Notable Books, Blogs, Articles, Quotes, Tweets, Films, Case Studies

Philanthropy: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck, Barron’s Magazine
by Richard C. Morais
“Durning calls herself a “systems entrepreneur,” and she has demonstrated what that is at Planet Heritage Foundation, a $50-million-in-assets outfit where she’s executive director.”

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.”
William Shakespeare

Bad Credit is Making Global Warming Worse, Fortune
by Ion Yadigaroglu
“If renewable energy is to grow on a scale anywhere close to what’s required, rich countries need to guarantee solar and wind bonds in the developing world. It is in the developing world where most of the additional carbon released into the atmosphere will come from.”

The Dawn of Systems Leadership, Stanford Social Innovation Review
by Peter Senge
“The deep changes necessary to accelerate progress against society’s most intractable problems require a unique type of leader—the system leader, a person who catalyzes collective leadership.”

How Smart Animal Shelters Aim for ‘Zero Kill’, New York Times
by David Bornstein
“Durning had a question: If these approaches were saving the lives of so many animals, why wasn’t everyone using them? The answer: somebody needed to identify the best practices, assemble them in an easy-to-understand program, and set out to deliver them systematically to where they were most needed.”

Finding Strength In Humility, New York Times
by Tony Schwartz
“In a complex world that so plainly and painfully defies easy answers, humility is an antidote to overconfidence. It gives leaders permission to accept and acknowledge their limitations, to learn from them and continue to grow and evolve.”

Nuclear and Renewable Shared Goal and Comparative Costs, The Energy Collective
by Tracey Durning
“The very nature of “I’m right!” is, in and of itself, a divisive non-starter, sure to make the ‘other side’ dig their heels in even deeper. As David MacKay wisely noted in his 2012 TED talk “We need to stop shouting and start talking.  And if we can have a grownup conversation, make a plan that adds up and get building, maybe this low carbon revolution will actually be fun.”

The Real Climate Game-changer? Humility and Hauling Ass on a Plan B, The Huffington Post
by Tracey Durning
“In my personal hunt for sanity, I’m going to offer up a few new ideas about how we might approach things a bit differently this time around. And it starts with a hefty dose of humility.”

Consultants in Animal Welfare, Out the Front Door
“One thing that strikes me about the cities that Target Zero is consulting with is that none of them are easy. If a consultant wanted an easy in, the thing to do would be to consult with, or even take a position as director of, a non-profit contract shelter with a good endowment in a small, progressive community that already has an above-average live release rate. What TZ has done is pretty much the opposite. They are wading into places like Baton Rouge and Indianapolis that have been graveyards of previous No Kill attempts.”

I Want To Move Through the World With Open-Minded, Collaborative, Let’s Get Real *& Done Disruptors. How About You?,
The Huffington Post
by Tracey Durning
“I believe that in today’s world it’s not all about programs or funding or technology or communications or policy or entrepreneurship or, or, or. It’s about cross sector partnerships — with a dynamic, strategic connecting of dots — to get to the innovation and scale we need to get to.”

by Tracey Durning
“Last week a mantra (by some) stood out to me: that Vaclav Smil is a “pessimist” because of his recent article titled “Revolution? More like a Crawl”. Admittedly, the title doesn’t reek of optimism, but the article itself fully acknowledges the advances being made in today’s energy landscape, yet refrains from turning that reality into an overhyped, oversimplified narrative of solving climate change, which too many lazily fall into the trap of doing in my opinion. The thing is, say what you will about Smil, he knows his stuff and comes with an awful lot of evidence to support his ideas.”

5 Startup Mistakes I’ll Never Make Again, Fast Company
by Amber Rae
“Don’t partner up too fast, but do fire quickly. And “good enough” is usually not good enough.”

‘Money for risk-taking – the serious f*ck-it-this-feels-right longshot projects – is hard to find.’
Blog by Alex Steffen

@pierre (Pierre Omidyar) “It’s the Sector, Stupid. Our approach to impact investing.”
http://bit.ly/SPLzHL

“We need to tap into enlightened self-interest.”
Larry Brilliant, Skoll Urgent Threats

“Begin with the end in mind.”
Steven Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Collaborating To Zero, The Huffington Post
by Tracey Durning
“All of us at TZI understand that moving and problem-solving together — the Institute, other expert-partners and organizations in the field, our growing list of Fellows, the right funders and also folks outside of the animal sector doing things we can learn from — is the best way to accomplish our ambitious goal of getting to zero.”

How To Get a Jumpstart on Your Philanthropy, Forbes
by Willa Seldon
“As a newcomer with more passion for an issue than in-depth knowledge, the road to success can lead to working with like-minded philanthropists and foundations from whom you can learn. Consider collaborating with other more experienced funders and learning from them. That’s a course charted by a global funders’ collaborative Oceans 5.”

High Stakes Donor Collaborations, Stanford Social Innovation Review
by Willa Seldon, Thomas Tierney and Gihani Fernando
“Pioneering groups of foundations and philanthropists have pooled their talent and resources to help solve social sector problems too big for anyone to tackle alone. What can donors learn from these efforts?”

Searching for Sugarman: A must see documentary film
Social Media is about Cultivating Community, Not Coralling Cattle by Bob Garfield
“If you are cultivating community and conversation for the purpose of corralling cattle into the slaughterhouse, you are not engaging in a social strategy. You are engaging in a sales strategy, which is pretty close to the antithesis of social marketing. We are in the Relationship Era. This is no time for manipulation.”

TED Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek
“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

“Politeness is the poison of collaboration.”
Edwin Land, co-founder of Polaroid

Lessons From Polio by Ned Breslin
“The WASH sector could learn a great deal from the international effort to eradicate polio spearheaded by Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many other organizations, which began by setting a clear outcome that was achievable at a global level. They targeted the complete eradication of this dreaded disease, and they measured success/results based on the sustained movement towards that outcome. ”

Focus on Outcomes, Not Inputs by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler
“What I’ve noticed about bureaucratic programs is that for all their rules and red tape, they keep very little track of what actually happens to the people they’re serving. If that’s built in from the beginning–if you keep track of results–you can dispense with a lot of red tape.”

A Water Charity Spills Its Secrets, And Donors Open Their Wallets
by Caroline Preston, The Chronicle Of Philanthropy, November 4, 2010
A must-read for every nonprofit organization in understanding the power of transparency.

“If you want to be incrementally better, be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better, be cooperative.”
Unknown

“Find something that matters deeply to you and pursue it. Question. Stand. Speak. Act. Make us uncomfortable. Make us think.”
Terry Tempest Williams

TED Talk: Kathryn Schulz On Being Wrong
Most of us will do anything to avoid being wrong. But what if we’re wrong about that? Kathryn Schulz makes a compelling case for not just admitting, but embracing, our fallibility.

“I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”
Harry Truman

Cradle To Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
Consider this: all the ants on the planet, taken together, have a biomass greater than that of humans. Ants have been incredibly industrious for millions of years. Yet their productiveness nourishes plants, animals, and soil. Human industry has been in full swing for little over a century, yet is has brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the planet. Nature doesn’t have a design problem. People do.

The Art of the Question by Marilee Goldberg
Because questions are intrinsically related to action, they spark and direct attention, perception, energy, and effort, and so are at the heart of the evolving forms that our lives assume. Creativity requires asking genuine questions, those to which an answer is not already known. Questions function as open-handed invitations to creativity, calling forth that which doesn’t yet exist.

Talk Deeply, Be Happy by Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times, March 17, 2010
“It may sound counterintuitive, but people who spend more of their day having deep discussions and less time engaging in small talk seem to be happier” said Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who published a study on the subject.

Why Isn’t Wall Street In Jail? by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone February 2011
Nobody goes to jail. This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth – and nobody went to jail.

TED Talk: Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability
Brene Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love.

“The most potent seeds of cultural renaissance come from the uniquely creative ventures of authentic adults, those who have consciously discovered and committed to the one true life they can call their own, a life that emerges from the largest conversation one is capable of having with the world. All such adults are, by definition, true artists, visionaries, and leaders, whether they live and work quietly in small arenas or very publicly on grand stages.”
-Bill Plotkin

“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Inside Job documentary film by Charles Fergusson
“If somebody had told me in the fall of 2008 that this had gone on on a huge scale – tens of billions of dollars – I would have said, ‘No, that’s just too extreme. People don’t do that. And if you do do it, you would go to jail.’ They did do it, and nobody’s gone to jail.” (trailer)

The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto
It’s not that poor, postcommunist countries don’t have the assets to make capitalism flourish. No, the real problem is that such countries have yet to establish and normalize the invisible network of laws that turns assets from “dead” into “liquid” capital. Outside the West, in countries as different as Russia and Peru, it is not religion, culture, or race issues that are blocking the spread of capitalism but the lack of a legal process for making property systems work.

“If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway.”
-Mother Theresa

I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Mind creates the abyss. The heart crosses it.””Disregard every self-seeking motive as soon as it is seen and you need not search for truth, truth will find you.”

Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block
How is community built? What fundamental shifts away from fragmentation are involved? Community explores a way of thinking that creates an opening for authentic communities to exist and details what each of us can do to make that happen.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Henry Ford

Authentic Conversations: Moving From Manipulation to Truth and Commitment by Jamie Showkeir and Maren Showkeir
Choosing authentic conversations to create an adult culture, as opposed to the parent-child culture, focused on personal accountability, is a challenge for every single person in the organization. Were it not for risk, there would be no need for courage. The absence of courage is sleep. It is time to wake up.

“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confineness of your aloneness to learn that anything or anyone that does not bring you alive, is too small for you.”
David Whyte, House of Belongings

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
“It’s embarassing that piddly little projects like ours should serve as exemplars. It’s only because other people haven’t been doing their jobs.”
-Paul Farmer

Because of ions, “the movement of people, the convergence of science, and the leap of computation,” a wide range of materials available for new and recontextualized uses is becoming a norm rather than an exception, much as the Medici family of Renaissance Italy’s patronage helped develop European arts and culture.