Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday's green books series: The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome

Once a big house in the suburb was an indicator of success in America. It was part of the American Dream. Today it is transforming from an asset to a liability and becomes a nightmare for so many.

The book we're reviewing today is looking into this dream, the crisis that now seemed so inevitable and a new sustainable dream that should replace it.

Our book today is:

The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream

Author: John F. Wasik

John Wasik has won 18 journalism awards, including several from the National Press Club, for consumer and business journalism. His Merchant of Power was praised by Studs Terkel and well reviewed by the New York Times. Wasik is a financial columnist for Bloomberg News and the author of 11 other book s. He has appeared on such national media as NBC, NPR, and PBS.

Bloomberg Press

Published on:
June 2009

What this book is about? (from the the book's Amazon webpage)
An incisive look at the consequences of today's costly and damaging suburban lifestyle, this new book exposes the economic, cultural, environmental, and health problems underlying life in suburbia. John Wasik provides powerful insights into how the U.S. suburban lifestyle became unsustainable and what can be done to salvage it.

Wasik's observations are firmly grounded in exclusive on-the-ground research, interviews with thought leaders, and the latest studies and statistics. He exposes the untold truths about home ownership: green isn't always so green, life isn't cheaper after accounting for gas, water, and taxes, and modern suburban living isn't so idyllic considering the toll it takes on our health.

Wasik's trenchant analysis adds a new dimension to an important topic, with exclusive research and analysis that debunks the many myths of suburban living, while exploring innovative solutions being developed in cities and suburbs across the country.

Why you should get it?
If you live in suburbia and less and less feel that you're living the American dream, this is the book for you. Not only that this book raises the right questions, it also provide you with some of the answers.

There are some books that are discussing green housing alternatives, some more conventional and some are less, but they're mostly focusing on the environmental-economic link from an efficiency point of view. This book is unique in its much more diverse inter-disciplinary approach, as it masterly presents
the connection between the economy, environment, sustainable development and the American way of life.

And of course there's the focus on the housing bubble, or as the book calls it "one of the most devastating housing recessions since the 1930s". This is the first book that I see which is connecting all the dots, economic, cultural and environmental, with regard to this significant financial blowup that is still going on.

Wasik does a great job in both describing the problem and offering various solutions. I like the fact that he keeps the discussion as practical as possible with many examples that makes this book much more than a theoretical manifesto - it is a description of a dream that once was admired by everyone and its demise. Moreover, it's a description of a new dream, a sustainable one that can shape the future of the U.S. and creates a whole new American dream.

What others say about the book:
"John Wasik's The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome offers enough to chew on for three sets of teeth, enough to digest for three stomachs, and the alerts the mind faster than an approaching siren." -Ralph Nader, Consumer advocate

"Get ready for a totally original look at the American dream. Wasik delivers the first truly multidisciplinary examination—using planning, law, architecture, and history to focus on working solutions that can keep the dream alive. This is a winner!" — Paul B. Farrell, JD, PhD. Columnist, and author of The Millionaire Code

"This excellent book takes a ground-level look at the causes of our housing crisis and offers a myriad of ideas on reinventing the concepts of home and community.” —Ilyce R. Glink, syndicated real estate columnist, author of 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our green books page on our website's green resources section.

More related links:

Interview with the the author, John Wasik

Podcast of the author on Blog Talk Radio

The author's website

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing

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