientists and we had no money to afford such a thing. And so we put a call out all around the world to really great universities and posted on bulletin boards that we wanted to draw on research fellows and explain what it is, what we’re doing. Map editing and modeling 100 most substantive solutions to reversing global warming. And we were overwhelmed at the applications. Um, Aga Khan, award winners, Fulbright scholars, Rhodes scholars, White House fellows, etc. And we chose 66 I think, and we have five senior fellows and um, and there we went and we started to, we pay them a thousand dollars. Which is just like, you know, ridiculous. I mean they had to write basically a master’s thesis on each solution and then actually employ the model that we had created. It’s called the vector analysis model. There’s different names for it, but it’s a systemic model not a silo model. And then learn how to model these things. And we all work together, um, for a two and a half, almost three years. And to create the data and that went into Project Drawdown. Than what I wanted to do, what is obviously publish a creative book. So we took the writings and then Catherine Wilkinson and I wrote the book and um, because we wanted to read. The master’s theses are not that readable, you know, they have a different function. So we wanted to make something and it was accessible. That was, had a narrative arc. That was stories that the people want to turn the page. And the other thing is then I worked with a friend of mine, gentleman part, and then we designed the book, you know, the font, the letting, the kerning I chose every photograph. I wanted something that you would open up in would be enticed by. Which is how interesting, I didn’t know, how new that, we’ll look at that. What does that do? How does that work? Rather than something that was like, you know, a stranded polar bear in a nice flow, you know, or you know, pictures of smokestacks emitting carbon into the air, you know. And so there’s no fat or fear of doom and gloom in that book and there’s no blaming, there’s no demonization. Um, there’s no fault finding. It’s all about possibility. Um, and so the book was published in April of 2017, but there’s another story too. Because the publisher is quote quote my publisher that is, they publish my books before. And my editor of 25 plus years, maybe 30, I’m not sure. But, and we’ve had, he and I together four New York times bestseller, so, you know, it’s not like I’m a schmuck, you know. And yet when, when I told him about this book, right, um, he, he said the house didn’t want to publish it.
Bryan: 00:37:15 Did he say why?
Paul: 00:37:16 Yeah, he had a good reason. Climate books don’t sell. And um…
Bryan: 00:37:21 It sounds like hollywood. I
Paul: 00:37:23 t’s true though, you know, because nobody wants to read about the end of the world at night. And so, um, and furthermore it was on 100 percent post consumer waste. Which is expensive paper. Two waivers in color, which means you had to print 10 to 15,000 at a time. Three they don’t sell, which means the house that there’d be remaindered. And they would end up with this, you know, warehouse with boxes of books, you know, that couldn’t be sold. Um and four, it couldn’t be hardbound. And hardbound books get reviewed and softbound don’t, um, because that would be much too expensive. It just went on and on. And um, and they wrestled with that while we created the book. And it really wasn’t until about, I think, I don’t know how many months before we were going to be finished. And they had their final meeting with production and promotion and publicity and academics and editorial and I get all the different departments that are consensual about a book, whether they should do it or not. And it was the publisher and she is, she’s amazing. And she just listened to all and then asked her staff. Well she said, could I ask a question, may I ask a question? Very polite, very polite, sweet woman. And I said of course she’s the CEO and she said, “if we don’t publish this book, why are we here at all?” And that’s really that question is why I got published. And um, because nobody can answer that question in any other way except okay, you know, that’s why we’re here. And, and, and it, it was an on the New York times bestseller list and it’s first week. But I think it was because people really want to know what to do. They really want to work on solutions. And the thing we have to continue to work on here and elsewhere is to show how individuals benefit from the solutions. Communities benefit neighborhoods benefit, families benefit, farmers benefit. In other words, it’s not like you have to do this because I feel guilty or I’m altruistic or I feel like if I don’t do it, something bad’s going to happen. Or even though it doesn’t seem like much, I’ll do it anyway. And those are not really good reasons. You know, I mean there are good reasons, but they’re not sufficient unto the day in terms of mobilizing people. And so we have to understand that these solutions, to reversing global warming, actually benefit us in every single way in terms of really creating a transformative world, a better world than we have right now. Not a worse world. And that goes back to your point about for us or to us. I mean, is it happening for us or to us? Because if we think as we’re victims and objects that has happening to us, then we acted out that way, you know. Which is it makes us depressed. We don’t want to hear about it. Creates despair, creates denial, it creates basically disempowerment and disengagement. But also we feel like I said, a victim, you know. I didn’t cause this, I just got born 20 years ago or 25 years ago. I had no say in this at all. And that’s further distance, further disempowering. Um, but if you look at it as for you, then you look at it as a system and any, every system has feedback. Um, our bodIes, our system, they give us feedback every day, you know. If we have a fever or this or that, symptoms, aches, pains and so forth. This is all feedback. Any time we ignore feedback, we get into trouble. If you really ignore it, you’ll die. And so any system that ignores feedback parishes, this is just the rule. This is basic cybernetics, one-on-one systems thinking one on one. This is not novel. So the earth is giving feedback and so therefore it’s a blessing. It’s not a curse, it’s a gift, you know. Um, and the feedback is that we’re changing the weather, you know, changing the climate because we’re changing circulation patterns and models because it’s getting warmer. So where do you go? You go right to the warming. So how do you stop it from warming any further and how do you reduce the warming. Because that gives us, gets us back to the relative climatic stability of the Holocene Period, the last 12,000 years, which is the period in which civilization arose.
Bryan: 00:42:06 What’s your experience been with the book since it was published in April of 2017. And, and how does it compare to what your aspirations or your hopes for the book were?
Paul: 00:42:18 Well, we had hopes and we had, you know, not ignorance. But I mean we were clueless as to really what would happen. You never know if a book, you really truly don’t. I know that from my own experience, but publishers know it well as well, you know, they never can predict exactly how a book’s going to land and how people are going to respond. The thing that, uh, I’m pretty sure what happened was it was a book that people wanted to give to other people. That was the whole book was like a message, you know, but a complex one. But an interesting one hopefully. And so when I would do book signings, people come up with five, ten, somebody came with 20 books from one reading, you know. Or talk and so forth, you normally people buy one or maybe they’ll buy one for their son or daughter or something like that, or friend. Sometimes two. But that’s pretty unusual. On this one, I noticed people buying stacks of them. So that means that they were giving away. One woman about 500 to give to friends, you know. So I think it, what it indicates is that people want to do something and they want to engage people because this was a book that they found helpful. Now people have asked me, so thank you for writing a hopeful book. And what I’ve said is that was not our purpose at all. We were not interested in hope in writing this book and which sounds sort of counter intuitive, you know what I mean. But the Drawdown is a reality project. It is science based. Every single solution in terms of a measurement of the impact, um, is based on peer reviewed science, which we site in some cases, many, many, many papers and there’s only two things you can do about the atmosphere. You can either stop putting greenhouse gases up there, warming gasses, or you can bring them back home through photosynthesis, you know. Farming forest and different agricultural and land use practices. There was only two thIngs you can do and each one of them, that is to say the solutions, had to have abundant peer reviewed science and we always chose the medium number if there was a range. And each solution had to have robust economic data. So which we chose an internationally respected institutions like the IEA and the World Bank and the IPCC and Bloomberg Energy and FAO, etc. So from our point of view, none of it data is ours. Is, I don’t know, 5 million data points in the models, but it’s not our data. What we did is we reflect back to the world what it knows and what it is doing. Very different than us being this small NGO. And in saying, we know and we’ve figured it out and check it out and this is what you ought to do, it’s not what we did. And it’s not what we’re saying. We’re saying, you know, look at yourself. That is we, this is a smaller we a coalition became turned in 28 people eventually. But a smaller we talking to the greater we, which is humanity saying, look, this is what we know and this is what we’re doing. This, let’s do it better. Let’s accelerate, let’s, let’s, let’s take it on, you know, it’s worthwhile it’s working. It pencils out, you know, the benefits are extraordinary. Um, and so what happened when the book came out is that people bought lots of them and we just went into our ninth printing. And the printings are, you know, 15,000 copies each. But it’s in 12 languages or soon will be by this Spring and it’s being taught. And it’s being taught from fourth grade all the way to graduate school at MIT and other graduate schools and so forth. And I don’t think a book that I know of or heard of has ever come out that is taught in that breath of educational levels. Um, and it’s, those people are using it for children’s theater. Those are up in the air in Boulder, University of Colorado. Children dress up and act out solutions and theater. It’s so cute. There’s know the poison girls picks up your peas and carrots and talk about a plant rich diet and things like that. And so it’s being used as an educational tool is going to be adopted by Historical, um, uh, HBSC, Historical Black and something Colleges, I forgot the S, what the S means. But it’s being adopted by universities all over the world. It’s being adopted by cities, there’s Drawdown cities, Drawdown provinces, Drawdown Nova Scotia. Um, Mike Kelly, the mayor of Kansas, just wrote to me three days ago. Having a big meeting about making Drawdown Kansas city a Drawdown city. Um, there’s, um, Drawdown New Zealand, Drawdown Australia, there’s Drawdown Switzerland, there’s, you know. There’s a Drawdown hub in Berlin which is Drawdown Europe. Um Drawdown London and it goes on and on. And so what we are trying to do is create the conditions for self organization, and basically if you look at your first question, which is what is life you know, life is a self organizing system. Life creates the conditions that are conducive to life, but it organizes itself. Nobody’s in charge. And if you look at the atmosphere and climate, it’s a self organizing system. If you look at all of, whether it’s the oceans or land or everything that goes on within the oceans, on the land use of self organizing systems. If you look at the human body, it’s a self organizing system. You are not in charge. You’re in charge of what you drink, eat, smoke. Um, breathe in here and read for sure that influences the body. But that is not how it organizes itself. It’s organized according to principles that you have nothing to do with, uh, in your mind. That is, you do. If you think in your body, which you aren’t. But that’s another subject. So I’m saying is everything is a self organizing system. And therefore we want to do as a book and as an organization is create the conditions for self organization around reversing global warming. Which is very different than having sort of a charismatic male ahead of our organization, you know, that cares about climate and global warming. Telling people you know, what they should do and what they should, and educating them and saying, you know, this is what we need. This is what you should do. It’s not that that’s incorrect and what they’re promulgating. It’s just that it’s slow. That’s a very slow way to organize the world. The best way to organize the world is not to be the organizer. Is to be the catalyst, is to be something precipitates people, organizing that themselves and that’s where we want to go and that’s what we’re trying to do at Drawdown.
Bryan: 00:49:47 I think that’s a really amazing perspective and not one I’ve ever heard by anyone who’s written a book that that was one of the aims of writing a book. You know that it would. It would catalyze that or take advantage of the self organization that happens in a certain way. With all you’ve learned whether through writing this book or in all of your research and your experience. What’s your sense of what, what life on this planet will look like 50 years from now?
Paul: 00:50:19 I don’t know. It depends what we do. Cause we are in the Anthropocene, which is that what we do here as this species, as homo sapiens, um, has a profound effect on earth. Which wasn’t always true. Um, so it’s unknowable. What we do know, however, is that climate change is a linear system. You know, climate is a linear system. It’s not a linear, nonlinear, it’s nonlinear system. So it’s not like in your house you have a thermostat and 70 degrees and then you turn it up to 72 it’s 72, 74 it’s 74, 68 it’s 68. That’s the linear, um, a relationship. Um, climate is very different. You know, you, you, you go up in like say from one degree to one and a half degrees centigrade, know a 50 percent increase. That could cause it. And will cause the geometric change in terms of global circulation models. Which then affects rain drought, heat, cold. Um, uh, uh, oceans acidification, etc. So we don’t know what’s gonna happen going forward. There are thresholds where once you cross a threshold, then you’re in a new regime. This is straight sort of ecological terminology. And um, you know, it, if you pull the trigger on a gun, you can pull, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. And all of a sudden something happens is a regime change, you fired a bullet. And there’s many examples of that where if you just take salt and you just have a little tiny, tiny, tiny spot putting salt and you’ll make a mountain of salt and then you put one more grain of salt on it and the whole thing collapses. So it’s just the way it works. And so our climate is no different. It’s just that we don’t know when or what’s going to happen. And um, so, so we can expect whatever we’re saying now to increase. And what that means is that the hydrological cycle is going to get more extreme. Bigger rain falls, bigger floods, bigger droughts, no question. Winds will increase in speed, uh, whether they’re just ambient levels of wind or hurricanes, cyclones, um, depending on the atmosphere. Um, we know that there will be heat events that are life threatening with there already are. And um, but there will be more of them. We’re going to get unusual arctic cold coming down to regions where it doesn’t normally go and perhaps lingering longer. And that has to do with the jet stream going down further south in the northern hemisphere than it does normally. And then it, you know, it moves like a snake. And in between the snake it pulls the cold arctic air down to cities, towns, regions, Europe, whatever that is, unaccustomed to that level of cold in the winter. Same applies to the south of course, on the opposite in terms of directionality. So we know the weather Is going to become more extreme, no question about it. And, um, it will do so for at least 50 years because even if we achieved drawdown in 2050, 2045, which is where we in a sense model, uh, it would take at least two decades before there’s any impact on climate. So that’s where we face. So this, these issues of adaptation and resilience are very, very real. Um, how do we change our cities so that they don’t drown. You know, how do we build our houses so they don’t get flooded and washed away? How do we grow our crops and where do we grow them in which way and which crops so that we’re fed. Um, how do we began to interact with the oceans? So that, um, ocean acidification does not, um, come closer to killing the phytoplankton and the life of the ocean itself. Um, so these are all things we face. Um, but the reason, going back to what I say is we weren’t interested in a hopeful book is because hope is really the pretty mask of fear. In other words you don’t have hope unless you have fear. And I guess it’s my buddhist training, but, but I feel like what we need to to be now as fearless, not hopeful. Cause hopeful means there’s fear behind it. And we need to be fearless about what we do, who we are, what our lives are about, and not act out of fear, which is what we’re doing, for example, politically right now in the United States. It’s all fear based and we see the result. And um, so we can act out of fear. We have to act out of profound and deep understanding of the implications of warming but not out of fear, just out of respect. And then we then have to do what we need to do. And um, there’s a lot to do for everybody.
Bryan: 00:56:26 At this point there’s a couple questions come up for me. One of them is about people not really experiencing themselves as an integral part of the whole. Or in other words, there’s, in my view, an ignorance there were people don’t. I mean, if people got the, the part they are of a whole and that it cannot be otherwise, that if they, if they really saw that, I think behavior would change without legislation, without even willpower. Right? Like I tend to think we’ll probably look back and wonder like, what the hell were we thinking, you know, with whatever plastic water bottles or other things end up in a landfill or production practices are a whole bunch of different things. But what’s your sense of, and I realized that’s just my view. I could be wrong. But I know that when people’s understanding changes, their behavior will often change as a result and it doesn’t take per persuading or convincing per-say. It’s just an expansion of their awareness, of their understanding. What, um, and I heard you just mentioned your buddhist training and I know, you know, like, um, you know, the concept of inter being. You know, this kind of thing that if people get, I think their behavior changes. So all this is leading to the question of; what’s your experience with what’s effective in helping people like get or helping people experience their integral oneness with, with this universe, they’re a part of?
Paul: 00:57:57 Well I’m not a teacher and I don’t pretend to be. Um, I have teachers, Jack Kornfield, Mooji and others who constantly teach me about my dualistic mind and teach non-dualism of course. Was really kind of what you’re talking about in a sense of that, ah, a separability becoming a sense of inseparability. I mean, everything we watch, see, hear, reinforces, uh, this idea that we’re individuals. And social media has put that on steroids. And so, uh, I don’t know what are those turning points for people where they understand and act out of a sense of connectedness and inseparability. I do know that, um, it involves a way of communication. It’s different than the one we use because so much of a communications about being right. And anytime you’re right, you make somebody wrong. Not necessarily intentionally, but you do anyway. Every religion makes other religions wrong. Not necessarily religious leaders, but basically, no, this is the way, this is the true God, blah, blah, blah, blah. And, um ecumenical religious people don’t generally do that. But, but that’s, that’s where we’re seeing all over the world. You know, I mean, um, so, um, you know, it’s funny because it may seem like a digression, but I don’t think so. Somebody asked me once, said they listened to a talk and it was Q and A and then I think it was being videoed and then the camera went off. And then some reason I always thought have the question in, there was more questions. So we kept going and one of the questions was somebody who was very sort of confronted and jabbing his finger at me and saying, yeah, yeah, yeah. But you know, you’re just talking to the choir here. Uh, what do you say to the Nascar people? Huh? You know, I was like, huh, what do you say to them? Huh? And I said, what would I say to Nascar people? I said, I’d probably ask them a question. And he said what would you ask them? I said, I ask them who they favor Chase Elliot or Kyle Busch for the championship. I said because I want to know who I’m talking to first of all. And I don’t know those people, you know, so I want to find out who I’m talking to, who I’m with. And second, and this is very important, it’s not my business to change somebody else’s mind. My businesses, to change my mind. That’s why I’m here to do. It’s hard enough to change my own mind. It’s ridiculous to try to change someone else’s mind and it doesn’t work. And again, it goes back, I think to our earlier discussion about climate communication, you know. Which is it forcefulness in communication does not. It creates resistance.
Speaker 4: 01:01:41 It doesn’t create, you know, um receptive, receptivity. Creates resistance and that’s just what it’s like to be a human being. When somebody forces their opinion, ideas, thoughts, knowledge, facts, their right stuff on us. We pull back, we feel that we feel it in our body. And so we have to communicate differently and that difference has to be about listening. I say that the way we’re going to do this is, is to meet human needs, not to, um, satisfy the Congress, the parties in the Paris Agreement. Which is to limit, you know, temperature to two degrees centigrade or celsius or 1.5c by 2050. I mean, that’s all you hear about and we probably won’t do it and this is what’s going to happen if we don’t do it. And so forth. And what’s happening, Bryan, is that we keep talking about these future existential threats, you know. Like, yeah, we had a hurricane Florence and Michael and this, you know, these are current existential threats to, you know, Mexico beach or to North Carolina or something like that. But, but basically the conversation is about the future. And what we know about us human beings is that we got here by being really good survivors. Uh, we got here by dealing with current existential threat. And current existential threat is food and warmth and habitat and community. You know, dealing with community or, or could be war. Um, no, it’s really good at that. And all our ancestors were otherwise you and I wouldn’t be here. And so the human mind isn’t wired for future existential threat. It’s not wired for 32 years from now, which is kind of, you know, what the IPCC and the conference of the party is asking us to do two motivate us. It’s interesting and it’s compelling. Don’t get me wrong. And it may be just dead on too, but it doesn’t motivate because there’s not the way the human mind works. The human mind corresponds and relates to current existential threat. And if you think about even anybody, what was the first thing they think about in the morning? Not 2050, you know, the first of all to think about see, you know, shower or what have to do or what I have to do this morning. Or my kids awake or what time is it, you know, I have to get them to school or what you think about immediate thing. And as the day goes on, you know, you think about things further on sometimes not very far. There was a woman, Akiva, beautiful, made a beautiful statement. The chairperson of kiva.org and she said for most of the world, their sense of possibility does not extend outside of the one room that they lived within. And so in order to satisfy, in order to reverse global warming, we have to actually reverse our communication. Which is we have to look at these solutions in the context of meeting human needs. Those needs are, again, warmth and food and access and education and healthcare and habitat and a renewed and regenerated environment and fishery and water and soil and abundance and productivity. This is what humans need. And so the way to reverse global warming is to address current human needs. And especially for who knows, uncountable billions, but was it three or four, I dunno know, billion people whose needs are extraordinary. And when you think about it, we’re the only species without full employment. You know, when’s the last time you saw unemployed bee or ant or fox or you know, uh, nut hatch or crow or you know, all the other species here are fully employed you know. And we are the one species that has created a system where we tell people that they’re not needed. You know, that they are disposable, that their waste that you know. And it’s crazy because when you think about it, never have so many people needed so much as right now and we are marginalizing people and saying, and they’re unemployed, right? And so it’s really upside down and backwards. And so the next book that I slash we are going to do is called Regeneration, but the subtitle is How to Create 1 Million Jobs. And I don’t mean shovel ready jobs, I mean jobs to give people a sense of purpose and meaning and respect in their life. A living wage for sure and a sense that they belong here, that they have purpose, that they’re valued, that their life has meaning their children, themselves, their family, their community respects them for what they do. That’s what we need on earth. That’s how you reverse global warming. You don’t do it by asking people to basically get worried about what the temperature might be like in 2050. Valid as that may be by the way. Um, it has no impact on the world except on certain, obviously scientists and climate movement leaders for sure, you know. But it’s not going to do, it’s not going to organize the other 99 percent of the people or get them um, I’m motivated.
Bryan: 01:07:43 It sounds so logical when you describe it that way about, you know. The way to reverse global warming is to address current human needs. Then to go about it.
Paul: 01:07:53 That’s the only way I was going to happen.
Bryan: 01:07:54 Yeah. I want to shift the conversation now and um, I have a few short form questions you can answer them in whatever length feels appropriate, but I’ve designed them that I read them briefly in and you answer, so. Okay. Um, are you ready for the lightning round?
Paul: 01:08:11 Sure. Ready? Go.
Bryan: 01:08:12 All right. Please complete the following sentence with something other than a box of chocolates. Life is like a…
Paul: 01:08:22 Lightning round. Like life is the most mysterious journey possible.
Bryan: 01:08:30 I love it. Okay. Number two, what do you wish you were better at?
Paul: 01:08:36 Um, I wish I was better at social intelligence. Does um, I wish I was not so much a monk, but like being around people more than I do.
Bryan: 01:08:50 Okay. Number three, if you were required every day for the rest of your life to wear a tee shirt with a slogan on it or a saying or a phrase or a quote or equip; what would the shirt say?
Paul: 01:08:59 Mostly bacteria, learning to be human.
Bryan: 01:09:02 You own that shirt don’t you. It’s already in your closet. A number four.
Paul: 01:09:10 My wife made it.
Bryan: 01:09:11 Did she? Really?
Paul: 01:09:12 Yeah.
Bryan: 01:09:12 That’s awesome. Alright, what book other than your own have you gifted most often?
Paul: 01:09:20 The Invention of Nature about Alexander von Humboldt. Without doubt the greatest scientists that ever lived.
Bryan: 01:09:27 Why that book?
Paul: 01:09:29 Humboldt started out as a scientist and then before he did much work he spent two years with Goethe. And out of that he wrote in his journal that you cannot understand science without the imagination. Which I thought was such an important insight that is even more relevant today than it was then.
Bryan: 01:10:01 You travel a lot. What’s one travel hack, meaning something you do or something you take with you when you travel to make your travel less painful or more enjoyable?
Paul: 01:10:12 Less. To take very little. Like so no matter where I go it’s just on my back and I’m free.
Bryan: 01:10:27 Do you do the thing where you only travel carry on?
Paul: 01:10:31 Well not only carry on, but sometimes it’s just on my back.
Bryan: 01:10:35 Wow. Okay. What’s one thing you’ve started or stop doing in order to live or age well?
Paul: 01:10:41 A stopped eating anything with simple sugars except food in season.
Bryan: 01:10:49 What’s one thing you wish every American knew?
Paul: 01:10:52 I wish they understood that what they eat causes health or suffering. That the choice of what they eat causes health are suffering.
Bryan: 01:11:07 What advice did your parents give you that has impacted you or stayed you?
Paul: 01:11:13 You never learn anything when your mouth is open.
Bryan: 01:11:17 Before we conclude, I do have just a few questions about writing that I want to turn to. Before we go there though, um, just to make sure we get this in here. If people want to learn more from you or connect with you, what should they do?
Paul: 01:11:32 Uh, well there’s, there’s /PaulHawken on Twitter. There is a facebook page. Same. There is info at [email protected] Um, there is Linkedin. Um, there’s Google search of course. I think it’s 300,000, I don’t know how many different things, you know, Youtube or articles or stuff like that. That’s all that stuff connected to me. A lot of people do try to connect and there is a bandwidth, you know, so because I’m a writer and so right now I’m going into another writing phase. So we send out nice apologies, but it’s just, it’s too much of a good thing, you know, I can’t answer, respond everything. So we respond, but we don’t respond in the affirmative in the sense of like engaging. Because it’s when you’re writing a book is, it really is like being a monk, you know, it says it’s a solo act. Yeah.
Bryan: 01:12:42 Yeah. And of course people can find your books hopefully In their local bookstore, online.
Paul: 01:12:48 And libraries and used books on Amazon too. Don’t forget used books.
Bryan: 01:12:53 Yes.
Paul: 01:12:53 Who cares about royalties forests are more important.
Bryan: 01:12:56 Yes. And I also will say this here, before we go to the writing questions, that as a way of saying thank you, a small token of my gratitude expression of it. I have gone to kiva.org and made $100 in micro loans to an entrepreneur named Nirvanu who lives in India, who will use this loan to help expand her scrap selling business and improve quality of life for herself and her family and her community.
Paul: 01:13:24 So pleased with that. It’s amazing. Thank you so much, Bryan. It’s amazing for you or us, you know, I mean, that’s. Now that’s a small amount of money. Okay. Yeah. But it is amazing what a small thing can do to a person at the right time. A small thing can be a word too, you know. I mean, not just one word, but just some words, you know, but an act of kindness, you know. Like the whole universe is made up of small things. That’s all it is. And so that is a big thing for Nirvanu. And um, and it’s just lovely to identify these leverage or pivot points, you know, where a, a whole person’s life can pivot, change, you know, in a way that would not have otherwise happened.
Bryan: 01:14:30 Yeah. Yeah. On that page it says that she has a household of five members and a monthly income of about 350 US dollars.
Paul: 01:14:35 There you go. There you go. And maybe it’ll go to 450 or five or something, but that’s like a 30, 50 percent increase in income. It can mean books for her children. It can mean school uniforms. It can mean who knows, you know. I mean, so thank you for doing that. And thank you for thinking that way to do it.
Bryan: 01:15:01 No, no, it’s my pleasure. I’ve, I’ve been so thrilled by what Kiva makes possible. So it’s a, it’s a privilege to do it. Okay. So first of all, I really want to know if you have any writing rituals? Whether you write a light a candle, brew a tea, like play some music, wear a robe, anything like that. Is there something you do to kind of get yourself in state and sit down and be productive?
Paul: 01:15:25 Yeah, I bet it might surprise you. What I think every writer. Writing is like, talk about the very gratification. I mean, that’s why they say writers have the low, lowest lifespan and conductors have the highest, you know. Because um conductors get to conduct everyday and even in mostly rehearsal, but still it’s, you play a piece and then the piece is over, you know. Or you conduct a and, and a writer can write for one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine years. RIght? And as deferred gratification. In other words, it’s not done. It’s not done. It’s not done day after week, after month after, in some cases, years. It’s not done. You know. And that’s actually a very stressful, uh, I think. And that’s why writers have the low, the lowest lifespan of any profession. Maybe soldiers have a lower one. But um, and so the thing to do everyday before you, right, is it can be the night before too, but is to complete something that you’ve put off. It doesn’t have. It’s not a big thing. It can be, you know, old socks. Did you want to give away, get rid of out of your drawer. It can be cleaning up a closet. It can be anything that you see around your environment at work or at home, especially. It’s undone. A messy kitchen drawer, who doesn’t have a messy kitchen drawer. I’m telling you, you know, with the potpourri of things. So, um, do something like that, you know, outside, inside, you know, it could be writing to somebody, you know, completing a thank you or uh, you know, you put off. Um, and so if you go into writing with a sense of completion, there’s a, your, your mind is more flexible, open, free ranging. Then if you start, if you write in the morning, whenever you start, but if you start with all those little things in the back of your mind that are undone, uncompleted, not, not addressed yet. And we carry those around and if you just do one of them every day, you know, then what happens is you’re writing I think becomes more fluid and, and hopefully more creative.
Bryan: 01:18:03 I love that. I love the way you’ve described it and at the same time I think about that becoming a bit of a rabbit hole or a good, a really good excuse why I’m not writing! Well, I’m completing things, right? I mean, how do you balance that?
Paul: 01:18:19 Yeah. I said a small thing. Don’t rebuild your garage.
Bryan: 01:18:21 Okay. A small thing. That’s a key point.
Paul: 01:18:23 Yeah. It can be folding t-shirts and laundry, you know, whatever. Just something. Just make order and cleanup, change, fix or repair, acknowledged, thank, you know. Just do something that you know, that you’ve put off. If you haven’t put it off and that’s okay, but best, best thing, are things you’ve put off and identify them.
Bryan: 01:18:48 I think that’s just a good way to live.
Paul: 01:18:51 Great way to live period, by the way.
Bryan: 01:18:52 Yeah, no that’s great. So when you’re in the middle of a project, like you’re about to be right in the thick of it, how do you. So is it kind of a two part question. One is how do you think about time, like as a writer, knowing you have a project. And then the kind of the second part is how do you structure any given day when you’re in the middle of a project?
Paul: 01:19:12 Well, I’m thing I’ve noticed is that this is for me, may be different for other people, it’s certainly different for journalist who travel, you know, and right on the go. But for me, uh, you have to show up every day of the week except for maybe one or two or, you know, whatever but um, where you write. And for me it has to be the same place. Uh, it can be in this room or that room or somebody else’s vacation thing or you know, take your laptop to an Airbnb or something. It doesn’t work for me. And the reason, um, I think that’s true is because I think that just like if you meditate in a room or other people meditate in a room, there’s actually an energy in that room which is palpable. You can, you can feel it. And I think when you actually write in the same place, day after day after day, after day after day, there’s an energy there which you can draw upon. Now, what do you call it? Energy. It’s unnameable, but for me, the experiences like there are presences and they build out in other words, there’s more and more of them. And I don’t want to anthropomorphize it, but it sounds like it. Um, and these presences are, are ignorant of what you’re writing about. That is to say what are you writing about? But they’re smart and there’s a difference. And um, and so when you’re writing, it’s almost like you’re, you have this presence, this presence you’re writing to, you know. Which is, so you read through those eyes, you reading the writing as you go through those eyes. Now some people write , you know, 500,000, 2,000 words and then just all the way through. And then read it later after they’ve written. I don’t do that. I read, I write, read, write, read and write, read as I’m, as I’m writing, I read and then I write that I read. Um, and so, um, to me that is extremely important and I go like, you know. Blessed Unrest there was 57 whole versions, but I would say some paragraphs or some parts probably went through 100 versions. You know, an aversion could be a single word rewrite, it can be scrap a whole paragraph, it can be, um, the Hemingway killing your darlings. Which is, you know, those cute little things at the end of a paragraph that make you look smart. Actually don’t make you look smart. You look egoistic. So, you know, um, uh, that process happens better in that place. I have written like a couple paragraphs…stopped and then read it and realized that I had never thought what I was reading. In other words I had no. Well, I know I never thought those words before. And it’s kind of an interesting mind state where some deeper level of that mind in the presence in the room is interacting with the keyboard and the screen and the letters and the words and the paragraphs and the sentences.
Bryan: 01:22:53 That sounds a lot like channeling.
Paul: 01:22:55 It does sound like it and maybe it is. I have no idea what channeling is or isn’t. I can describe that experience. Um, and uh, and it, it is, it is a sense of you respected as not, when you finished. You know, you don’t have this sense of over inflated sense of I. You know? You don’t after you write a whole book. It’s like I don’t anyway, I don’t really have that sense.
Bryan: 01:23:28 How do you spend your time that day? Do you, are you a morning writer? Are you a night owl? Do you like to. So I heard you say you like to write in the same spot, but then do you crave like social interaction and go do something or how does exercise, but then like all this nutrition meals, like. Just how does the day unfold generally?
Paul: 01:23:46 Yeah, I’m a little compulsive on that level. I like to, which I’m trying to break this habit. Okay. This habit is like, I like a clean out my inbox in the morning, like, okay, that’s all done. You know, that’s not one of the completion things I mentioned earlier. By the way, that’s just, I mean it comes in every day. I’m not sure that’s the wisest thing to do, but I do. Anyway. So then from that point, I’ll turn mail off and then I’ll write. Uh, I prefer the morning. When I am alone, uh, then I’ll often do it at night as well. So I’ll do morning and night and then in between is I’ll do whatever, whatever else I have to do. Work or usually work, you know, because I’m usually involved with some other organization, you know. Yeah.
Bryan: 01:24:40 And how many hours at a stretch do you like to write?
Paul: 01:24:47 It’s kind of like flow. Um, and uh, when you’re in, if you’re in flow you don’t think about either thirst or hunger that stops you. Um, so when you’re not in flow, you know, then what I do is, is read. You have to read anyway, but I’ll read and just make notes and so forth. All writing is about reading, you know, but like all music is about hearing music and uh, and so, um. But if it’s not happening, you know, with on the screen on, on, on, on, on the page, then I’ll do is just go, go read somewhere. You know, I remember once I’m a houseboat and I was outside and on the bay and there was a seagull always came and to that, my houseboat. Okay. Oh, that was his territory. You know, feed it sometimes. Well a lot actually, but the seagull was there and calling at me. I mean I was out in the deck and I was reading and I was like, oh my god, I’m working. This is. Oh my god. How lucky. How lucky is that?
Bryan: 01:26:13 And when. And when you say reading, do you mean reading something other than your own writing? You go read something different?
Paul: 01:26:19 I read about between, depends on the book, 100 to 500 pages for every page I write.
Bryan: 01:26:28 Wow. And that’s been consistent through, through decades.
Paul: 01:26:33 Yeah. I mean it gets more now. There’s more now. It’s not like I cited or put the bibliography unless. I don’t try to. I’m not trying to. If I use something from that writing, I cite it absolutely no question about it. But it’s partly reading good writing, it’s like being in tune, you know, if you’re a musician. But partly it’s just the your in a mind flow of somebody else’s mind flow and in the way they make connections and patterns of logic or reasoning and so forth. And those can unearth the same within you around a different subject or around a similar subject. You know, that you are writing about and um, so you’ll make connections by. It happens if you should see my books, how underlined and dog ear they are all because a, there was an insight, you know. The fortunate part about is most the time you go back there and you look at it and go, what was that insite sometimes.
Bryan: 01:27:46 Yeah. I remember when I read Stephen King’s memoir on writing. And he talked about if you want to be a professional writer, you should read like four to read and or write, he said between, you know, at least four to six hours a day. Yeah. And I thought it was interesting how he said read and or write. Like they were totally interchangeable, but that’s interesting. So the first part of this question is how do you know that this topic or this question or whatever is worth the investment of your life energy and the opportunity cost it incurs? How do you finally know that you got the thing?
Paul: 01:28:24 It’s a good question. For me, a book starts years and years and years in advance. You know, it’s not this, it’s not impulsive. I can probably think of a book to write every month actually, but, and I just watched which one stay, which ones, not just linger, but it gets stronger in my mind. And I also then look out at the world, the news the, the books that are being published, you know. Thought pieces, um, and see how it continues to relate or fade away. No, is it can fade away depending on what it is. So, but generally what I choose to write about isn’t being written about. In other words, I choose an area where it’s kind of wide open, um, and, and then to see if it, um, continues to marinate, uh, and get more delicious or you know, lose its flavor.
Bryan: 01:29:39 And then once you’ve got that and it’s gotten stronger, it’s gotten more delicious and you’ve made the determination that you will write that. Will you walk me through what’s your process like? You know, do you then bounce it off your, your publisher and you know, get a commitment? Do you start with a book proposal? Do you write some kind of a creative brief? Like, how do you do that all the way from the concept to the commitment through to the time the book is, is published.
Paul: 01:30:09 What I do is I don’t write book proposals. I, I’ve had the same editor for five books now. I write a letter, “Dear Rick.” And I describe the book and sometimes I’ll break it down into chapters. I have a book that I sold called, Carbon the Business of Life. It has, I wouldn’t call them chapters, 97 pieces in it. Um, just doing that with regeneration. Um, so I’ll have a structure, you know, um, and then I’ll put that away because I actually, I’ll just go where I want to go. And then it’s uncanny how often the book adheres precisely to that original outline structure, you know. That um, when I, when I write it down I was just like, oh, they want this so here it is. And I’ve got to sell the book, you know, and get, you know, and when I look back I go, my gosh, you know, it almost perfect conformity to what was written down. Even though to me it’s a struggle and it’s very painful to summarize something in a two page letter, you know. It just feels like sometimes three pages, but it feels so simplistic and almost like you’re selling, you know, like a sales job. And yet when I look back on them and they actually were quite accurate. So yeah, that’s what I do. So I’m actually, I’m doing it right now for a book called Drawdown 2.0. Which is the succeeding version drawn out of the book right now. And it has quite a few changes and variations and that’s for 2020 for Earth day, the 50th anniversary of Earth day. And Tia Nelson, Gaylord Nelson’s daughter and Dennis Hayes, the founder, cofounder of Earth day. Gaylord and Dennis the co founders will, but Gaylord is not alive so Tia, his daughter’s going to write it. But the right prefaces to the book that will in a sense celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth day but also still be about Drawdown, reversing global warming. But It will be all new if you. Not the solutions, but the impact will be different. That is the, there are new solutions, some have dropped off the list, there’s new coming attractions, there’s new images, the copies changed and uh, section sections that, a whole bunch of sections that really relate to what people have wanted, you know. Not so much thinking from the book, but want period we’ll put it in the book in terms of how they correlate to the sustainable development goals and to agency in many other areas. Yeah.
Bryan: 01:33:15 Hmm. As you do that, as you create, whether it’s a new version or an entire new book; how do you approach the organization of the material? Like between the research, the photographs, the drafts, and you know, the concepts that you sketch out. Like how do you keep yourself organized that way? How much of it’s digital? How much of it’s paper?
Paul: 01:33:37 Yeah. And I’m at primitive that way. Digital primitive. Uh, there are some interesting software programs for organization. I’ve found them confusing, so I keep them in folders and piles. Each chapter has um, versions, you know. They can go to version 14, 15, 16. Um the chapters are roughly, they’re in order in my folder because their numbered to keep them in order. Because I want to sequence and write. So when I read something I want to be able to see what, you know, if it’s sequences. And there were docs and I always send them to a gmail thing as a backup for, even though I have Icloud and I have backup in house. I always create another backup, uh, on gmail. Um, and on the source side, um, which is, um, I have digital sources and they are in mailboxes. And then I have magazines and books and sometimes um reproduced articles from science journals or things like that that aren’t online that are older. And those are kept on stacks all over my office. I actually have a visual thing. I, when I give a speech, I’m actually thinking in pictures as coming out as words. I don’t think in words. And so, um, when the, my office has all these stacks and then in those stacks are books that relate to that chapter section. And uh, and then within those books are our markers and dog ears and underlines and post-its. Um, and I don’t try to organize my sources any other way and then when the book is done and I put them all together like a collection of books except the ones I got from the library which of course are returned. Usually if it’s a book I want, I buy used books on Amazon. Um like, I’ll see an article or a piece in it cites a book, you know, that just didn’t come out yesterday, you know, that’s been around even a few months but a year or longer. And then I’ll go to Amazon and then go to a used book seller and buy it. Because I don’t need it right away in the first place. And second of all, I don’t want to, I love books and I believe in them passionately but doesn’t mean I want book sitting around not being used, you know?
Bryan: 01:36:41 Yeah. How do you think your process of conceiving, creating a book has changed over the years? Or what are the most valuable things you’ve learned about the creative process and about writing over the years?
Paul: 01:36:56 Well, one of the things I learned is that, you know, um, a lot of writing when you first start a book is kind of like the first waffle, you know. Scrape it off and give it to the dog. You know, there’s this kind of a, it’s kind of built. A lot of stuff is built up in your mind because you’ve been thinking about it and not writing. And you have to be charitable to yourself, which is a lot of that is it comes out of this kind of garbage and, uh, overreaching and not very understandable. And so you write it, do it anyway, and then you later you realize it’s actually the, you know, you’re writing started in the third or fourth or fifth paragraph. You can get rid of that.
Bryan: 01:37:42 Editors are good for that too.
Paul: 01:37:45 Yeah. but you have to edit it first. Otherwise they’ll reject the whole thing.
Bryan: 01:37:50 Good point. Good point. What’s important for aspiring writers to know?
Paul: 01:37:56 To read, to read, read, read, read. And then the other thing is too, too, if it’s not original, why are you writing it? You know, I mean don’t be a writer. And, and, and don’t, don’t, don’t be a digital writer. And not a digital writer uses three by five cards and then put them in order and then writes books. Books read that way. And it’s just like a relationship or anything, if there isn’t serendipity and wildness and the process it’s going to read like a three by five card and a box in order, you know. And so many, many, many, many business books and how to books and you know, take care books and health books and books and now they read just like that. And it just so dispassionate and boring.
Bryan: 01:38:55 Like no soul.
Paul: 01:38:56 No soul at all. And so part of soul comes out when you’re at sixes and sevens, when you don’t have a card. There is no three by five card. And, but your reading and going, huh, you know, and you go deeper. You know, I mean if you’re not finding out about yourself and in a deeper sense when you’re writing, you’re not writing. You’re just not, you’re, you’re, you know, I don’t know what you’re doing, you know, certainly putting words on paper and they may even be perfectly organized and spelled, but you’re not actually going to that place where somebody feels that you’ve shown up. And showing up does not mean using the word I. And that does not, in fact, that’s almost a way not to show up. If you don’t use that word, the first person singular. And then when it shows up, it has tremendous impact. But I remember somebody giving me, um, a book they wanted me to, you know, read and give them advice on. And I read the first page and I stopped and I sent it back and I underlined, I mean there’s 35 I’s. It was just ridiculous. I mean, if you use 35 I’s in a whole book, I mean, you’re in trouble and um, everybody knows who is writing the damn book. So you don’t need to keep telling them, you know, who’s writing the book. Or you know, if you’ve, I feel, I thought, you know, it’s like screw that, just talk about the experience or the feeling, you know. There was, you know, at that moment, no there. So again, it’s really about when you read good literature this, this, it will imbue you with that quality. But if you write your practice, social media or your life and it’s not going to end, probably won’t work.
Bryan: 01:41:13 What do you think is the most, I say most, of course leap to a superlative, but what’s something that you’ve learned that relates to the power of language?
Paul: 01:41:25 Well, first it has power and it, I don’t think we fully understand it. And that’s why, um, that’s why you rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. And basically you, part of what you’re doing when you rewrite is to edit means really to remove. And you’re, you’re just removing everything that’s extraneous, excessive, you know. Or as I mentioned earlier, narcissistic or egoistic, or show off or using a twenty five cent word when you can use a five cent word, you know. Um, twenty five cent words are you know, are really, really valuable and there are only valuable when no, no other word will do. And that’s the only time you use them. And so that’s part of editing is to make it simpler, cleaner, clearer. You know, when you listen to the Dalai Lama or Bishop Desmond Tutu or Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, I said it already. But when you listen to people like that, they, it’s a fifth, fifth grade vocabulary.
Bryan: 01:42:52 So you’re saying I should quit using propitious at least once on every page. Got it. Yeah.
Paul: 01:43:00 So why are they. So why does their words have so much impact? It’s because who they are. So when you’re editing, you’re, you’re, you’re allowing actually in a perverse way, a perverse in a logic what you’re allowing yourself to come through. But when it’s, when it’s all covered up with you, you know, I and this and that, I feel and what I really… And you know, clever adverbs, you know, and again, adverbs, be careful, you know, um, or I should say use them carefully. Uh, but adverbs or you know, you do the very hunts, the witch hunts, you know, you do the so hunts, you know what I mean? Go through unlimited on stuff, which is conversational language, you don’t want conversational language, a book, unless you’re actually having conversation. So again, you know, you just, you’re sometimes, less makes sentences words paragraph stronger, you know. It’s, it’s not meant to be like Hemingway, but he certainly pointed that out. And um, so yeah, I mean it’s again, I like look at some of the great songs, you know, just so simple. You know, talking about symphonies, I’m talking about songs, you know so simple.
Bryan: 01:44:31 The Beatles.
Paul: 01:44:34 The Beatles yeah, yeah.
Bryan: 01:44:35 My second to last question or my penultimate. My twenty five cent word. Question there. Okay. So what are the qualities of a great sentence and how can we write more of them?
Paul: 01:44:46 The requirement of a great sentences it doesn’t have a stop sign at the end of it.
Bryan: 01:44:53 What do you mean by that? What does that mean?
Paul: 01:44:55 I remember a friend of mine is a ghostwriter and he calls me all the time. He’s texted, “hey Paul, ja’ll read such and such book and or started to read or whatever.” I’d say, “yeah. What’d you think, mike?” “Well I tried to get into it, but just had a stop sign at the end of every sentence.” Somebody asked me was what makes a good book? And I said, you want to turn the page, you know, don’t get fancy. That’s it. If you don’t want to turn the page it’s not a good book. Now different people will do that in responding to different types of books. So of course, you know, of course, I mean that’s your poetry and you know, and um, James Joyce, how about that one, you know. So it depends on taste, you know, every book is not for everybody, but if your reader doesn’t want to turn the page then it’s not a good sentence. And they’re not going to turn the page unless the sentence is want to make you want to read the next sentence. And so, you know, can you get away with one paragraph sentences? Yeah if your James, if your Joyce.
Bryan: 01:46:30 He’s been gone a long time.
Paul: 01:46:35 Again, it’s just about honoring the reader, you know. Riches, you know. If you have four adverbial clauses and sentence, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re straining the reader. You have to be very, very, very, very good to bring that off. It’s, most of us aren’t. So keep it simple stupid.
Bryan: 01:46:58 Well, speaking of that, how aware are you of the reader in the process of writing?
Paul: 01:47:04 Well, that’s what I meant when I said about presences. Those, that’s the reader.
Bryan: 01:47:10 Hm.
Paul: 01:47:11 Yeah. So you publish will ask you, you know, who your reader and say I haven’t got a clue is. I mean really, I mean there’s books you can write where you know, the leader, you know, as far as about type two diabetes and diet, you know, for sure. But the books I write, I don’t know.
Bryan: 01:47:31 Yeah, it’s a little bit like the semanent and the voyager. Right? Kind of put it in, send it out.
Paul: 01:47:37 Send it out, you know, knows. And so I feel that about books and that means that you try to write to. Well it’s accessible to fourth grade threw graduate school. I mean, if I had said that to my publisher, I’m writing a book that’s going to be taught fourth grade to grad school, I mean they would have thrown it away, that proposal. Because that’s like, that’s ridiculous, you know, and that wasn’t explicit intention but the explicit intention was to write something that was interesting and accessIble to the broader targets, you know, in this case.
Bryan: 01:48:17 Yeah. Alright. So my final question, the ultimate question is really just about if there’s anything else related to writing that feels like that, something that you want to share before we, before we conclude?
Paul: 01:48:35 Yeah, it’s taken off your bucket list if you have one because I’m, it’s a disservice. Um, two buckets you. Unless, I mean, I feel like when I started as 30,000 books are published every year and that was 170,000 in the United States and most of it is direct. And um, I don’t think a lot of people want to have be published know, like that somehow that’s like I don’t know, some signifier. And, and I were producing an awful lot of bad books or reproducing clones, you know. And I had a teacher once who said, read the books that save you from reading all the derivative books.
Bryan: 01:49:36 hm.
Paul: 01:49:37 You know, I go to source, you know, and instead of reading books where people read a whole bunch of books and then put the other chapters and then citations and you know, and it’s like, okay, thanks. But, and so, so many of those books are now. And so just like really dIg deep and say why you want to write a book, is it of service? To whom and do you know it’ll serve? And is there a better book out there by a better writer or more authoritative or more respected author already? You know, how can you, are you really making a difference? You know, you know, because then I can tell you if those 170,000 books, you know, 160,000 just come and go, just like come and go. So that’s really low odds. I mean, and um very, very few books actually stay and get read. Other ones that are published. And so, um, and again that’s again why reading read the ones we read, the keepers. Read the ones that are, I don’t mean, you know, romance novels and stuff like that. I mean, you know, but great fiction and great nonfiction and, and read them and say, am I, is this kind of become, capable of being, of writing and not be delusional about it. So because it’s, it’s, I’ll tell you why, I mean maybe there’s somebody enjoys writing their book and get it published and seeing their name on his spine and ok. But the fact is that it, it, it’s actually a very exhausting process. Takes it, takes a lot out of you to do it right. And then if you do it, and I’ve seen this again and again and again and again, you know, people put their heart and soul into it and it takes years to do it and they finally get a publisher and it just dies. It dies, you know? And no matter what they do with a website and social media, it dies. It’s just a dead book. And that’s such a hard thing for people to experience with very difficult experience. I haven’t had that experience, but I have enough friends who have. And it’s not, it doesn’t impel you further, it doesn’t further you in your life. And it’s like a road. It’s like a cul-de-sac. It’s a dead end. And I know I’m supposed to be inspiring people to write books right now. Actually, I’m trying to inspire them not to. Unless they mean it, unless you’re serious, you know.
Bryan: 01:52:33 I think you’re doing a lot of favors for readers out there though, right now. Readers everywhere, you know, through this.
Paul: 01:52:40 Yeah, I mean, I am a reader, avid reader. I mean it takes, it takes less than five minutes to know whether I want to read a book sometimes two, you know. And you can just tell. It’s like, nope. And uh, and, and so was everybody else that way. That’s the, that’s why it’s just too many books.
Bryan: 01:53:07 Well, I think you’re writing, I mean obviously you’re the one sharing the perspective and I think you’re writing reflects it. I mean, I look at Drawdown and it’s a beautiful book. It’s a joy just to hold. Honestly. It’s, it’s the pictures I didn’t realize until I heard you say you picked every one of them, but in every way it’s gorgeous. And then I see that, um, I mean I’ve been reading, um, the Ecology of Commerce and it’s just mind expanding for me. I mean encouraging me to look at things and I’ve loved Conscious Capitalism, you know, when I read it and I see this and I realized, you know, it was many years before, right? And it’s, the thoughts are amazing and to see with Natural Capitalism that President Bill Clinton called it, one of the five most important books in the world today. That’s pretty awesome.
Paul: 01:53:56 In Italy with the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Moro then and four other heads of state, he said that. The best book, I think I’ve written Blessed Unrest.
Bryan: 01:54:10 Really? Why do you think that’s the best?
Paul: 01:54:13 Well, I enjoyed it the most, but um, I, you tell me after, if you read it. We’ll talk some more. I just think it’s, um, it’s the, it’s the best written of all the books and um, Drawdown, you know, I say editor, but actually I did a lot more than that but. But if I had said on the cover, you know, writer, author, designer, I mean it would be so stupid and the fact is I was editor and I did that and there’s 220 some odd people who created that book and their names are in there and they’re short bios are in there. And they did create it and so it just because at the very end, Catherine Wilkinson and I were the final writer, authors, you know. She’s senior writer, she’s a writer, but I was also a writer and say that because I just, I didn’t because it is true, but it’s not true if you know what I mean. Because I couldn’t have written it, were not for the work of, you know, 200 other people plus other people. It’s all in that writing and that’s a little different than Blessed Unrest where it’s just a solo author. But if you look at the bibliography and the books I read, like I would be vertical biographies, you know, like a Thero and Gandhi and Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, you know, and Emerson and, you know. Those, those, all those are in Blessed Unrest too. Um, and so every book in that sense, you know, um, a rests on the minds and hearts and shoulders of, of dozens, if not hundreds of other people. I’m always.
Bryan: 01:56:06 Yeah, we’re all, we’re all connected. Yeah. Thank you so much for making time and giving so much time.
Paul: 01:56:12 A pleasure. Right.
Sign up to receive podcasts, blog posts, and other inspiring content from Brilliant Miller delivered to your inbox.
Live a good life. Help others live a good life too!
We will never sell your name or email address.
Opt-out at any time. No strings.