In 2009, the portends and omens were not looking good for the global economy.  It was the aftermath of the grand collapse of the-world-as-we-knew-it.  The young people coming up (as well as every other person on the planet) were facing a future where the dust was still settling.

Scary times were not coming; they were already here.  Everybody was scrambling, trying to make sense of the shifting landscape and trying to figure out which direction to take and what moves to make.

PRODUCT:  (Book) MAKING GOOD:  Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World

Authors:  Dev Aujla and Billy Parish

Published by Rodale Press, 2012

Two young men, Billy Parish and Dev Aujla, both of whom were already successfully working in their own ways to help rebuild a broken world, connected with each other and committed to collaborate on putting together a book “on how to make a living while saving the world.  It came out in 2012.  It was titled, “MAKING GOOD:  Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World.”

When they began working on the book, both Parrish and Aujla were already “making good.”  Billy Parish dropped out of Yale University to co-found the Energy Action Coalition.  He grew the Coalition into the world’s largest youth advocacy organization working on climate.  Meanwhile, Dev Aujla was the co-founder of DreamNow, a charitable organization that works with young people to develop, fund, and implement their social-change products.

The men’s side-hustles, the ones that made the money they needed to live the lives they wanted, were aligned with their primary visions for putting the world back together.  They were walking their talk.

The basic question they tried to answer in MAKING GOOD was a big one:  “How do we translate the desire to do something good into a rich and sustaining life path that affects real change?”

The question, posited in a more pragmatic way, boils down to, “How do I feed and support myself and my family while I work to help fix the broken world?”  A very good question.

Parish and Aujla went looking for the back-stories of people who were finding the answers to that question, each in their own way.  They talked to major players on the international scene.  They talked to local, small-time organic farmers, artisans and business people who were working to make their communities better.

The authors distilled the lessons learned from these stories as well as from their own adventures to put together a book that – as promised – lays out how to sort through the confusing array of choices and options, opportunities and resources available in the existing, confusing mish-mash.

Their book guides you through assorted techniques and strategies you can use to find your own way through it all.  It comes replete with encouraging stories about what worked well for other people as well as cautionary tales that help to ground your dreaming.


The authors do not promise “easy.”  They tell you upfront:  “This book is not a quick fix.”  As the authors point out,

Real change requires diligent mental and physical training and consistent effort.  It’s a marathon.  We all have routines and patterns etched deeply into our lives, and finding free reign to start something ambitious might not be as appealing as the idea that change will arrive in a miraculous moment.  We just wish it were that simple.  But let’s get real.

Nothing in this book will work without long-term, sustained, and mindful effort put in by you.  That said, I do want to note that this book is one of the few I have seen that lays  out the process and practice of creating a meaningful life in a clear, authentic and very do-able way.

The book unpacks and illuminates the six steps that make up the path that leads toward making up a life that is not unsatisfactory.  These six steps are:


Each one comes with an array of tools, strategies, and resources you can explore.


The one step that resonates with me is the first one, REFLECT.  The start for successfully making the changes to get to a meaningful (and sustainable) life begins in your own head, the authors say.

It starts, in other words, with consulting your Inner Smarty-Pants.  You ask yourself the hardest  Life Questions and then sit there and listen for the answers that arise.

The problem is your Inner Smarty-Pants lives in your right brain and it isn’t very big on words and talking.  It tends to use shorthand and code so you have to unpack its messages your own self.

In the book the “daily practice exercise” that is meant to help you access your Inner Smarty-Pants is dubbed “Inner Knowing.”  It is a four-step process that involves what they call centering, asking, receiving, and applying.  It’s one of the daily practices scattered throughout the book that were adapted from ones presented by Robert Gass at the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s year-long “Leading From the Inside-Out” intensive training.

[You might want to check out the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s new blog and podcast series by clicking on the button below.]


Personally I’ve encountered and tried similar exercises before and I’m here to tell you they do work.

However, in my own Life-Built Poem-making, I did add a refinement to the basic daily practice thing in the book…mostly because sitting still waiting for my own cantankerous, stubborn Inner Smarty-pants to say something is just NOT my forte.

What I do instead of trying to quiet my over-active monkey-mind is this:

  • I just ask one very important “burning question” as I am falling asleep.
  • When I wake up in the morning, I usually have some sort of answer – usually only a vagrant sentence or two floating around like cauliflower in the soup that is my mind. I’ll write down that short message immediately.
  • After I’ve got the coffee brewed and poured out into my favorite mug and the paper and pens ready, I’ll sit down and start writing out everything that comes to mind when l look at that wake-up phrase.
  • I’ll keep looking at all the blather that accumulates until I can see what is in there and then I make a poem out of it all.

Very often that poem will contain either the answer I need or more directions to explore.


It is necessary to point out in all of this that REFLECT is just Step One of the meaningful-life exploration.  If you’re trying to figure out what to do with your life and where to go next, self-examination is only one-sixth of the process.

Besides taking a look inside the person in the mirror, you also have to look outside yourself and observe the world around you.  You take in all the broken places and look at the parts that work well.

You look for the place where, as theologian Frederick Buechner says, “…your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.”  And THAT is where you will find the path you can walk to create a meaningful life of your own.


My final take on this:  There is a wealth of valuable information in this pragmatic and inspiring how-to-do-it manual.  I do highly recommend it to you.

Here’s a poem:


Okay.  Got it.

I am useful for your aims

So you reach out to me.


But, what is this?

Out of the loving-kindness in my heart

I am supposed to give and give and give…

To you.  Just you.

Everybody else’s priorities don’t matter to you.

You’ve made that very clear.

Your imperatives are the ones that count.


And I have to ask:

What’s in it for me?

What about these other folks?

How does this thing work, exactly?


I am noticing that

There is a fine line between

Doing good and getting done good.

The shift can be imperceptible to

A heart determined to stay open.


So, here I am,

Picking out a trail through

The boglands of reciprocity.

“Interdependency” gets tiresome, I find,

When the one doing the carrying



Am I a Sherpa now?



And I notice:

Gratitude is an ephemeral thing.

It get sucked down into the quicksand

Of new crises and other goals.

Been there.

Done that.

Over and over again.

The sound of mud resounds in my ears.


You know what?

I think I’ll just stay here on this solid bit for a while

And figure out a new plan.

I am realizing something:

It sure is hard to drain a marshland

When you’re up to your ass in alligators….

by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.


24 thoughts on “REVIEW: MAKING GOOD

  1. This looks like the kind of book I would love to read! This was a great review and I like also that you have created your own exercise to get your right brain ticking over and extracting some inspiration. I have put this book on my ‘to read’ list and lookin forward to diving in. I also like your site! Very interesting. Thanks for the info and idea for the next book for me to read.

    1. Hey Liz:

      Thanks for the visit. I’m glad you found some useful information. Please come again…



  2. Hi, Netta.

    This was a pretty interesting read. Your book review was solid; an overview that involves highlighting the major themes of the book without giving away too many spoilers. Very nicely done.

    1. Hey Andrew:

      Thanks for the visit. Please come again…


  3. Jamie Clay says:

    The review of this book is captivating. I am definitely interested in what this book has to offer! What resonated with me is the fact that the reality is there is no quick fix.
    The author keeps it real by stating that real change requires diligent mental and physical training and consistent effort. It’s a marathon.”

    If only I can learn to pace myself! Being consistent is my biggest problem. When I don’t see major change right away, I’m gone. Making Good just might be my antidote!

    1. Thanks for the visit, Jamie. I’m glad I could point out something that might help. You go, girl!

  4. Oooh I just got totally rejuvenated to read again. I try to read one book for pleasure, one book for growth but it seems as those this book could serve both purposes!

    I think one of the hardest things about growth is the consistency. I know for myself that if I don’t feel/see the results I want it is hard to imagine pushing on, but in certain “lines of business” that is the exact thing that you need to do. 

    Thank you so much for the encouragement!


    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Ciara.

      I like your book-reading program — one for pleasure, one for growth.  I do that as well.  

      I do agree with you that consistency is difficult.  Persistence, when you don’t see results as fast as you would like is really hard too.

      However, it is amazing how both of those things work so well.  Keep on!

      Please do come again….

  5. Topazdude says:

    I am really happy to say it’s an interesting post to read . 

    The story of the two young men, Billy Parish and Dev Aujla, both of whom were already successfully working in their own ways to help rebuild a broken world is a challenging story indeed. 

    I have adopted the story to instill in me the sense of thinking about the way to help the world and solve problems when thinking about how to succeed, because when you solve problems you get the real wealth.

    Real change requires diligent mental and physical training and consistent effort. Personally I’ve encountered and tried similar exercises of looking to solve problems to get cash before and I’m here to tell you they do work. 

    Quoting from the post “There is a fine line between doing good and getting done good. The shift can be imperceptible to a heart determined to stay open”.

    Nice review.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, topazdude.

      I’m glad the post is a help to you.

      Please do come again….

  6. I found your thoughts were presented well. We sure do live in a 2Tim 3:1-16 world that the poem relates to well. The fact that we all could work toward bettering ourselves for saving this planet and building better relationships to bring it about is the real deal. The instruction book is in front of us. We find ourselves moving so fast we write more books on the same subject and more and may very well be missing the reality. Great to see you and others associated are searching. Prompting such a disposition in others is great too.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Ron.

      Please do come again….

  7. Irin Khan says:


    Have a good day. Thank you for the review of Making Good. After reading your review I feel excited about reading this book. I hope it will give us a new vision. I will share this article with my friends and bookmark page for read again. I must appreciate you for your writing skill. It is fabulous.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Irin.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again.

  8. This book will be my next have to read after I finish High Performance habits 🙂 Lately I noticed that I only read self help and finance book. Thank you for the review so I know what to expect on the book 🙂 I love that the author is being honest and told you right off that is no quick fix. Will find out what is more in the book.

    1. Great, Nuttanee!  Thanks for the visit and do read the book.  It is right-on, I think!

      Please do come again….

  9. This was a real “make you think” kind of post. I enjoyed it, very much, and it is strange as it comes in a time in my life where the questions you pose are the one that are going in my head. 

    The need to find a meaning to your life that means something to you but at the same time helps provides for the family is a good questio. 

    A very good post. Thank you very much for writing it. It’s nice to see something that is not the usual pitch but that actually makes you think.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Barbara.  I do agree with you — balancing “meaning” and “responsibility” in your life is always ongoing.  It’s good to keep asking the questions.

      Please do come again….

  10. Anthony Hu says:

    It is nice book review. In this ever changing society, how could we maintain the social order and make this world a better one for the generation to come? The individual family is the core unit. Each family needs strong support. Strong family breeds strong nation and strong world.

    As you mentioned in the article, it isn’t an easy task to make good. There is a complicated process, which is summarized in 6 step process: Reflect, Adapt, Connect, Design, Launch, and Organize, which is a good guide for us.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Anthony.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

  11. This book sounds very much like something I am very interested to read. In today’s world where everybody needs to work their butts off in order to cope up with their day-to-day expenses, seldom do we hear people say they want to be able to do this while at the same time finding ways to help others do the same.

    I like the fact that the authors Parish and Aujla were very upfront in saying that the strategies and techniques they outlined in their book do not work like magic. This is so true! Just like any other path that we choose to take, there are steps or formula we need to follow and apply in order to get to the desired results. Failure to stick closely to these steps will not get us where we want to be. I think this is why most people fail.

    I certainly agree with you, taking the time to sit down and internalize what you want to achieve in life is very important if you really want to reach your goal. I will definitely check this book out, thanks.

    1. Alice, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad you enjoyed the post and do encourage you to look at the book.

      Please do come again….

  12. Nice one. Your book is speaking direct to me , “Real change requires diligent mental and physical training and consistent effort. It’s a marathon”. I have been always wanting to get a fast money miracle but I found out that nothing is like that .In life we need to create our own success by work hard and put more effort on what we want to achieve.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Iiyamb.  I do appreciate it.

      Please do come again….

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