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steward
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Three ratings on goodreads.  It seems one person didn't care for the book - but two gave it five stars!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48325577-building-a-better-world-in-your-backyard---instead-of-being-angry-at-bad

 
paul wheaton
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David Huang wrote:Yesterday I finished reading the book, including Appendix B.  In the front of the book it was suggested that all errata be listed here on this thread.  I found one thing, nothing too major.  In Appendix B under the solution "Switching to a rocket mass heater from a conventional wood stove in Montana" it looks like all the data on the chart from "+3" over got shifted one slot out of alignment.  I noticed this most when I saw that it said the cost was $2000 per year per home but listed no savings.  Anyone who has used a rocket mass heater knows that's not right!!!  ;)  

Other than that the book looks great to me!  The audio version was fabulous too!  I shall continue to sprinkle my copies around.



Good catch!
 
pollinator
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You are infecting minds in more ways than you know.
This week I caught myself saying "Bits and Bobs."
 
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Love you Paul,  you are a laugh a second!  Nice book,  Susan
 
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Just purchased a physical copy, so excited! Looks like an amazing summary of all things permaculture...this will cut a significant amount of time off of anyone's learning curve.
 
pollinator
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Here's another tip for boosting the book via Goodreads if you have an account there.  I haven't read it yet but I clicked on "want to read" and so that was posted in the update feed of all 160 or so of my friends.  Just like you have a feed on Facebook or Twitter, you have a news feed on your home page as a Goodreads member that says X just reviewed X book, X rated X book, X wants to read X book and so on.  That's a really great way to get books noticed, just asking folks to click on it to say they want to read it, because others see the book title and will very frequently click on it to see what it's about and then add it to their own "want to read list" -- which then sends an an announcement to all of their friends and so on.  It's basically free advertising.

Also, if anybody else is a member there I'd love to connect as friends.  This is my profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16317001.Alicia_Bayer but it is showing my author profile and I'm not sure how to just click to add me as a friend instead of following me as an author.  If you'd like to be friends, please post your profile link.  I would love more Permies friends.  :)
 
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I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns.

This book really couldn’t have come out at a better time… While many people are using a lot of energy begging the bad guys for change, “Building a Better World in Your Backyard” shows ways that we can make real change ourselves, to a much greater effect.

Making personal changes is empowering, and I think that having the soiutions being within reach will inspire people to act, rather than just to buy different lightbulbs and talk.

This book covers a lot of subjects. It’s so exciting to read and reading it cover to cover almost makes me impatient to read further into everything discussed in here. It is a book worthy of taking notes from and going back to every idea mentioned, maybe a book club approach would work well, with one aspect of the book discussed each time. Even with this enormous amount of ideas being covered, it is still a good read from cover to cover, very inspiring.

I like the writing style, it’s very enthusiastic and made me smile many times. The illustrations are charming, informative, and sometimes humourous.

I like that the solutions in the book seem really doable. Many people sit around scratching their heads over how to achieve things - e.g. solar power at home, growing lots of food, but the solutions presented in this book make it achievable, and give a good direction to go in.

I was a bit sad that some of the other animal care chapters were left out, but the bees one was a great read, and enough can be gathered from that to figure out animal care for other animals: learn how the animals thrive in the wild, intervene as little as possible, encourage naturally resilient animals rather than medication-dependent ones, etc.

I like that this book is written for people on many places of the eco scale. The lawn care section, for instance, is something that many people who are into lawns can use, it is not written in a nasty way, shouting at them for wanting a lawn and not growing food instead, but in a nice way that will lead to a lot less toxic stuff being used.

The building design chapter is really good, and makes me want to build a wofati! The garden and orchard stuff inspires me to increase the diversity in the things I plant and make more efforts to grow things in polycultures.

I want this book to be widely read. It deserves to be.
 
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I have given away all of my physical copies except one. Turns out the readers in my life prefer to read that way. So I'll keep an eye out for opportunities to share ebooks.

Feedback has already been very positive. Huge appreciation for the premise of fixing stuff instead of complaining. Like the practical solutions. And it's accessible and short enough to feel like they can start reading without committing a ton of time to a saga.

These are all the women in my life who do the research and then plan and share what they learned with their significant other for joint implementation. So the wind is shifting in a few more backyards.
 
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Congrats on having the book released. My comments are provided for consideration if you ever revise it.....

Advertising. I have two singular gripes:

* Get to the punchline. In 30secs WHAT am I buying and WHY do I need it? It surprises me the number of ads that never describe what is being sold. Go take a look at 50s ads. The item is central focus. The features next. The why last. I suspect it might be oh so long ago people KNEW what of their life they needed?
* Most ads these days are about 'the experience' or the prospects social standing. The product comes in last. Describing features is never discussed, unless its tech.

Fern - Gert:

* A million dollars really does not solve peoples problems. Fact it complicates it. I know of this in the first person as I have it.
* These days with ZIRP, living off $1mil is nearly useless. 2% returns on what most people are exposed to (savings accts, CDs, mutual funds). Can't live on that in the expected US type fashion. Financialization has destroyed a savers lifestyle.
* Consider, Bill Gates. He walks down to pick up his mail. On the ground is a $1000 bill USD. Does he pick it up? No he won't. The few seconds he takes to do so costs him money since a 1/8 tick in M$ stock means he wins/loses $10mil minimum. He's never alone. There are always security staff around him. He can never rest. People are pounding to avail themselves of his time.
* People who win the lotto big have two problems. 1/ They don't know how to manage it. 2/ They end up miserable or dead.

Bottom line. Skills before money. With skills one can earn the money. With skills one can save more money. With skills other worlds open up. And NO one does not need to go to a 'college' to get skills. Or, if you want 'college' go to YouTube University, its free.

Excellent podcast by the way
 
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I've just purchased the audio version of the book, but neither my Chromebook nor my android phone knows what to do with the file ..   .m4b ... ???  I've just learned this is an iTunes format; seems like I need to pay $.75 more to get the chopped up .mp3 version? Have to say I am quite bugged by this. (frowny face here)
 
john mcginnis
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Barbara Kochan wrote:I've just purchased the audio version of the book, but neither my Chromebook nor my android phone knows what to do with the file ..   .m4b ... ???  I've just learned this is an iTunes format; seems like I need to pay $.75 more to get the chopped up .mp3 version? Have to say I am quite bugged by this. (frowny face here)



Quick hack that might work for you. Change the extension from .m4b to .m4a. Then try windows Media Player. See if it will play. Good luck.
 
paul wheaton
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Barbara,

We had a lot of debate about the format.  It seems that the standard has been m4b for audiobooks for quite a while.  If it is m4b, it comes with some lovely features for audiobook folks.  The downside is that some older players that haven't been updated in a long time might not know what to do with it.  

And then there is the collection of mp3 files in a zip.   There are still some devices that pretend they don't know what a zip file is.  

To compound everything further, these are some pretty big files.  So what you see now is what we came up with.  

I've just learned this is an iTunes format



M4B is actually an ISO format.   Basically, after MP3 comes MP4.  And M4B is an ISO variation of MP4 specifically for audiobooks.   My impression is that this format has been around for more than ten years.  

John's suggestion might work.   M4B files are M4A files with a little something extra for audiobooks.  



I thought we did pretty good at coming up with a solution that, in the end, would work for everybody, but everybody doesn't automatically download the same massive file twice.  Most people will be fine with M4B and for the rare person that isn't we have a solution standing by for just $0.75.

 
Barbara Kochan
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Paul, Thank you very much. I have quite new devices and apps, so I guess I just need to figure out how to open this file with the book reader I have, or get another audiobook reader I can do that with. Thank you again. I am REALLY looking forward to reading the book. Okay, for the benefit of others: Kindle will not play m4b, but Smart Audiobook Player (Android)  does.
 
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Hi Paul and Shawn,  

Thank you so much for this book, just bought 12 to give away and am thinking to order a hardcover for our local library and I also supported the kickstarter project.

Normally at the end of reading a good book a little sadness comes in because it's over. I certainly felt like this after I finished reading your book, but realized quickly that there is no need for sadness, since I have all of the permies website to continue reading even more in depth. In fact it feels like that the book gives the overall structure to the permies website.

You are so inspiring in all ways and I feel as exited as you are about spreading the message for real solutions, rather than being angry...or just protesting.

I met permaculture almost 20 years ago when I saw one of Sepp Holzer's documentaries on German TV. At the time my husband and myself had a Lakota Native American teacher through whom we earned the right to run a sweat-lodge.
The similarity between permaculture and the Native American tradition/spirituality stuck out to us right away, especially the fact that observation is the core principle for both.
It led us to making and experimenting with Holzer mound - or Hugel beds right away. Later on I stumbled over Geoff Lawton and Bill Mollison. Never took the course out of timely reasons but noticed Paul and his permies site and the fact that he too thought that Sepp Holzer is the Perma-King.

Which brings me to my question hoping that this thread is the right place to ask.
Sepp Holzer's Hugel-beds are dug down as much as they rise up and I never read anywhere that he makes ditches filled with mulch on each side. On the other hand I learned from Paul's videos to build the mound while digging up the needed earth next to it, which makes the whole process less work-intensive. My husband and I currently live on a 5 acre piece of land and I have been hand-digging all my Hugel-beds, so the next one I'll make I'll definitely want to try the Wheaton way. Is there any other reason why your Hugel-building method is different from Sepp?

Other than that I would like to tell Shawn that I love Brussel-sprouts too, by taste and the way they look and my husband agrees entirely with Paul on this subject!

The kitchen chapter was the best for me personally, because I seem to be that nice woman you describe and by telling my people your conclusion that all problems start in the kitchen in all communities, the kitchen was officially dedicated to be mine and now things run much smoother only through raising the consciousness in this very area. So I would like to express my personal big THANK YOU for this revelation with immediate positive impact in my life!

There is so much more I could say, but for now I would just like to say Thank you to you both and Tracy and everyone who helped create this book.

I don't know if I am in the position to give out acorns but I for sure have plenty of real ones on my land especially at this time of the year.
So I would give the book 10 out of 10 acorns.  

P.S. I posted my comment on "say Hi to Paul and Shawn" first but noticed the link to "book comments" afterwards, so I reposted it...
 
pollinator
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I rate this book 10 out of 10 acorns!

I love this book because it's like having a conversation with a good friend. They're not afraid to tell you that maybe you're not being your best self, maybe you're a little lost right now, but here is a whole bunch of things you can do to be better and feel better at the same time! They do this while making you laugh the whole time, so you can't get too down about your mistakes.

I love this book because:

- It makes people excited to do things instead of just feel bad.
- Fun to read!
- The audiobook makes it accessible to more users!
- It's the only book my boyfriend has stolen from me and reads everyday.
 
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I’m confused. This link only goes to paypal. Is there a site to order on?
 
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I held a book launch event at a local bookstore. My favorite store. It was great! So many awesome people showed up that they had to put out extra chairs! I'm so grateful!

As a bit of extra icing on the cake, I received the following image in my emails today. Check out #4 in paperback non-fiction!
McNally-Best-Seller.jpg
[Thumbnail for McNally-Best-Seller.jpg]
 
Shawn Klassen-Koop
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Stephanie Naftal wrote:I’m confused. This link only goes to paypal. Is there a site to order on?



Paul can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think his system is set up that if you go through the paypal stuff, you will then get access to the ebook on permies.
 
paul wheaton
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Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:

Stephanie Naftal wrote:I’m confused. This link only goes to paypal. Is there a site to order on?



Paul can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think his system is set up that if you go through the paypal stuff, you will then get access to the ebook on permies.



Isn't the bit about forking money over to paypal the "order" part?  

"Is there a site to order on?" - can you give me an idea of what you have in mind?
 
john mcginnis
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Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:As a bit of extra icing on the cake, I received the following image in my emails today. Check out #4 in paperback non-fiction!



Kudos. Just wish they had not selected 'environmental issues' as the category. I might have selected 'lifestyle choices' as the book is far more than just environmental concerns. The title says it all.

Fantastic that you had a boffo turn out.
 
Stephanie Naftal
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I was just clicking on the wrong link. Ordered two - can’t wait!! One for me me me and one to throw at friends so they’ll love it and order one too.
 
paul wheaton
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Dave,

A long time ago, authors were supposed to put in an hour a day to participate in the book promotion event.   Is that still the case?  I think I've done okay - but if I am falling short, please let me know!

 
pollinator
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Paul and Shawn,

Thanks for a book which excites people.....I accidentally exposed a few people to the book and the style in which it was written really appealed to them......now if I can just get my book back
 
paul wheaton
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I'm glad to hear it is doing its job!  

I heard a sour note about the book a couple of days ago (I think this person wanted the book to say their message instead of mine).  So it is very refreshing to hear a kind word about it today!

 
Phil Swindler
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paul wheaton wrote:I'm glad to hear it is doing its job!  

I heard a sour note about the book a couple of days ago (I think this person wanted the book to say their message instead of mine).  So it is very refreshing to hear a kind word about it today!



First, I have to admit it is one of several things I am reading, so I am only a few chapters in.

My only criticism so far is - I want it thicker with way more information.

I like how it has the running commentary built in.
 
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Was one of the lucky winners of this book and plan to make it a Christmas gift to many of my friends and family. Humorous, well-researched, and just outstanding. Wish it was required reading in all schools! Thank you!
 
Orin Raichart
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Phil Swindler wrote:
.....My only criticism so far is - I want it thicker with way more information.



My brother and I discussed this very thing as I love Bill Mollison's thick book.....however, if one considers Mr. Wheaton's intentions,
1- to excite and attract those who know nothing about permaculture;
2- to help make permies.com a trading post of ideas and goods for people to live and to make a living (many of the references point back to permies.com);
3- to promote PDC and ATC classes for people to get deeper depth knowledge (the book whets the appetite for "ok, now how to do this";
4- to make this book an interesting read so the reader doesn't fall asleep.

Then damn Phil, Shawn and Paul did a bang up job.........you and I know how to ferret out deeper knowledge both on permies.com and from other sources......I think the book you and I want is a $175.00 book not a book below $25.00

So I understand your view point but I understand the need for "world domination" plans too.....

...Anyways, now this book has given Shawn and Paul the funds to create the unabridged 759 page tome you and I want at a price of $175....hint hint hint paul and shawn.....or Phil, maybe you and I should write it and have Shawn and Paul edit it :)
 
Phil Swindler
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Orin Raichart wrote:

My brother and I discussed this very thing as I love Bill Mollison's thick book.....however, if one considers Mr. Wheaton's intentions,
1- to excite and attract those who know nothing about permaculture;
2- to help make permies.com a trading post of ideas and goods for people to live and to make a living (many of the references point back to permies.com);
3- to promote PDC and ATC classes for people to get deeper depth knowledge (the book whets the appetite for "ok, now how to do this";
4- to make this book an interesting read so the reader doesn't fall asleep.

Then damn Phil, Shawn and Paul did a bang up job.........you and I know how to ferret out deeper knowledge both on permies.com and from other sources......I think the book you and I want is a $175.00 book not a book below $25.00

So I understand your view point but I understand the need for "world domination" plans too.....

...Anyways, now this book has given Shawn and Paul the funds to create the unabridged 759 page tome you and I want at a price of $175....hint hint hint paul and shawn.....or Phil, maybe you and I should write it and have Shawn and Paul edit it :)



I know.  I know.  I know.
But, I like Paul's stuff and was wanting more.

And I'm afraid me writing a book would spell the end of permaculture.

That's odd.  The spell checker flagged "permaculture" as a misspelled word on a Permaculture website.
It also flagged "permies" as misspelled on "permies.com".
 
paul wheaton
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The primary function of the book is that a person can buy a dozen or two and give them to others.  That would be hard to do with a $175 book.   Plus, if somebody doesn't know this stuff, then such a large book would be rather intimidating.  

This book is to convey a LOT of ideas very quickly.   A general framework of philosophy.  As part of a strategy that could REALLY affect global change.  

You give away a dozen, and two of those people give away a dozen, etc.  

And now we wait to see if it gets traction.   Will it take off?   So far, post-kickstarter sales have been slight.  Bummer.



 
Orin Raichart
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paul wheaton wrote: ......So far, post-kickstarter sales have been slight.  Bummer......



International book tour time methinks
 
pollinator
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Orin Raichart wrote:

paul wheaton wrote: ......So far, post-kickstarter sales have been slight.  Bummer......



International book tour time methinks


If you decide to do so, and come to the Netherlands ... Paul or Shawn, I have a guest room here. Large towns in the region: Groningen, Zwolle, Deventer, Zuthpen. Meppel is too small, not enough audience.  
 
paul wheaton
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I needed some smaller images.  

So i started with this jumbo image here and then made these ...
better-world-book-700.jpg
[Thumbnail for better-world-book-700.jpg]
better-world-book-600.jpg
[Thumbnail for better-world-book-600.jpg]
better-world-book-500.jpg
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better-world-book-300.jpg
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pollinator
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I'm part of a book discussion group at my local library and each December instead of all reading the same book to discuss we have a potluck and then share good books we've read with each other.  Naturally I presented the Building a Better World in your Backyard book to the group, noting that I thought it would make for an excellent book discussion if we all read it, because it is aimed at the average person, is a fairly quick easy read, and is chock full of ideas we could talk about.

The group seemed highly receptive.  The main library had previously said they would purchase copies when it was out, though they haven't yet as far as I know.  However, I do believe the head librarian at my local branch is going to push for having this made into one of the systems "book club in a bag" books.  I believe there are about 18 branches in the system and what they do to make things easier for their book discussion groups is purchase a dozen copies of a book that are put into a bag with some discussion questions and a check out sheet.  Then the local branches can check out the bag for their group  making it easy for everyone to get a copy to read in a timely manner for the monthly discussions.  I really hope the library does get them for this as it means that most likely many other branches will then be using it for their book discussion groups too!  It should happen because the interest is there and the funding is too.

Because things are planned in advance I suspect it won't be until sometime in the spring at the earliest before our group gets it.  However, thinking positively that it will happen, I suspect I will be the one leading this particular discussion and thus I should probably prepare a series of questions to get the discussion going.  These will likely also get included in the bag that will go out to the other book groups.  So I thought I'd pose the question here.  

What do you think some good discussion questions would be for this book?

A couple that come to mind immediately for me are:
1. Are you already doing any of the things mentioned in this book?
2. Is there something new you are inspired to try after reading the book?

Does anybody have any other thoughts?  
 
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David Huang wrote:What do you think some good discussion questions would be for this book?



What surprised you most?
Did you hear anything that made you feel liberated (maybe there's a better word for a happy eye opening relief at some new way of living)?
Was there anything presented in the book that you think is hogwash?

 
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I hereby declare that I am giving this book 8 out of 10 acorns.

Did that sound pompous and overblown to anyone else? That type of declarative, overly-qualified statement was really one of the only issues I had that detracted from the experience. I do apologise, Paul, but I don't think that particular quirk translated well, to my ear at least, in audiobook format. I think a little subtle, sarcastic understatement might have added some balance, but as it is, some parts came off as a little authoritarian. It was probably the delivery, too. That brand of humour mostly comes off well on your podcasts. Maybe you should have voiced your own audiobook? Then there wouldn't be any dissonance between the reader and the written voice.

The other thing I found cumbersome, but is totally an organic evolution of the Publishing Standards here on the site, is how every statement is carefully hedged or qualified as opinion. I think this might best be done in full in a Foreward section, because you have, as the authors, the ability to finish a whole argument to its completion. You don't have to exercise the level of caution necessary in a multi-post forum exchange, where leaving out an "in my opinion" might touch off a flame war. So I think it would flow better if instead of hedging every statement, that the statement refer to the section in the Foreward where you qualify the whole work as one of opinion, and save heightened levels of caution for subject areas that are most likely to be criticised by readers new to you, Paul, and to Permies.com.

But for what it was designed to do, it's a triumph. I especially like how it's a carefully non-partisan piece offering concrete steps to personal improvement in ways that promote the health of the whole system in every way. I think that as a roadmap to the type of thinking that makes up your take on permaculture, Paul, it works very well.

-CK
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Chris Kott wrote:...  That type of declarative, overly-qualified statement was really one of the only issues I had that detracted from the experience. I do apologise, Paul, but I don't think that particular quirk translated well, to my ear at least, in audiobook format. I think a little subtle, sarcastic understatement might have added some balance, but as it is, some parts came off as a little authoritarian. It was probably the delivery, too. That brand of humour mostly comes off well on your podcasts. Maybe you should have voiced your own audiobook? Then there wouldn't be any dissonance between the reader and the written voice. ... -CK


Chris, that's my opinion too. Paul should (oops) have read his own book himself for the audiobook. I only read the printed book, did not hear the audiobook, but while reading it was as if I heard Paul speaking, the same way he does in his podcasts.
 
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I bought the book. It is not bad at all, I am up to chapter 17 now and going. However, I feel like there should be more supporting evidence to a lot of claims in it - a lot of stuff is presented as fact. If it is in fact geared to people who already "believe" and are just looking for ways to change things for the better, it may work. However, if the book is seeking to change minds of skeptics, it definitely needs more supporting evidence, statistics, studies etc. - even if they are just links to stuff online. Maybe an accompanying simple website that has supporting links for each chapter? Tye book hints at a wealth of knowledge accumulated somewhere - where? Share where! :) Some stuff also sounds a bit extreme (but I have been doing it even before reading the book - like using light bulbs next to me at the desk to warm up :) ). Thanks for writing the book.
 
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Oddo Dassler wrote: it definitely needs more supporting evidence, statistics, studies etc. - even if they are just links to stuff online. Maybe an accompanying simple website that has supporting links for each chapter? Tye book hints at a wealth of knowledge accumulated somewhere - where? Share where!



Almost every page has at least one link to a discussion about things talked about in that page.

Here's an example.


 
Oddo Dassler
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Burra Maluca wrote:

Oddo Dassler wrote: it definitely needs more supporting evidence, statistics, studies etc. - even if they are just links to stuff online. Maybe an accompanying simple website that has supporting links for each chapter? Tye book hints at a wealth of knowledge accumulated somewhere - where? Share where!



Almost every page has at least one link to a discussion about things talked about in that page.

Here's an example.




Ah, thanks! I am reading the book on the 1st generation Kindle and the links are all bunched in a separate section I think at the end of the book, totally missed them! Thank you.
P.S. Links like beyondshampoo.com (linked from the book) do not work, someone should check them I suppose for completeness sake.
P.P.S. Also, links that are linked from the book are links to permies.com discussions, I followed a few and they lack scientific studies etc. as backing (which is what I was thinking about when I made my comment in this thread). For example, https://permies.com/t/108697 mentions no studies, just a set of recommendations.
 
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Oddo Dassler wrote:

Burra Maluca wrote:

Oddo Dassler wrote: it definitely needs more supporting evidence, statistics, studies etc. - even if they are just links to stuff online. Maybe an accompanying simple website that has supporting links for each chapter? Tye book hints at a wealth of knowledge accumulated somewhere - where? Share where!



Almost every page has at least one link to a discussion about things talked about in that page.

Here's an example.




Ah, thanks! I am reading the book on the 1st generation Kindle and the links are all bunched in a separate section I think at the end of the book, totally missed them! Thank you.
P.S. Links like beyondshampoo.com (linked from the book) do not work, someone should check them I suppose for completeness sake.
P.P.S. Also, links that are linked from the book are links to permies.com discussions, I followed a few and they lack scientific studies etc. as backing (which is what I was thinking about when I made my comment in this thread). For example, https://permies.com/t/108697 mentions no studies, just a set of recommendations.



The thread you linked to doesn't need scientific studies - there are toxic ingredients in everything listed as something to avoid there, so to avoid toxic stuff, it makes sense to follow those recommendations. Also I don't think the book was advertised as being full of science?
 
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