Author of The Big Thirst:The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
- The Washington Post
Charles Fishman's latest book, The Big Thirst, examines how water resources will come to define this century; a year into its release, the book is a popular common read on college campuses and a must-read in boardrooms. In The Big Thirst, Fishman helps redefine how we look at water, our most essential but, in many ways, misunderstood resource. Fishman highlights water's vital role in the business sector (especially to businesses who seemingly have nothing to do with water!) and points to the many contradictions of water in the developing world, leaving audiences with a hopeful vision of how current wasteful ways can be curbed through ingenuity and conscientious stewardship. Extending his coverage, Fishman now also blogs about water for National Geographic.
There's Money in the Pipes: The Urgency of Understanding the Value of Water
We are entering a new age of water— an era of risk, anxiety, and opportunity unlike any in the previous century. There is no clearer sign of the fresh importance of water than the fact that some of the world's smartest companies—such as Coca-Cola and Intel—are re-imagining their water use, changing their priorities, and, in some cases, even changing their products. (Campbell's, for instance, has changed the way it cooks tomato soup.) Even companies with no obvious connection are taking water seriously: GE and IBM both have started water divisions to turn water into a business. In an eye-opening and contrarian talk, Charles Fishman takes you to the frontlines of water to show you what's at stake, what you need to know, where the innovation is happening, and how your company can benefit. Fishman has spent the last three years understanding how the relationship between corporations and water is about to change. He has circled the globe to visit the companies, and the communities, that are trying to understand their own water use, and he distills, on stage, everything he's learned from them. Those who hear this talk will never think about water, and its striking implications, the same way again.
The New Age of Water: Re-imagining How We Use Water, and How We Think About It
We have been living through a 100-year-long golden age of water. We never think about water's availability, we never hesitate to run a bath because of the water bill, and we never worry about whether our tap water will make us sick. But that golden age of water— where water is unlimited, safe, and free— is over. We are at the dawn of a new age of high-stakes water, an era in which supplies and systems are under pressure from growing populations, surging economic growth, and dramatic swings in weather. In this new age of water, we'll pay more, but we'll waste less. And we'll have to be much smarter about every drop. We won't lack water— the global water crisis is mostly a scary myth. But we won't be able to ignore our water anymore. The current generation of college students will reach adulthood with a much different view of water than the one held by their parents. In a remarkable keynote, award-winning investigative journalist Charles Fishman delivers a persuasive, fascinating, and urgent primer on the history and future of water. He takes you from a factory in Vermont with water so clean it is considered poisonous, to villages in India that have 24-hour-a-day cell phone service but no water service at all. Fishman has spent the last three years circling the globe—from Las Vegas to New Delhi— to uncover how the world of water is changing, and what the enormous implications are for each of us, no matter where we live.
Winning in the Downturn: Secrets in Economic Survival from Wal-Mart
In all the stories about the damage the economic downturn is doing to individuals, companies, industries, even whole countries, there is one dramatic exception: Wal-Mart. While global giants like American Express struggle, Wal-Mart thrives—with growing sales, increasing profits, new customers, a new image, even a new attitude. It's no accident. Wal-Mart was ready for the economic hard times. And Wal-Mart is innovating right through the recession. How can it succeed when everyone else is failing? In this talk, Charles Fishman goes deep inside the company to pull out the lessons that other businesses can take from the Wal-Mart way of doing business. He gives you ideas you can use now, a way of thinking about your strategy and business when stability returns, and a burst of energy for tackling tough times—all told with the vivid anecdotes and case-studies which are the hallmark of Fishman's work.
The Wal-Mart Effect
In this keynote, Fishman tells you what Wal-Mart means for your business. Wal-Mart is derided for its labor practices and bullying tactics. But it has also led innovation in practically every field of business and has helped the bottom line of the millions of Americans who shop there (57% of all American adults shop there every week). What can you learn from Wal-Mart's practices, successes and misfires? For companies in direct competition, he offers ways to exploit Wal-Mart's real weaknesses: you won't —and can't—beat them on price or on scale, but you can find other ways to win. Far from a keynote on just retailing, Fishman delivers a fascinating exploration of what it takes to do business in the global economy.
Giants like Whole Foods and Amazon succeed by treating innovation as an everyday occurrence—not a "special occasion" event. Charles Fishman has delved deeply into these companies—some of the most successful of the last decade—and, in this new talk, he delivers practical insights into how you can, and why you must, infuse every aspect of your daily work with innovation and creativity. For these companies, as it should be for yours, innovation is not a single masterstroke—it is something that is produced, systematically, incrementally, and daily, from employees, customers, even competitors.
The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
The water coming out of your tap is four billion years old and might have been slurped by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We will always have exactly as much water on Earth as we have ever had. Water cannot be destroyed, and it can always be made clean enough for drinking again. In fact, water can be made so clean that it actually becomes toxic. As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this delightful narrative excursion, water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways, which is both the promise and the peril of our unexplored connections to it.
Taking listeners from the wet moons of Saturn to the water-obsessed hotels of Las Vegas, and from a rice farm in the Australian outback to a glimpse into giant vats of soup at Campbell's largest factory, he reveals that our relationship to water is conflicted and irrational, neglected and mismanaged. Whether we will face a water scarcity crisis has little to do with water and everything to do with how we think about water-how we use it, connect with it, and understand it.
Portraying and explaining both the dangers--in 2008, Atlanta came just ninety days from running completely out of drinking water--and the opportunities, such as advances in rainwater harvesting and businesses that are making huge breakthroughs in water productivity, The Big Thirst will forever change the way we think about water, our crucial relationship to it, and the creativity we can bring to ensuring we always have plenty of it.
The Wal-Mart Effect
An award-winning journalist breaks through the wall of secrecy to reveal the many astonishing ways Wal-Mart's power affects our lives and reaches all around the world. The Wal-Mart Effect portrays the overwhelming impact of the world's largest company--due to its relentless pursuit of low prices--on retailers and manufacturers, wages and jobs, the culture of shopping, the shape of our communities, and the environment; a global force of unprecedented nature.
Wal-Mart is not only the world's largest company; it is also the largest company in the history of the world. Americans spend $26 million every hour at Wal-Mart, twenty-four hours of every day, every day of the year. Is the company a good thing or a bad thing? On the one hand, market guru Warren Buffett estimates that the company's low prices save American consumers $10 billion a year. On the other, the behemoth is the #1 employer in thirty-seven of the fifty states yet has never let a union in the door. Though 70 percent of Americans now live within a fifteen-minute drive of a Wal-Mart store, we have not even begun to understand the true power of the company and the many ways it is shaping American life. We know about the lawsuits and the labor protests, but what we don't know is how profoundly the "Wal-Mart effect" is shaping our lives.
Fast Company senior editor Fishman, whose revelatory cover story on Wal-Mart generated the strongest reader response in the history of the magazine, takes us on an unprecedented behind-the-scenes investigative expedition deep inside the many worlds of Wal-Mart. He reveals the radical ways in which the company is transforming America's economy, our workforce, our communities, and our environment. Fishman penetrated the secrecy of Wal-Mart headquarters, interviewing twenty-five high-level ex-executives; he journeyed into the world of a host of Wal-Mart's suppliers to uncover how the company strong-arms even the most established brands; and journeyed to the ports and factories, the fields and forests where Wal-Mart's power is warping the very structure of the world's market for goods. Wal-Mart is not just a retailer anymore, Fishman argues. It has become a kind of economic ecosystem, and anyone who wants to understand the forces shaping our world today must understand the company's hidden reach.
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