19 March 2009

Review: Billion Dollar Green by Tobin Smith

"You've got to have shitloads of M-O-N-E-Y, money," Liz Phair growled, back when she knew how to growl. It's true.

Readers of this blog know I believe the only way we shift to a new green economy and address global environmental issues is by turning greed to green.

When it's clear money can be made, folks will turn to greener pastures. From the number of green investing books I've seen over the past year, people are starting to think maybe the time has come.

I was surprised by a book Wiley sent me recently, Billion Dollar Green: Profit from the Eco Revolution. Surprised, in part, because it didn't look like a "green" book.

Sure its color is green and the type is ecofriendly. But then there's the guy in the suit. He looks like a banker in his contrast-collar shirt and pinstripes or a television personality the way he's facing the camera awaiting his cue.

Enter Tobin Smith, founder and editor of ChangeWave Investing and co-star of Fox News Channel's "Bulls & Bears."

Smith, who had a bestseller with his 2000 book ChangeWave Investing: Picking the Next Monster Stocks of the New Economy, has built his reputation on identifying ways to make money from periods of change.

Only trouble is, everything changed once this book hit the shelves. Green was golden when this book was being written and when it went to press, but by December green's gold had tarnished just a bit too much for most investors.

It's not Smith's fault. He has some good insights in Billion Dollar Green. It's just that the profit may be a longer way off.

I agree with many of his green stock choices (including some of my longs) and the future market potential he sees in the smart grid, LED lighting, efficiency, and advanced batteries.

Perhaps Smith's best insight occurs in his preface:

"It was this early recognition of the secular shift in the supply and demand for fossil fuels in the new twenty-first century global economy that led us to conclude that, for the very first time, economics -- not just environmentalism or tree-hugging wannabes -- would drive the decades-plus secular transition to alternative energy technology."

That's the new green economy, baby. Driven by the economic opportunity, not altruistic idealism. Bring it on!

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