Monday, 28 December 2020

Manifesto by Dale Vince

Manifesto: How a maverick entrepreneur took on British energy and won by Dale Vince
Published by Ebury on the 26th November 2020.

A Book with a Vegan and included in my Vegan Bookshop

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dale Vince never intended to start a business. Driven by a passion for sustainability, he left school aged 15 and became a New Age traveller, living for free in a wind-powered double decker bus. But after building his first wind turbine, he realised that to change the world he needed to be on the grid, not off it. In 1996 he founded green energy company Ecotricity based on principles of social, financial and environmental sustainability, and changed the landscape of UK energy forever. 

Since then, Dale has been appointed a UN ambassador for climate issues, become the owner of the first ever vegan football club, and amassed a fortune of over £120 million built on sustainability. He has also been a vocal supporter of Extinction Rebellion which, like Ecotricity, is based in Stroud. In this book, he shares his single-minded and uniquely purpose-orientated approach to business, with lessons learned from experience that will speak to any fledgling entrepreneur. 

This is the story of a man whose unwavering mission to help save the environment has driven him all the way to the top, and a powerful manifesto for anyone who wants to change the world.

Despite having chosen Ecotricity for our energy supplier in the days when we still lived in a bricks and mortar home, I knew little about Dale Vince, the man who founded the company. Ecotricity's aims and vision so chimes with my own though that, when I saw Vince's Manifesto memoir on NetGalley, I was eager to read his words. In Manifesto, Vince discusses his New Age traveller lifestyle and how the practical skills he learned in those years proved invaluable when he set out to build his first wind turbine, a process which eventually led to Ecotricity. This is a massively inspirational book about the power of self-belief. I can now understand why so many established figures sneered at Vince in the early years. By taking a very different path, he clearly illustrated how closed-minded and outdated the British energy industry truly is, while simultaneously demonstrating that his green approach is both an environmental and an economically successful model.

The final section of Manifesto sets out Vince's vision for Britain's potential future and, as I read, I could feel myself becoming energised and hopeful again for the first time in several years. His ideas for energy creation alongside job creation and resource conservation are completely at odds with the industry's usual profit-at-any-cost way of doing things, but laid out in this book it all seems such an obvious way forward that will benefit everybody, not just an already-wealthy few. I understood that Vince speaks from the heart throughout Manifesto. I appreciated that his style and language reflects his life experience of facing practical challenges and doggedly learning how to overcome them. Such a hands-on approach has been much maligned over recent decades, but the ticking climate emergency clock means we need to make drastic changes now and the resurgence of interest in traditional and alternative technologies might just be the most timely solution. Britain's landscape was already once dotted with windmills and watermills after all. Vince repeatedly states how much influence individual people do have through the purchasing decisions they make - what we buy or, indeed, whether we choose to make, borrow or do without instead. As a result of reading Manifesto, I'm fired up to redouble my own efforts.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Dale Vince / Biography and memoir / Books from England

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