Chelsea Green Publishing

Companies We Keep

Pages:352 pages
Book Art:Black and white photos
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603580007
Pub. Date November 08, 2008

Companies We Keep

Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, 2nd Edition

By John Abrams
Foreword by William Greider

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
November 08, 2008


Part memoir and part examination of a new business model, the 2005 release of The Company We Keep marked the debut of an important new voice in the literature of American business. Now, in Companies We Keep, the revised and expanded edition of his 2005 work, John Abrams further develops his idea that companies flourish when they become centers of interdependence, or “communities of enterprise.”

Thoroughly revised with an expanded focus on employee ownership and workplace democracy, Companies We Keep celebrates the idea that when employees share in the rewards as well as the responsibility for the decisions they make, better decisions result. This is an especially timely topic. Most of the baby boomer generation—the owners of millions of American businesses— will retire within the next two decades. In 2001, 50,000 businesses changed hands. In 2005, that number rose to 350,000. Projections call for 750,000 ownership transitions in 2009. Employee ownership—in both the philosophical and the practical sense—is gathering steam as businesses change hands, and Abrams examines some of the many ways this is done.

Companies We Keep is structured around eight principles—from “Sharing Ownership” and “Cultivating Workplace Democracy” to “Thinking Like Cathedral Builders” and “Committing to the Business of Place”—that Abrams has discovered in the 32 years since he cofounded South Mountain Company on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Together, these principles reveal communities of enterprise as a potent force of change that can—and will— improve the way Americans do business.


"John Abrams tells a wonderful story, full of ideas about our society. We all need the South Mountain Company--and its human lessons."--Anthony Lewis, New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner


John Abrams

John Abrams is co-founder and president of South Mountain Company, a design/build and renewable energy company on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. In 1987, South Mountain Company was restructured to become employee-owned, and so began the adventure that led Abrams to write his first book, The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place. With added experience and research, Abrams has revised the book, renamed Companies We Keep: Employee Ownership and the Business of Community and Place, so that it can better serve as a primer for employee-ownership. In 2005 Business Ethics magazine awarded South Mountain its National Award for Workplace Democracy.




John Abrams, author of The Company We Keep

John Abrams discusses his book Companies We Keep

John Abrams Keynote at Bioneers by the Bay 2008


The New Feminist Agenda

The New Feminist Agenda

By Madeleine Kunin

Feminists opened up thousands of doors in the 1960s and 1970s, but decades later, are U.S. women where they thought they'd be? The answer, it turns out, is a resounding no. Surely there have been gains. Women now comprise nearly 60 percent of college undergraduates and half of all medical and law students. They have entered the workforce in record numbers, making the two-wage-earner family the norm. But combining a career and family turned out to be more complicated than expected. While women changed, social structures surrounding work and family remained static. Affordable and high-quality child care, paid family leave, and equal pay for equal work remain elusive for the vast majority of working women. In fact, the nation has fallen far behind other parts of the world on the gender-equity front. We lag behind more than seventy countries when it comes to the percentage of women holding elected federal offices. Only 17 percent of corporate boards include women members. And just 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women.

It's time, says Madeleine M. Kunin, to change all that. Looking back over five decades of advocacy, she analyzes where progress stalled, looks at the successes of other countries, and charts the course for the next feminist revolution--one that mobilizes women, and men, to call for the kind of government and workplace policies that can improve the lives of women and strengthen their families.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

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The New Feminist Agenda

Madeleine Kunin

Paperback $17.95

We Don’t Quit!

We Don’t Quit!

By Don Stillman

We Don’t Quit! describes the crucial role the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has played in the global struggle for workers’ rights. At a time when labor’s power seems to be waning, the book establishes the UAW’s vigorous internationalism as a counterbalance to corporate globalization and anti-worker repression by foreign governments. The UAW joined independent black unions in South Africa in the struggle against apartheid. It supported the Solidarity union in Poland that toppled the communist regime there. In Central America, the UAW stood up for workers targeted by death squads. In moving detail, author Don Stillman describes the UAW’s efforts to win freedom for imprisoned worker activists in Burma, China, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Mexico. In addition, he outlines how the support of German workers helped the UAW organize workers in North Carolina in the face of a harsh anti-union campaign. At a time when corporations operate without national boundaries, We Don’t Quit!charts a path for workers to join together across borders to preserve and expand workers’ rights.

Available in: Paperback

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We Don’t Quit!

Don Stillman, Gary Casteel, Dennis Williams

Paperback $25.00

Thinking in Systems

Thinking in Systems

By Donella Meadows

In the years following her role as the lead author of the international bestseller, Limits to Growth—the first book to show the consequences of unchecked growth on a finite planet— Donella Meadows remained a pioneer of environmental and social analysis until her untimely death in 2001.

Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute’s Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life.

Some of the biggest problems facing the world—war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation—are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking.

While readers will learn the conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking, the heart of the book is grander than methodology. Donella Meadows was known as much for nurturing positive outcomes as she was for delving into the science behind global dilemmas. She reminds readers to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable, to stay humble, and to stay a learner.

In a world growing ever more complicated, crowded, and interdependent, Thinking in Systems helps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, the first step toward finding proactive and effective solutions.

Available in: Paperback

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Thinking in Systems

Donella Meadows, Diana Wright

Paperback $19.95

The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook & Business Advice for Organic Farmers with Richard Wiswall (Book & DVD Bundle)

The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook & Business Advice for Organic Farmers with Richard Wiswall (Book & DVD Bundle)

By Richard Wiswall

Contrary to popular belief, a good living can be made on an organic farm. What's required is farming smarter, not harder.

In this book and DVD set longtime farmer Richard Wiswall shares his story, and offers detailed advice on how to make your farm production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit. 

From his twenty-seven years of experience at Cate Farm in Vermont, Wiswall knows firsthand the joys of starting and operating an organic farm—as well as the challenges of making a living from one. Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one's own boss, and working intimately with nature. But, unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming, and because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating—and often avoidable—losses. 

The DVD consists of a filmed workshop and interview, recorded at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Winter Conference in 2010 and at Wiswall's Cate Farm. This workshop offers invaluable exercises for business-savvy farmers, including information on the costs of running a farm, office and bookkeeping management, creating a budget and crop enterprise plan, and getting down the the nuts and bolts of business management, that's easy to understand. Through in-the-classroom footage and step-by-step guidance to "sharpening the pencil", as well as footage of Wiswall's fields, greenhouse, and barn, viewers will leave this "workshop" knowing how to achieve true profit, that will last for years to come. Also included is a bonus disc with downloadable spreadsheets for creating your own budget, marketing, profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow.

Wiswall's book, The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook (Chelsea Green, 2009), offers more on all of this information, as well as a comprehensive business kit including:

  •     Step-by-step procedures to make your crop production more efficient
  •     Advice on managing employees, farm operations, and office systems
  •     Novel marketing strategies
  •     What to do with your profits: business spending, investing, and planning for retirement

A companion CD in the book also offers valuable business tools, including easy-to-use spreadsheets for projecting cash flow, a payroll calculator, comprehensive crop budgets for forty different crops, and tax planners.


Available in: Mixed media product

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The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook & Business Advice for Organic Farmers with Richard Wiswall (Book & DVD Bundle)

Richard Wiswall

Mixed media product $49.95