[Silverback John (Mendocino Bonobos) was the bearer of some sad news, the passing of Dave Smith. His obituary appears below. I feel that I’ve been fortunate to spend my life doing felt to me like meaningful work: selling woodstoves to people woodstoves to keep them warm, publishing books on sustainable living, publishing information for “friends of the environment,” or popularizing “the real goods.” It was in this capacity that I had the opportunity to work closely with Silverback Dave at Real Goods Trading Corp. I give him my highest compliment by saying he was the real deal, living his values on a daily basis. On top of that, he did a killer impersonation of the real “Killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis. SB SM]
(from Amazon): A son of the conservative South and president of his college’s Young Christian Club, Dave Smith was radicalized by Vietnam. The young Porsche-driving computer programmer went to work with César Chávez during the formative years of the United Farm Workers. From there, Smith became instrumental in founding a series of businesses — including the seminal gardening and lifestyle company Smith and Hawken — that planted the seeds for the now-burgeoning organic and sustainable business movements. In this fascinating memoir of his transformation, Smith shows how business can be a force for radical change, that business driven by simple core values — not the hijacked values of right-wing extremism but common values of compassion and decency — can truly make the world a better place. To Be of Use is both an entertaining, stirring read and a thoughtful guide to making our work lives personally meaningful again.
From a reader review: “Since the majority of middle-class American’s spend most their waking lives at work, it makes sense to think about what work is, and what it means to you.
If you’re determined to find work you can put your heart into, then your hours will be full of meaning, and you will feel energetic and alive. If you settle for doing work you don’t much care about, your hours will likely lack meaning, and you will harbor the sensation that life is missing something.
Henry David Thoreau is often quoted as that “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation…” Most men don’t honestly contemplate what makes life worth living, makes it bearable, makes it joyful even, so they “…go to the grave with the song still in them”.
The best years of the rest of your life will be spent working. There’s a right way, and a wrong way to do it. With a groan, or with a song.”
So long, Silverback Dave. Wherever you find yourself, I hope there’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on: