The Clean and Green Club, January 2018


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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, January 2018
A very happy 2018 to you! In honor of the New Year, this month’s column looks at the kinds of personal goals that often find their way into New Year’s resolutions. Next month will look at an organizational strategy—another thing often evaluated at this time of year. And this month’s review is a movie, not a book—one that will help you start the year on a really positive note. And with that, “on with the show, good health to you”—and a copy of my Painless Green ebook to the first person who identifies the 1960s band and the song that quote is from (please keep the default subject line so I can sort the responses easily).
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This Month’s Tip: Bad Case of “Rusty Object Syndrome”?

In the worlds of marketing and entrepreneurship, we often hear the phrase, “Shiny Object Syndrome”: the temptation to get distracted by the next shiny new marketing technique.

I’ve just invented a term for its “evil twin”: “Rusty Object Syndrome”: getting distracted by all the little tweaks you can do to clean up the work you’ve already done, instead of doing the new work that should be higher priority.

I’m as guilty as anyone else. One day recently I had work orders from both a first-time and a long-time client, and an inquiry from a likely prospect. As I was about to send my standard response to the prospect, I noticed that one of the landing pages had an obsolete bio and the letter itself had a link to a shopping cart I no longer use. It took only five minutes to fix the cart link in my template immediately, but then I had to tell myself, STOP. Fixing the bio can wait. Getting started on the two actual bird-in-hand client projects should come first. I jotted a few notes on what I needed to fix on which pages, and turned toward something more productive, knowing that when I did turn to the bio, it would likely lead to a cascade of other things that needed tweaking or updating.

But sometimes I get sucked into that trap. Hours go by, and I’ve fixed 10 things that were in need of repair on my websites and email templates, but didn’t get any of my real work done.

Sure, those things are important. Accurate, up-to-date, easy-to-use websites are part of the clean and efficient image we want to present to the world. But that sort of thing can wait a few hours, because it doesn’t require enormous brain power. In the morning, when my brain is fresh, I should be doing the creative profitability and marketing work that my clients happily pay for.

How does this play out in your life and your business?

New on the Blog
Hear & Meet Shel

Another great interview! The Spotlight with Tony DUrso

  • Two key events at ages 3 and 12 that spurred me to a life of activism—and how activism turned me into a lifelong marketer and writer at age 15
  • Learning to build a platform to reach people who don’t agree with you—as a teenager
  • How I approached Guerrilla Marketing founder Jay Levinson to do our first book together—showing him the win-win possibilities—how I landed the contract with Wiley to publish it, and the easy things I did to get on Jay’s good side for the rest of his life
Visit this link to read the full description.

Is Anyone REALLY Reading Your Sustainability or CSR Report?

Repurpose that expensive content, without using any staff time. I will extract the key items and turn them into marketing points that you can use immediately:

Friends Who Want to Help

A note from my business coach, who has helped me enormously as I’ve shifted the direction of my own business: You can begin the New Year with new ideas, clear goals and a plan. Offering a Complimentary Holiday Coaching Session to assist you to begin the New Year in a way which helps you achieve your goals successfully. Call Oshana Himot, MBA, at 602-463-6797 or email
Getting your book into the hands of those who love it forever can be daunting.
Authors: Consider adding this to your New Year’s Resolutions. See what my longtime friend and colleague, Paulette Ensign, created. She simplifies the process, based on her successful approach of less bringing more of what we want.

You’ll want to take action now

Looking for a Job? Visit Our Job-Finding Widget
If you’re looking for a job in marketing, visit the home page of If you’re looking for a job in some other field, try the widget on the home page of

Order your copy of Shel’s newest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World

Learn how the business world can profit while solving hunger, poverty, war, and catastrophic climate change (hint: they’re all based in resource conflicts). Endorsed by Chicken Soup’s Jack Canfield, business blogger and bestselling author Seth Godin, and many others. Find out more and order from several major booksellers (or get autographed and inscribed copies directly from me).
Download a free sampler with several excerpts, the complete Table of Contents and Index, and all the endorsements.
A Recommended FilmProsperity
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“Prosperity” by Dr. Pedram Shojai

Instead of a book this month, a brand new movie.

From the title, you might expect this would be a film about the “Prosperity Consciousness” trend embodied most famously in the movie, “The Secret” and Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. You would be wrong.

And to me, that’s a good thing; bear with me while I rant for one paragraph. Even if their teachers have a broader perspective (and many do, including people I consider colleagues, like Jack Canfield and Marilyn Jenett)—far too many people see the Prosperity Consciousness world in a shallow, one-dimensional way—all about personal wealth and with only the lightest lip service paid to being of service, to improving the world. Also, too many people measure prosperity only by their bank account. For more than 20 years, I’ve been talking about other, nonmonetary, ways to create abundance. My ebook, The Penny-Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant’s Pocketbook, came out all the way back in 1995.

This movie is about real prosperity: the kind where businesses and communities come together to enlist conscious capitalism to solve the world’s problems in ways that generate profit. It’s a visual representation of the principles I discuss in my 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.

The founder of and author of The Urban Monk: Eastern Wisdom and Modern Hacks to Stop Time and Find Success, Happiness, and Peace (which has been on my read-it-one-day list for a while now) spent months talking to experts in conscious capitalism, from Whole Foods founder and Conscious Capitalism co-author John Mackey and Seventh Generation founding CEO and author of The Responsibility Revolution (which I reviewed several years ago) to Naomi Whittel of Reserveage™, a fair-trade entrepreneur and reforester who sells high-quality Panamanian organic cacao and coconut into the nutritionals and beauty markets, and Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle, the company long known for finding creative ways to recycle all kinds of trash (even cigarette butts).

Many of the people the interviews and stories he tells are familiar to me, but on screen, they come alive in a way you just can’t do in print. And for those who are new to this work, it’s a fabulous introduction.

The film makes a strong case for conscious capitalism: using business as a tool to both heal the world and make a very nice financial return. It takes us behind the scenes into the offices, the manufacturing plants, and the source communities in the developing world, where these businesses have direct impact on the local populace.

But this is no mere documentary. To me, by far the most exciting part was near the end, when Shojai, Whittel, Szaky, and the Guna elders in an island community in Panama join together with Procter & Gamble to harvest the solid waste washing up on the beautiful beaches in Guna territory—to sell them to P&G as raw material for shampoo bottles. This social entrepreneurship project, benefitting the locals, the environment, and the North American investors, was hatched directly out of the making of this movie. In other words, the film doesn’t merely document the emerging new business reality; it directly helps to bring it about.

Even though I was trained as a traditional journalist who takes the facts and writes them up. I’ve been a longtime fan of the power of advocacy journalism—of using the power of story to shed light on those who make the world better and offer alternatives to doing business with those who make it worse—and of participatory journalism—documenting an event where you are there as a participant. My very first published articles, as a 15-year-old high school student covering peace demonstrations in 1972, were participatory. This film is a fine example of going beyond even participatory journalism to what we might call activist journalism—not just participating, but organizing something new, and documenting it. Because the recycling/resale project actually arose from the filmmaking, this opens up an entirely new way of thinking about the intersection of journalism and social change. Let’s model it!

The film is available here. As of this writing, you’ll find a player right at the top of the page, but that looks like it might be temporary. If it’s no longer at the top, just scroll down to “Our Movies.”

Recent Interviews & Guest Articles: 

Shel’s done 29 podcasts recently, ranging from 5 minutes to a full hour. Click here to see descriptions and replay links.
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About Shel & This Newsletter

As a green and social change business profitability/marketing consultant and copywriter…award-winning author of ten books…international speaker and trainer, blogger, syndicated columnist – Shel Horowitz shows how green, ethical, and socially conscious businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green, less-socially-aware competitors. His award-winning 8th book Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet was a category bestseller for at least 34 months (and is now available exclusively through Shel), his newest book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, has already won two awards and is endorsed by Jack Canfield and Seth Godin. Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Going Beyond Sustainability, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company. He’s an International Platform Association Certified Speaker and was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.
He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).
“As always, some of the links in this newsletter earn commissions—because I believe in the products and services enough to promote them (I get asked to endorse lots of other programs I don’t share with you, because I don’t find them worthy).”
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