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May 2015

How on Earth Update

image credit: Blake Richard Verdoorn

Here is another update from the co-creative front-lines of the How on Earth book project.

We have been extremely busy since our last update email to you, in January. We have essentially kicked our writing into full-gear, after having been mostly focused on research, developing the economic model, developing the website, and building momentum for the book for the past two years.  In January, our aim was to have a complete, very rough draft of the book done by the end of March and to publish in June, which we have since learned was too ambitious.

The writing has taken on a life of its own and we are making a lot of important progress. We are using an iterative writing-editing process that has its own unique rhythm and we have found that when we ride the ebbs and flows of this natural rhythm, rather than trying to just pump out as much text as fast as possible, the writing comes more naturally and efficiently.

Overall, we can tell you that the book is taking on a lot fuller shape and has much more of a flow to it.

Our current chapter titles (subject to change) are:

1. Profit-ability
Profit can be more generative than you might imagine

2. Instability
Our for-profit world is leading to collapse

3. Inability
We can’t address the for-profit problem with a for-profit approach

4. Possibility
The not-for-profit way offers the potential for a new world

5. Preferability
The future of business is not-for-profit

6. Viability
A not-for-profit market economy can work

7. Sustainability
A not-for-profit world creates the conditions for flourishing

8. Vulnerability
A not-for-profit world is not a utopia

9. Ability
Let’s co-create a not-for-profit world by 2050

Closer to the goal than ever, we now anticipate publishing in late September or early October. We realize that this is the fourth time we’ve pushed our anticipated publishing date back and we sincerely apologize for this. All we can tell you is that the journey involved in putting this book together (not to mention developing the Not-for-Profit World economic model) has been more intense and more rewarding than we could ever have anticipated and we are sure this will be reflected in the final product. All of our delays have been in the interest of making the book even better and its chances of success even greater. And we are so grateful to have had your support, patience and understanding throughout this journey.

Another important development we want to let you in on, is that Donnie has been going full steam on writing The Not-for-Profit Handbook, which will be published before How on Earth.  This means that once people have read about the bigger vision and the economic model and they are curious as to how they can participate in the building up of the Not-for-Profit World, we can guide them to The Not-for-Profit Handbook, where they can learn about how to start and/or scale their own not-for-profit enterprises, based on Donnie’s extensive experience with not-for-profit organizations and on case studies of real success stories.

We’d also like to briefly share some of the recent events at which we’ve recently presented/tested our book’s ideas. In March, Donnie attended The Economics of Happiness conference, in Portland, Oregon, where he gave a keynote talk on the Not-for-Profit World model. Jen was invited to give a two hour workshop on the book’s ideas at a student-organized conference on renewable energy and sustainability at the University of Oldenburg, in Germany, in early April. Following that event, Jen went to Schumacher College, in the south of England, to participate in the Festival for the Generation of the New Economy, where she discussed the book’s themes with dozens of people who are also actively working for a more sustainable economy. Many valuable connections were made at all of these events and  we received lots of positive feedback on the Not-for-Profit World model.

Another exciting bit of news is that Donnie has been running a nine-week intensive start-up program for not-for-profit projects at Southern Oregon University. Titled, The Not-for-Profit Way, this first cohort to go through the program involved 19 participants and saw nine community projects launch at the public pitch night held on May 1. The Not-for-Profit Way represents an exciting step forward in testing and enabling the Not-for-Profit World vision – a crucial aspect for the book’s success one it is out.

In the coming months, we will carry on with the writing-editing process; work on finalizing the graphics, text and lay-out of the book; and finally we will be ready to publish!

We will also be getting the How on Earth website ( up and running in time for the book’s launch. And we will also be scheduling some small book tours, hopefully giving us a chance to meet more of you, the book’s supporters, in person!

Thank you so much again for your encouragement and please let us know of any comments or questions you have about the project.


Jen, Donnie, Sarah and the Post Growth Institute team

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