What people are saying about
Life, Money and Illusion

Note: The revised, updated Second Edition was released in Fall 2009.

Book Reviews

Comments on Life, Money & Illusion as a course text.

Short comments from individuals:


"This wise book is a compass to a sustainable future."

Jim Fulton, Executive Director, David Suzuki Foundation

"it's an amazing book: akin to Paul Hawkin's stuff and other ecological economics greats, only it is easy to read, very interesting and very engaging, sobering, and empowering all at once."
Leslie Luxemburger; Environmental Studies Graduate, York U.

"It seems to me that you have accomplished a considerable feat in condensing vital information in a format of general appeal and with great wisdom. Congratulations!"
Bruce Buchanan, MD, Toronto, Ontario

"I have read a number of environmental/sustainability books over the years, many too technical and leaving you hopeless, Mike's Life, Money and Illusion is written in a very enlightening, simple, respectful and thoughtful way. If you're grappling to understand sustainability, and even if you're not, I encourage you to pick up a copy to heighten your understanding of this issue."
Christine Upton, Sustainable Halton Hills


"Reading into Life, Money and Illusion was a marvel to me of clarity and narrative flow. The reasonableness and generosity of your character shines through every page."

Gerry Capelle, Perth Ontario

". . .your book is absolutely amazing: I have been reading it over and over again and getting new messages."

Tamara Savelyeva,  Environmental Studies Prof, University of Hong Kong

"Your book is so impressive. It should be required reading for all citizens of the planet. I have so enjoyed James Garbarino's "Toward a Sustainable Society" and "The Universe Story" by Swimme and Berry, both of which are first cousins for your book. However you add an enormous amount to a true understanding of this direction. Can't thank you enough!"
Edgar H. Coxeter, Oakville, ON

"I have finished reading your book and got very inspired. It presents solid reasons for the need for change and demonstrates how our lives will become richer and more meaningful as a result. I plan to pass this powerful book around to as many people as I can."
Gabriel Thibault, Ottawa, Ontario

"Your book is a delight to read. I find the perspectives and insights to be invaluable and fundamentally correct."
Joe Brewer, Cognitive Policy Works, Seatle Washington

"Ideas that might from a less thoughtful author seem Utopian, here make far more sense than the pie-in-the-sky notions of perpetual growth."
Peter Bane
Permaculture Activist Magazine - review Winter 2008/09

" I just finished your Book and first off, I want to say it was one of the best I have ever read. . . . your book is the best of our time to help get the message across to the general populace and leaders around the world. I feel pretty strongly that if we could just somehow get all the leaders of the world to read it and think about the principles a bit, we would be less than an arms length from utopia. "
Luke Macmichael, Sault Ste Marie, Canada

"... your book is brilliant! So many useful details as regards the craziness of GNP and constant growth of money that is built into our system. With this under my belt I will be able to debate the economy with anyone."
Peter Johnston, Edmonton Alberta

"I am on my second time through your book. (I rarely read books twice - yours is an exception!) I am very impressed with the clarity and the new directions suggested in your book. This is essential info for the all greens to read / use in explaining the change in direction we see."
Jay Van Oostdam, Ottawa, Ontario

"There is a copy [of "Life, Money & Illusion"] in the Halifax library system, highly in demand too, currently has 7 holds on it!"
Peter Watson, Halifax, Nova Scotia

"At the moment, I've been dedicating all my reading to 'Life, Money & Illusion'. It's a good read and easy to follow, which is of the highest compliment when one is reading about economics! Moreover, and most compelling of all, it has purpose."
Randy dos Santos, Brighton, ON

"Life, Money & Illusion" provides deep insight on how our society evolved, how things work today and the changes required to> achieve an economic system that works within the human and natural limits of the planet. From mechanisms already being endorsed by both Green Party & Liberals, such as the Well Being Measurement Act, to more misunderstood mechanisms such as demurage and community currency creation, Nickerson suggests a path and invites discussion. It is written in a very accessible, non-violent and no-shame language, given that the support of many will be needed to turn the tide towards stable-state economics.
Julien Lamarche, Open source software advocate, Ottawa

"I finished your book last week... Superb work.. it opened some cracks for me and let some more light in..! "
David Logan, Maple Ridge B.C.

"Your book is a huge contribution; a comprehensive and visionary approach to sustainable societies and a brighter common future for the human family." We will put it on our BOOKS WE LIKE page at <www.EthicalMarkets.com>
Hazel Henderson, author
Beyond Globalization and
Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy

"Life, Money and Illusion is a magnificent reference book."
Robert J. Jones, Washington DC, USA

"Your book is fabulous. Lots to digest. Much to think about in terms of practical application."Life, Money, and Illusion" speaks to the foundational issues of the global economy - what makes it tick and what ails it - while offering practical steps to make the shift to a just and sustainable society. A must read for aspiring politicians and anyone intersted in understanding the relationship between economics, social justice, and ecology."
Shane Jolley; Durham, Ontario

"The Nickerson book - so many surprises in there! Thanks."
M. Gilbertson

"I've just got to your analysis of our money system in your book and I'm loving it. Good stuff!"
A. Powell, Perth, Ontario

"I attended your book discussion while you were visiting North Bay, and I just wanted to let you know that I have finished reading your book. I am so encouraged by your thoughts and wisdom, and I'm currently beginning to network with others in this area who share the same concerns. I just wanted to thank you for the many years you have spent unselfishly caring, researching and developing ideas to promote sustainability, and for providing materials such as Life, Money & Illusion. Your life of dedication is an inspiration to us all!"
Rebecca Mullins, North Bay, Ontario

"I congratulate you on completing your opus and sharing your wisdom with the world. Your insights are important beacons of hope in our world which at times is so paralyzed by fear. Shining a light of truth on the nature of money and the opportunities for genuinely sustainable communities of well-being is of great service to humanity."
Mark Anielski
Author: Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth

"I have just started into your handsome book tonight. Up to page 40 now. I must say --- I am HUGELY impressed to this point. It is apparent to me that you have done enormous research, and your style of writing is clear, comprehensible, and has a smoothness about it that speaks of deep studies in things that really matter, digested and synthesized that makes a very powerful package."
Al Farthing, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

"I have enjoyed its connectedness and all-roundedness of vision, its explanatory freshness, and the much wisdom it bears."
John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, University of Guelph

"This primer on every aspect of sustainability is a must. EVEN if you know it all, this historic and on the ground account paints the picture of how we got here and what life and community looks like when we decide we want to stay. Just one of the helpful questions: "If the voice of advertising fell silent, what would people want?"
Carol Kilby. E.D. Gaia Centre.
Excerpt from the Gaia Centre Summer Newsletter

It's not the usual message of the many passionate and committed speakers campaigning on behalf of the environment these days! AND YET, that was the message of Mike Nickerson from the 7th Generation Initiative. Mike and co-worker, wife Donna Dillman were talking in Minden recently about ways to bring about changes that contribute to the planet's sustainability. Mike said, the first and most effective thing we can do is to 'enjoy life'! That's also the first path in Creation Spirituality and other Earth-based wisdoms,

Gaia Centre website http://www.gaiacentre.org/


"The present economic system is geared for perpetual growth. While economic growth was unquestionably a good thing for a long time, economic growth now causes more problems than it solves. "Life, Money & Illusion" helps to explain why and offers insights for establishing a sustainable, steady state economy."
Dr. Brian Czech; Author of: Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train

"Fascinating reading and so many new ways to look at ourselves and our place in the world. I am very impressed with your breadth of knowledge and the way you take the reader through the steps so thoroughly explaining how we have gotten to where we are now."
P. Dorland Maurice, Guelph, ON

"Lovisa & I think your new book on money is great -- very readable, very interesting, & captures most relevant economic problems.
Robert Milligan, New Dundee, Ontario

". . . this is fascinating; it's an eye-opener; it grasps the essence of life and human society. In particular, it speaks in easily understood terms about people working together, trading their skills and knowledge to satisfy needs, and the importance of money in facilitating this trade. From the perspective of monetary reform, it shows how money has been used and misused, how its misuse has contributed to the concept of perpetual growth and steps we can take to change from a growth dominated society - which will eventually collapse - to a sustainable one."
Richard Priestman, President of the Kingston Chapter of the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform

"I have recently finished reading your fine book and have been considerably stretched by it, especially by the economics section which introduced me to a whole new language and set of ideas. As I moved from section to section, I was impressed with the deft way you managed to weave in the many concepts which are commonly kept compartmentalized and don't usually 'talk to each other.' The part on the nurturing of children, as prerequisite if they are to become the co-operative, creative, peace-loving adults capable of nurturing the next generation, is especially dear to my heart."
Helen Brink, Dundas, Ontario

"You've touched on so many of the scary threatening things going on in the world; presenting them in such a matter-of-fact way that ordinary people can probably understand without dismissing and can then, perhaps, act upon!"
G. Walker, St.Andre Avellin, Quebec

"My husband is VERY impressed with you, your thinking and with what you're saying in the book."
S. Golling, Rossland, B.C.

"It has been an enjoyable read, ringing notes within my own thinking, and packed with interesting side bits of information. What a worthy effort the writing of this book must have been and I'm happy to have read it."
Stan Hunter, Port Carling, ON

"Your book proved to be an inspiration to me ...
personally I think it should be required reading in business schools...!"
Alison B. Roberts, author "Clutter's Dirty Secret"

"the confluence of ideas is unique, timely and compelling."
Peter Bevan-Baker, Prince Edward Island, Canada

"I'm loving your book - reading & re-reading and recommending it
to everyone."
Michael Robertson, Locust Hill, ON

"I think your work is important, and always has been, to the 'Sustainability Movement' in particular (broader of course than the environmental movement). I also think that the David Suzuki Foundation would do well to factor you in to some of their work/events if possible or at least promote your stuff on their website - given you, well ahead of all others - including them - have been working on sustainability-related issues and getting that on the radar of the public for nigh 30 years now. They have a big Sustainability initiative as you probably know, and frankly, when I read their stuff, I get the impression they either talked or borrowed from you big-time at some point, you being essentially a pioneer on this for so many years."
A.M. Sleeman, Vancouver, BC

"Life, Money & Illusion offers us a clear description of where we are in terms of the viability of the natural and human-created world, what systemic problems we will need to overcome in order to make the shift from a growth-based to an ecologically sustainable way of life, and how to pursue that direction more effectively. It's refreshing in that it speaks from a place of full awareness of the gravity of the crises we face, but approaches its topics in a non-judgemental way, and looks forward with enthusiasm towards the creation of a better world."
J. Slakov, Salt Spring Island, BC

"The more I get into "Life, Money & Illusion" the more impressive and valuable I find it. Well done! "
Ian Doig, Perth Ontario

"I received your wonderful book ... I'm not just reading it, I'm savoring it, savoring your philosophy, re-reading and marking the memorable analogies you draw."
Alan Kuper, President,
CUSP-Comprehensive (approach to) U.S. Sustainable Population

"I'm almost done your book, ... I'd love for more people to be exposed to the message you have - I know that the talk you gave at the Ottawa Social Forum a few years back inspired me to learn more about economics. - I even went so far as to take a first year economics course at Carleton. Armed with your perspective, and the perspective of other alternative economists like Bernard Leitaer, I had some pretty heated and enjoyable debates with my Prof."
Sean Butler Wakefield, Quebec, Canada

"I am 1/3 way into your book and am enjoying it very much. There are not many books that hold my interest, but yours does. It is obvious that you understand the topic intellectually, and more importantly have an emotional understanding of how the social/economic system fails humanity/nature, why individual continue to support its growth and how we can make improvements. I enjoy the positive manor you present facts without condemnation and yet making obvious the short comings. Your unique perspective keeps me flipping the pages more than my desire to understand how the system works."
H. Perry, Aylmer, QC

Comments on Life, Money & Illusion as a text.

Today's students would all benefit from a perspective of how the world they will be making their lives in is changing. If they can prepare for the ascending possibilities rather than those that are passing, they may end up on their feet and would contribute to better outcomes for everyone.


From Classroom Experience


"You will be pleased to know that you made quite an impression on the students. Many of the students -- I would say about three quarters of them -- selected the question on the philosophy of environmental action, that included the material you presented, for their final examination question. Furthermore, they seemed to have actually paid attention to your talk as most were able to summarise concisely and accurately your thoughts and arguments."

John Milton;
Environmental Studies, Carleton University

1) The students found the process, that was initially outlined as a purpose of the text, to be followed in order to meet our environmental challenges (i.e. understanding the situation, internalizing the vision, planning and taking action) very instructive. They grasped the need for this discipline in order that they not end up living in denial or crippled with despair.

2) The illusive shift in purposes from "striving to produce and consume ever more to enjoying life" and from "stimulating desire to finding peace with enough" had a significant impact on the students. Many of them initially perceived the loss of material goods as a win/lose scenario. However, upon exploring further the simpler type of life that can be enjoyed, and the peace that can be found via the life-based pursuits included in chapter 3, most students tended to view the required transformation as more of a win/win scenario. Their motivation to take actions towards environmental responsibility seemed to increase as we got deeper into the text and became more informed about the options available and the consequences of inaction.
Michael Longworth
"Business Ethics and Environment"
King Campus of Seneca College