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The Worldchanging Bookshelf
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We read a lot around here. We also get asked on a regular basis for reading suggestions. Most of the suggesting we do comes in the form of the book reviews, essays and interviews we publish on a regular basis (since we only write about things we think are worth knowing about), but we thought we might compile a short list of recent books that we think are "must-reads."

Here, then, are some of the books that have tweaked our thinking in the last couple years (of course, we think highly of our own book as well):

Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises. (Worldchanging review)

In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World (Worldchanging review)

The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization (Worldchanging review)

Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape (This is one of Alex's favorite books of the last couple years)

Intervention: Confronting the Real Risks of Genetic Engineering and Life on a Biotech Planet (Worldchanging review)

Solving Tough Problems (Worldchanging review)

The Natural Advantage of Nations: Business Opportunities, Innovation and Governance in the 21st Century (Worldchanging review)

State of the World 2007: Our Urban Future (State of the World) (Worldchanging review)

Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future (Worldchanging review)

Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future (Worldchanging review)

Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Worldchanging review)

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

A Framework for Understanding Poverty

The Weather Makers : How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth. (Worldchanging review)

Who Owns the Water?. (Worldchanging review)

The Ecology of Commerce. (Worldchanging article)

A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-Violent Conflict. (Worldchanging article)

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization (Worldchanging article)

This is obviously an incomplete list. What books would you add to it? What books do you consider recent "must-reads"?

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Comments

The books on pattern language by Alexander are essential as they teach us how to rebuild and restore connections. Anyone can read and benefit from them. This quarter we are also teaching from The Angry Trout Cafe Cookbook which is an excellent guide to small business sustainability.
http://www.mcad.edu/showPage.php?pageID=1601
Curt


Posted by: Curt McNamara on 8 Aug 07

'Cradle to Cradle', by McDonough and Braungart, describes an innovative approach to the recycling problem (I know it's the 'original classic', but its lack of detail does make it sound like a bit of wishful thinking at times. Does anyone know of a more in-depth title?)

'Maverick' and 'the Seven Day Weekend', by Ricardo Semler, describes a company where workplace democracy appears to work. (whether or not you'd want to work at Semco, it's refreshing to read of an alternative to the top-down management structure of a standard business)

'The Goal', by Goldratt, is also worth a look. I find its model of production very clear and applicable to most everyday situations. However, it becomes a rather frightening exercise in economic rationalism when applied at a broader strategic level (something which the characters appear to realise at the end.)


Posted by: Tony Fisk on 8 Aug 07

I just want to say "Thank you!" for posting this list!


Posted by: Jonathan Pfeiffer on 9 Aug 07

'Small Change' by Nabeel Hamdi


Posted by: Amy Leaman on 9 Aug 07

I have turned this list into a WorldCat List for easy library lookup:

http://www.worldcatlibraries.org/profiles/dave_menninger/lists/14841

I used this brilliant bookmarklet to automagically go from Amazon -> WorldCat:

http://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/000458.html


Posted by: dave menninger on 9 Aug 07

'Environmentality' by Arun Agrawal. A little dense for this list, but a fascinating analysis of how the technologies of governments can subjugate individuals. One of the better books I have ever read.


Posted by: Tim Hurst on 9 Aug 07

Just posting another thank you. I'm off to the library to start reading ;)


Posted by: JJ on 9 Aug 07

I know Cradle to Cradle is an "original classic" but I think it is a book worth getting others to read. There are many great lessons to be learned within it. I think it should be on your list. I have given that book to my Governor in person and read from it at City meetings when they were trying to allow a local business to burn Construction waste for their own profit. I think the underlying point of doing "less bad" is by far not good enough, and that we all have to remember to not let ourselves be fooled that less toxic is okay, because even a little toxic is too toxic. Plus I just love that waterproof paper!

But thanks for the list- the two first books have been on my list to get for a while this will push me out to a bookstore today!


Posted by: j.e.p. on 10 Aug 07

I know Cradle to Cradle is an "original classic" but I think it is a book worth getting others to read. There are many great lessons to be learned within it. I think it should be on your list. I have given that book to my Governor in person and read from it at City meetings when they were trying to allow a local business to burn Construction waste for their own profit. I think the underlying point of doing "less bad" is by far not good enough, and that we all have to remember to not let ourselves be fooled that less toxic is okay, because even a little toxic is too toxic. Plus I just love that waterproof paper!

But thanks for the list- the two first books have been on my list to get for a while this will push me out to a bookstore today!


Posted by: j.e.p. on 10 Aug 07

These are not "recent" (apologies for that) but they are worth re-reading now: Mike Davis's _Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World_; Michel Serres's _The Natural Contract_; Bruno Latour's _We Have Never Been Modern_.


Posted by: Debleena Biswas on 10 Aug 07

What a great little list! :)


Posted by: Menka Parekh on 11 Aug 07

Thanks for a fantastic list!

I would like to add a somewhat aged item to it: 'A Guide for the perplexed' by E.F. Schumacher. It helped me to put my own work in perspective in a perplexing world. Hugely inspiring.

Another book to add might be 'The clock of the long now' by Stewart Brand. Thinking long term while acting short term must be at least as important as thinking globally while acting locally.


Posted by: Lukanga on 19 Aug 07

Has anyone read "The Green Book"? It's a great resource of easy tips for people in their everyday lives. Check it out. www.readthegreenbook.com


Posted by: CM James on 20 Aug 07



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