This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein
Capitalism vs. The Climate

67%

32 Critic Reviews

By drawing "everything" into her thesis Klein dilutes her over-stuffed book's consistency and coherence; worse, her tendency to demonize more than analyze leaves unaddressed the real-world conflicts and contradictions that make climate policy so intractable.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.

In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.

In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.

Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.

Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.
 

About Naomi Klein

See more books from this Author
Naomi Klein is the award-winning author of the acclaimed international bestseller No Logo, which The Literary Review of Canada named one of the hundred most important Canadian books ever published. She is also the author of the essay collection Fences and Windows. With Avi Lewis, she co-created the documentary film The Take, which was an Official Selection of the Venice Biennale and won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute’s Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is a contributing editor for Harper’s, a reporter for Rolling Stone, and writes a regular, internationally syndicated column. She has won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia. Born in Montreal, she now lives in Toronto.
 
Published September 16, 2014 by Simon & Schuster. 577 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Oct 05 2014
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Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for This Changes Everything
All: 32 | Positive: 23 | Negative: 9

Kirkus

Above average
on Sep 09 2014

A sharp analysis that is bound to be widely discussed, with all the usual suspects, depending on their politics, lining up to cheer or excoriate Klein.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Sep 15 2014

By drawing "everything" into her thesis Klein dilutes her over-stuffed book's consistency and coherence; worse, her tendency to demonize more than analyze leaves unaddressed the real-world conflicts and contradictions that make climate policy so intractable.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Rob Nixon on Nov 06 2014

...“This Changes Everything” is, improbably, Klein’s most optimistic book. She braids together the science, psychology, geopolitics, economics, ethics and activism that shape the climate question. The result is the most momentous and contentious environmental book since “Silent Spring.”

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by John Gray on Sep 20 2014

Though she identifies the prevailing type of capitalism as the culprit in the climate crisis, Klein doesn’t outline anything like an alternative economic system, preferring instead to focus on particular local struggles against environmental damage and exploitation.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Jenny Turner on Sep 19 2014

Klein hopes this book will be read by people who don't read climate-change books (such as me). So it's probably my duty to warn you that it is quite wordy, and sees things from a North American angle, and is a bit more vague about renewable energy than I'd like. But so what – it's an unavoidably difficult and complex subject.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by David L. Ulin on Sep 12 2014

...effective are her portrayals of grass-roots resistance — the efforts of the Northern Cheyenne to prevent coal mining on their Montana reservation, for instance...

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Globe and Mail

Above average
Reviewed by Drew Nelles on Sep 19 2014

The most convincing part of This Changes Everything is the case Klein makes for what she calls “Blockadia” – the loosely affiliated network of social movements that is confronting the extractive industry everywhere from Greece’s gold mines to our own tar sands.

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Ben Chu on Sep 18 2014

That has been thoroughly tried by green groups in recent decades with no discernible success in shifting public opinion. If moral appeals were capable of waking us up over climate change, wouldn't they have done so by now?

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The Telegraph

Above average
Reviewed by Stanley Johnson on Oct 07 2014

In her new book she turns her guns on capitalism’s role in climate change...I would have liked to have seen more in Klein’s book about the impact of unbridled capitalism on nature and wildlife...

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Donna Seaman on Oct 27 2014

This comprehensive, sure-to-be controversial inquiry, one of the most thorough, eloquent, and enlightening books yet on this urgent and overwhelming subject...provides the evidence and the reasoning we need to help us shift to a “worldview based on regeneration and renewal rather than domination and depletion.”

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San Francisco Chronicle

Good
Reviewed by Mason Inman on Sep 18 2014

...for those with whom her message does resonate — and they are likely to be legion — her book could help catalyze the kind of mass movement she argues the world needs now.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Potter on Nov 09 2014

...this sharply argued book suggests, addressing climate change requires restructuring our whole consumer lifestyle – just as Fox News has been warning us...But despite its repeated optimism, Ms. Klein’s book eviscerates false hopes so skillfully that you may wonder whether there’s any hope at all.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Above average
Reviewed by Antony Loewenstein on Nov 06 2014

...Klein examines in exhaustive detail the politics, ethics and realities around climate change. She shows how the Western power elites remain in denial about the extent of the problem because it suits their economic interests to do so...She writes with verve, passion, facts and accessible insight, allowing her message to reach a mass audience.

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The Miami Herald

Above average
Reviewed by Kevin Begos on Oct 17 2014

Cutting the vast amounts of man-made pollution that feed global warming is an enormous challenge for societies that gobble up coal, oil and gas...This Changes Everything may motivate more people to think and act on climate change, and that’s good. Yet capitalism isn’t the only problem.

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The Big Story

Good
Reviewed by Kevin Begos on Sep 30 2014

As a mother, she writes passionately about the need to consider the impact on future generations, and she gives many examples of places where wind and solar energy is dropping in price and becoming a cleaner and more realistic alternative to fossil fuels.

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Spirituality & Practice

Good
Reviewed by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on Oct 27 2014

Klein does a masterful job describing the swerve that is underway in small but poignant ways as ordinary citizens take stands and do what they can to reduce gashouse emissions, protect the planet and its beings from exploitation, and find ways to sustain life on Earth.

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Management Today

Below average
Reviewed by Magnus Goodlad on Sep 25 2014

The emphasis of differences and the need to 'wage and win a battle of cultural world-views' makes for a more dramatic narrative but it's unlikely to convert the remaining sceptics or 'denialists'.

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London School of Economics

Above average
Reviewed by Sarah Lester on Nov 23 2014

Naomi Klein in her new book This Changes Everything presents a new way of looking at two major problems: disaster capitalism and climate change...In This Changes Everything, Klein is doing what she does best: capitalising, for want of a better word, on the urges of a social movement.

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Santa Fe New Mexican

Above average
Reviewed by Patrick Malone on Nov 07 2014

The book clearly targets a liberal audience but poses a tough question...Klein may not convince climate-change deniers that they’re wrong...But she could very well sway some progressive thinkers to reconsider their priorities on climate change. In that sense, This Changes Everything isn’t just tilting at windmills.

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Reason Magazine

Below average
Reviewed by Ronald Bailey on Sep 16 2014

Klein acknowledges that not all weather disasters can be attributed to climate change. But she doesn't let that stop her from trotting out tragic stories of hurricanes, typhoons, and droughts to shore up her thesis.

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Business Day Live

Above average
Reviewed by Pilita Clark on Sep 30 2014

In keeping with her first bestseller, the anti-corporatist No Logo (1999)...This Changes Everything is a call to arms against 21st-century capitalism. The difference is that, this time, Klein has enlisted climate change as a weapon in the struggle...her arguments about why leaders have failed to respond adequately are not always persuasive.

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Truthout

Above average
Reviewed by Emily Johnston on Sep 22 2014

...This Changes Everything, she lays out a nearly bullet-proof argument, not only about what we have to do to save ourselves...The beauty of this book is that suddenly, imagining a different world - tragically diminished in some ways, yes, but deeply inspiring in others - doesn't seem quite so much like an act of fantasy.

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Washington Monthly

Good
Reviewed by D.R. Tucker on Sep 21 2014

This book will expand and intensify the worldwide climate-justice movement, which is why the rhetorical attacks on Klein will become ever more aggressive

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Observer

Good
Reviewed by Robert Jensen on Sep 25 2014

The struggle for ecological sanity is intellectual, political, moral and deeply emotional. Klein does not call for an end to all extraction, but for “the end of the extractivist mindset...

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http://www.thinkingfaith.org

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Chatteris SJ on Nov 21 2014

The Canadian writer Naomi Klein has written another bestselling critique of unregulated capitalism, but this time from the point of view of climate change...The long and the short of Klein’s analysis is that humanity has dug itself into a hole by an unfettered, consumer-driven, ‘extractivist’ economic model.

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Quill & Quire

Above average
on Sep 19 2014

...when she harnesses her rage at humanity’s inability to see what is right in front of us, she is no mere polemicist or propagandist. She is a force of nature.

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https://booksellersnz.wordpress.com

Above average
Reviewed by Gordon Findlay on Nov 12 2014

I have found Klein’s style difficult in the past, but here the writing is clear and approachable. That doesn’t make this an easy book: the issues are large and the scope of the book is enormous...Changing the conversation is important; this book shows how to start. It behooves us all to get involved.

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The National Memo

Above average
Reviewed by Steven Hill on Oct 31 2014

...offers ample scientific evidence about a potentially bleak, carbon-choked future; Klein is a skilled journalist and knows how to marshal facts and stories for maximum effect...Still, the state of the carbon-reduction movement is so lacking in recent victories that even a flawed book with glaring omissions like this one might re-energize it.

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http://socialistreview.org.uk

Above average
Reviewed by Alan Gibson on Nov 30 2014

n a call to arms, Klein outlines what’s at stake. The non-binding agreement to keep the increase in global warming at 2°C that all the major powers signed at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 is fast becoming a “utopian dream”.

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http://www.truth-out.org

Good
Reviewed by Emily Johnston on Sep 22 2014

Perhaps most importantly, Klein is persuasive that win or lose, our efforts to shift the world enough to save ourselves...are morally and spiritually regenerative, and that we must reimagine the narrative of the possible

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http://www.goodreports.net

Above average
Reviewed by Alex on Dec 22 2014

It’s typical of books like this to try and offer some grounds for hope and practical calls for change that we can believe in. That’s becoming harder all the time, but Klein does her best. Unfortunately, most of the seeds for hope she describes are grass roots efforts involving small, often Indigenous, communities.

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McNally Robinson

Above average
on Oct 04 2014

Once a decade, Naomi Klein writes a book that redefines its era. No Logo did so for globalization. The Shock Doctrine changed the way we think about austerity. This Changes Everything is about to upend the debate about the stormy era already upon us.

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Reader Rating for This Changes Everything
82%

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