Ted Nace

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Ted Nace
Born Ted Nace
California
Citizenship American
Education Andover
Alma mater Stanford
Occupation Environmental activist
Publisher
Author
Years active 20 years (activist)
10 years (publishing)
Notable work(s) Climate Hope (book)
Gangs of America
Home town Dickinson, ND

Ted Nace (born 1956) is an American writer, publisher, and environmentalist notable for his critique of corporate personhood and his anti-coal activism.[1] He co-founded Peachpit Press from his house and grew it into a substantive publisher of computer–related books; it grew quickly, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.[2] In 2008 he became active in efforts to block the development and use of coal power plants in the United States which promotes protests such as sit–ins at coal mines and banks.[3] He was described in the Huffington Post as "one of the amazing brains and strategists behind the anti-coal movement."[4] In 2008 he co-founded the wiki CoalSwarm, a San Francisco-based website to share information similar to Wikipedia and Citizendium but focusing on anti-coal advocacy.[5][6] He is also a free-lance writer living in San Francisco and has written essays which have appeared in publications such as Orion Magazine.[7][8][9]

Early life[edit]

Ted Nace grew up in California and North Dakota[10] in his hometown of Dickinson.[11] He attended Phillips Academy in Andover and graduated with the school's first co-educational class in 1974. He graduated from Stanford University. While in graduate school at Berkeley,[10] he worked for the Environmental Defense Fund and helped develop computer simulations involving a cost–benefit analysis of replacing coal–fired power plants with alternative energy programs.[11] Nace worked for the Dakota Resource Council, a citizens' group connected with the Energy Action Coalition concerned about the impacts of energy development on agriculture and rural communities.[11]

Computer publishing[edit]

Nace worked as an editor for the computer magazine PC World and as a columnist for Publish! and Computer Currents magazine.[10] He founded Peachpit Press with Michael Gardner in 1985,[10] initially working out of his apartment in the Bay Area of San Francisco. He wrote numerous how–to books on computer–related subjects.[10] Computer writer Elaine Weinmann described how Nace let authors typeset and illustrate their own books and described his publishing approach as user-friendly and innovative.[12] The company grew in size and sales, and had a publishing orientation towards books relating to Apple computers, and was described as a leader in books about digital graphics.[8] The firm published the MacBible series, the Real World series, the Visual QuickStart (VQS) series, and most of the titles by writer Robin Williams such as The Mac is not a typewriter and the Little Mac Book. He sold Peachpit in 1994 and left the company in 1996.[10]

Activism[edit]

Nace criticized corporations such as General Motors for having too much political influence. GM headquarters in New York City.

Mr. Nace explored the relation between corporations and democracy in America. In 2003, his book Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy[10] argued his case for an anti–business agenda and suggested that corporations were undermining American democracy:

Business does tend to get its way, acting by means of a nebulous force known as "corporate power" that drives much of what happens in both the public and private spheres ... But, of course, the entity planning the mine wasn't a someone but a something––a corporation. Although people in the company may well have cared, the corporation itself didn't. ... Nothing you may feel or do really matters, because in the end there is no getting around the fact that you are not fighting a normal opponent––your opponent is simply nobody. – Ted Nace in 2003[13]

Nace wrote about how earlier in his life he had created a corporation with Peachpit Press.

Something complex and even alive has come into existence, but it is no longer governed by intuitively familiar human motives and values. Instead, it is a sophisticated, complex, adaptive, continually evolving system––a sort of mindless yet intelligent being––governed by an array of internal and external programming. – Ted Nace in 2003[13]

In his book, Nace tried to explore how corporations got what he viewed as "too much power" and how the institution developed in America.[13][14] In an interview, Nace explained that the modern corporation was a structure that "gelled about a century ago", and that it is a "sort of life form" which has "persistence, metabolism, reproduction, adaptation".[15] Nace criticized corporations for being driven by profit.[15] He suggested the 1886 Supreme Court decision of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad was the "most well known" of a string of mistaken decisions which, in his view, gave corporations the same rights as humans.[15]

Nace argued that corporations such as General Motors helped engineer the eclipse of America's streetcar system in the 1930s and 1940s.[14] Nace argued that Supreme Court justice Lewis F. Powell was a pro–business advocate.[14] Nace criticized the role that business plays in shaping political policy in the last few decades.[14]

In the mid 2000s, Nace turned his focus to a specific area of environmentalism, namely anti–coal activism. He founded CoalSwarm in 2007.[10] He was quoted about his thinking about the need to reduce coal:

From a climate perspective, coal is far and away our worst problem because the remaining reserves are so much larger than those of other fossil sources like conventional oil and gas. NASA climate chief James Hansen says that phasing out coal emissions is "80% of the solution to the global warming crisis." In other words, phasing out coal is really the "silver bullet" for stopping global warming. – Ted Nace[15]

Nace argued that coal usage is creating a "clear planetary crisis" but that implementing a solution is being blocked by "well-financed lobbying and PR sponsored by the coal and utility companies."[15]

Reactions by critics[edit]

Environmental journalist Tina Gerhardt described Nace's book Climate Hope as a first-person narrative about a personal journey as well as a chronicle of the anti–coal movement and described Nace's climate agenda as "do-able".[16] "Nace's volume Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Coal," she wrote, "is at once a first-person narrative about a personal journey from concern to growing curiosity to the front lines but also a chronicle of the growing anti-coal movement, particularly between 2007 and 2009."

A New York Times critic found Nace's Gangs of America to be well-researched and made a compelling case that corporations have too much political power, but the writer faulted Nace for ignoring the benefit to American shareholders and for slighting "the contributions the corporate form has made to average Americans' prosperity."[14] Critic Alan T. Saracevic in the San Francisco Chronicle described Nace as an "obvious lefty" and that his book made a case that corporations have evolved to an "abusive state of being."[17]

Publications[edit]

  • Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Coal, by Ted Nace, 2010. ISBN 978-0615314389, 288 pages, paperback.[18]
  • Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy by Ted Nace, 2003.[2][10]
  • LaserJet Unlimited, by Ted Nace and Michael Gardner, 1996.[19]
  • Desktop Publishing Secrets by Robert C. Eckhardt, Ted Nace, Bob Weibel, October 1991, Peachpit Press[20]
  • Ventura Tips and Tricks, 3rd edition, by Ted Nace, Daniel Will-Harris, September 1990, Peachpit Press[20]
  • Desktop publishing skills: a primer for typesetting with computer and laser printer, by James Felici, Ted Nace, May 1987, Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Canary in the Coal Mine". USA Today. June 27, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010. "Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Coal" 
  2. ^ a b Alan T. Saracevic (reviewer) (May 30, 2004). "'Gangs of America' (book review) Insightful books put ubiquitous corporations under a microscope – Authors, film study powerful firms and how they got that way". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 4, 2010. "... Nace grew the company quickly. His lawyer suggested incorporating and he did. He even went on to sell the firm to a multinational company, Pearson Ltd., while remaining in charge of his imprint." 
  3. ^ Ted Nace (2003). "Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Coal". Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Retrieved November 21, 2010. "Author: Ted Nace is the founder of CoalSwarm and the author of Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy (Berrett-Koehler, 2003, 2005)." 
  4. ^ Jeff Biggers (November 28, 2009). "Climate Hope: Inspiring 2009 Books For A Clean Energy Future". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 21, 2010. "One of the amazing brains and strategists behind the anti-coal movement, CoalSwarm director Ted Nace has written a powerful chronicle of the grassroots movements to stop the construction of coal-fired plants, and halt mountaintop removal operations in Appalachia." 
  5. ^ "About the CoalSwarm wiki". coalSwarm. 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2010. "Begun in early 2008, the CoalSwarm wiki is a joint project between CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy, a Madison, Wisconsin-based media watchdog group. Consisting of over 4,000 articles, the CoalSwarm wiki is housed inside CMD's 70,000-entry SourceWatch wiki." 
  6. ^ "Advisors, Staff, and Wiki Reporter Network". CoalSwarm. 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010. "Ted Nace, director" 
  7. ^ Ted Nace (May 2006). "Breadbasket of Democracy". Orion Magazine. Retrieved November 19, 2010. "IN THE NEW RED-BLUE LEXICON of American politics, the Red River Valley of North Dakota seems aptly named. This is football-on-Friday-night country, where Clear Channel Radio sets the tone, and patriotic themes blend smoothly with corporate ones." 
  8. ^ a b "Ted Nace". Orion Magazine. November 19, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010. "Ted Nace, founder of Peachpit Press, the world's leading publisher of books on digital graphics, is the author of Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy." 
  9. ^ Ted Nace (January–February 2008). "Stopping Coal in Its Tracks: Loosely affiliated activists draw a hard line – and hold it". Orion Magazine. Retrieved November 21, 2010. "... LaPlaca returned home and read the latest messages posted on the No New Coal Plants e-mail list, an Internet watering hole initiated in April 2006 by Philadelphia organizer Mike Ewall." 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Monadnock Summer (August 8, 2004). "Ted Nace: Confessions Of A Recovering Capitalist". New Hampshire Public Radio (nhpr). Retrieved November 19, 2010. "... he worked as an editor at PC World magazine and as a columnist for Publish! and Computer Currents magazines. Together with Michael Gardner, he founded the computer book publishing company Peachpit Press in 1985 and served as publisher until 1996, ... In 2008 he founded CoalSwarm, a collaborative information clearinghouse on U.S. and international coal mines, ... In addition to several computer how-to books, ..." 
  11. ^ a b c Ted Nace (November 19, 2010). "Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy". Berrett-Koehler Publishers. ISBN 1-57675-260-7. Retrieved November 19, 2010. "While working for the U.S. Forest Service during high school, Ted Nace learned about the plans of several major corporations to develop coal strip mines and other energy projects near his hometown of Dickinson, North Dakota...." 
  12. ^ By Elaine Weinmann, Peter Lourekas (2004). "Photoshop CS for Windows and Macintosh". Peachpit Press. Retrieved November 19, 2010. "The Story behind the book ... Sometime in the mid-'80s, a smart guy in Berkeley, California, by the name of Ted Nace got a brainstorm. He decided to start up a computer book publishing company, which he called Peachpit Press. ... The books he published were innovative and user-friendly and offered a fresh approach to learning computer graphics. (page iii) (Ted let authors typeset and illustrate their own books – with Ted's feedback) ... in 1996, Ted handed the baton to successor Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel ..." 
  13. ^ a b c Ted Nace (2003). "Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy". Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Retrieved 2010-11-19. ""A surprising and welcome achievement...provocative and entertaining." (Ted Nace:) Business does tend to get its way, acting by means of a nebulous force known as "corporate power" that drives much of what happens in both the public and private spheres." page 2 ..." 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Book Review: Gangs of America by Ted Nace". The New York Times Book Review. September 14, 2003. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Christine Shearer and Ted Nace (November 21, 2010). "The Coal War: Interview with Climate Hope Author Ted Nace". Left Eye on Books. Retrieved 2010-11-21. "From a climate perspective, coal is far and away ..." 
  16. ^ Gerhardt, Tina (June 27, 2010). "Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Coal". Huffington Post. 
  17. ^ Alan T. Saracevic (reviewer) (May 30, 2004). "Insightful books put ubiquitous corporations under a microscope – Authors, film study powerful firms and how they got that way". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 4, 2010. "Nace, again, is an obvious lefty with a singular point of view: Corporations have evolved to an abusive state of being. He came to that conclusion in a legitimate way: He is the founder of a corporation." 
  18. ^ Gerhardt, Tina (June 27, 2010). "The Canary in the Coal Mine: Stopping Climate Change – Review of Ted Nace's Climate Hope". Huffington Post. 
  19. ^ United States Patent 5583978 (1996). "Apparatuses and methods for creating and using portable fonted texts with embedded automatically-created font descriptions". free patents online. Retrieved November 21, 2010. "see references" 
  20. ^ a b c "Books by Ted Nace". ACM Digital Library. November 21, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 

External links[edit]