Weekend (mini) Review & Giveaway: Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

You have my apologies. You see, I do all of my reading while nursing Silas. I hadn't really noticed that that time had gotten shorter and shorter until yesterday when I realized that not only had I not yet written my Weekend Review, I wasn't even finished with a book. Or even started with a book. And really, it's not that the nursing time has actually gotten shorter, just re-arranged. We're doing lots of nap nursing, which lends itself for mommy-naps (yay!) but not for mommy-reading (boo!). So, instead, today I bring you a Mini-Review of a book that I read quite some time ago and to soften the blow I'll be giving away my copy of it.

To hold in your hands the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) by William McDonough and Michael Braungart is to hold a very unique item. The entire book (cover and all pages) is made of plastic. It's durable and waterproof and has a heft to it. Choosing to make this book in such a way is an example of the argument that is contained within it. McDonough, an architect, and Braungart, a chemist, propose a paradigm shift in how we manufacture all things. Instead of our current system (make item, throw item away, make new item, throw new item away, and on and on), they make a strong argument for manufacturers taking on the responsibility of making things that not only last a long time, but when they are no longer usable, they are able to be broken down and re-used to re-make a new version of that same item. For them, the salvation of the world lies in design.

They make a great argument and I agree with most of what they espouse, but I think that it's only part of the solution. In their world, people will delight in "throwing things away" because all things will be reused. There will be no "trash" because all elements will be truly recycled. Even if this were possible (which it's not) and it came completely to fruition (which it won't) I still have a problem with this mindset. I think there is still something to be said for valuing things like only taking what you need and sometimes doing without so that others can "have." But as a piece of the how to deal with the waste-we-generate puzzle, they are truly innovative thinkers and we would all benefit if our consumer culture took a step in their direction.


To enter the random drawing for a copy of this book, just leave a comment on this post. Comments will be closed and a winner will be announced here on July 9. Good luck and have a lovely weekend!

And the winner is Ren of Lady of the Arts!
"I'm still hoping to win one of your books and this one sounds particularly awesome- my monkeys would even get a huge kick out of it- keeping my fingers crossed!!"

Drop me a line at cpcable (at) gmail (dot) com with your address so I can get this in the mail to you!


  1. That was cool - waterproof?! Oh, just imagine how easy it would be to read in the tub if all books were like that! :-D

  2. i love recycle and re-purposing being done in everyway! I love love to get my hands on that book not only to read but to feel it!

  3. Very cool back story on how the book is made. And I completely agree with your sentiments; recycling is wonderful, but it still requires energy be used... People should focus as much on the Reduce and Reuse aspects of the Three Rs as they do on recycling.

  4. Interesting concept. And certainly one I'd like to read more about!

  5. Wow..love holding a book..the ipad just doesn't do it..so a plastic book..far out!
    I have been Op shopping for the past 30 yrs, upcycling clothes..buying family & friends gifts from these very shops..and I too love my 'special' goodies.like my old china tea cups or drawings my children did way back..special cards from sister friends..I have learnt in life..not to be extreme..to enjoy this life we are blessed with...dare I say it...moderation in ALL.

  6. I'm still hoping to win one of your books and this one sounds particularly awesome- my monkeys would even get a huge kick out of it- keeping my fingers crossed!!