Skip to main content

Don Bain

Social Cost of Carbon Likely $220 / ton, Not $37 / ton According to Stanford Research

1 min read

A new study published in Nature Climate Change, http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate2481.html , suggests the cost of CO2 emissions used for evaluating policy is 6X too low, according to researchers at Stanford, http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/january/emissions-social-costs-011215.html. U.S. EPA uses $37 / ton currently to evaluate regulations, while the study suggests the number should be $220 / ton in 2015.

Don Bain

Book Review: Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate

1 min read

Are you smart, well-trained, competent, ethical and want to work on something really important? All that should be enough, right?

Read Stephen Schneider's Science as a Contact Sport to get enlightened about how you may also encounter loud, ungrounded bullies.

Ten minutes into Schneider's work, I was hooked as if he was reading and answering my mail.  I quickly turned to the back of the book jacket and discovered he is at Stanford, which explains some of that synchronicity.

After reading the book, I corresponded with Dr. Schneider. He was generous and gracious with his replies. We lost Dr. Schneider in 2010 and the climate problem will be harder without him.


Don Bain

Book Review: A World Without Ice by Henry Pollack

1 min read

I grow weary of the climate change debate waged in media for seemingly political sport.  So I tend to discount partisans in this circus.  But Pollack is none of that.  He is a quiet scientist trying to address the changes that have and will occur to the planet. 

Forget that Al Gore wrote the foreword. Think back to your physics class when you learned about latent heat of fusion. Now think about how that works at our polar regions.  Now you are in the frame of mind to absorb what this scientist has to say.

A World Without Ice is a worthwhile read.

Don Bain

Book Review: Confessions of a Radical Industrialist by Ray Anderson

1 min read

Was Ray Anderson before his time?  I think not.  Rather, the rest of the world remains blissfully, ignorantly, behind.

In Confessions, Ray Anderson spells out a lucid case for sustainability as a good sound basis for red-blooded capitalism. Adding 20:20 hindsight, it looks like he had first mover advantages that should be envied today.  However, as I reflect on it, he was wonderfully creative in creating and implementing good ideas -- and I suspect his teams continue this legacy today. That brings the real lessons of Confessions:  get started, make it count in terms of good business metrics (if you can't you aren't looking hard enough), and keep it up.

We lost Ray Anderson in 2011. His voice is missed.

Don Bain

Book Review: Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

1 min read

Rework is a fast read.  Enjoyed it.  Loved its contrarian posture vs. traditional management.  Interesting tempo too, reminiscent of Cluetrain Manifesto; short topics that better match short attention spans available from hyper-connected and otherwise distracted readers. If you are familiar with 37 Signals's work, you will find this book comfortable.

Don Bain

Book Review: Brain Rules by John Medina

1 min read

John Medina is good.  Watch his videos.  Read Brain Rules. Be very afraid watching drivers smiling on cell phones -- there's good science in the reason.

Don Bain

Book Review: The Flaw of Averages by Sam Savage

1 min read

The Flaw of Averages is wonderfully irreverent and insightful.  I never thought I would pick up a book on statistics and probability, and love it so much.  OK, it is not so much a book on probability and statistics as it is a romp through how to better frame uncertainty and risk management.  It also invites the reader to deploy some healthy skepticism when presented with decisions explained with traditional statistical shortcuts.

Sam Savage (Stanford) does a great job with this book.

Don Bain

Book Review: Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt: And Other Stories of Physics and Mathematics by Paul Nahin

1 min read

Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt is a fun read and a little whimsical as the title suggests.  It's my second from Paul Nahin.

 Here's the deal:  if you see the beauty in math, but long for more practical and less abstract explorations (as I do), then Electric Quilt is a fun, recreational read.  I enjoyed Digital Dice, also from Nahin, more because I could more readily apply it in my work.  Nevertheless, I take some comfort in seeing there is a market for this kind of book evidenced by publisher support.  I only hope that some of it is in the U.S.

Don Bain

Book Review: $20 per Gallon by Christopher Steiner

1 min read

$20 per Gallon is an excellent read.  Fast too.  Steiner has done the work of painting a picture we face as energy is repriced.  He goes several layers deep, including societal changes.  I am a big fan of scenario planning techniques, and $20 Per Gallon doesn't disappoint.

I appreciate how Steiner frames the discussion with positive outcomes of the reckoning.  Read this before you decide where to live.

With fracking in full swing now, I fear the audience for this book will not be ready to pay attention.

Don Bain

Book Review: Real-Time Profit Management: Making Your Bottom Line a Sure Thing

1 min read

Bob "Corky" Dragoo is a dear friend and one of my mentors. Real-Time Profit Management is timeless and delighfully readable.  Dragoo gets it right.