Thursday, August 16, 2007

A few books I've mentioned elsewhere

In the course of commenting at other blogs and web sites I've mentioned some books that I have not yet listed here. For the sake of posterity and future reference I thought I should consolidate them in this quick list.

Disclaimer: I mention these because I have found them useful. Other than that, what passes for a running joke around here is my oft-repeated assertion that I don't do book reviews.

The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell.
This little book really deserves a post of its own. Someday it will get what it deserves.

Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement In the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming, by Paul Hawken
Never judge a book by its cover ... only by its subtitle. This is a new one from Paul Hawken, an influential thinker in the sustainability field. The subtitle suggests to me that he might address an issue mentioned in another book:

The Cultural Creatives, by Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson
The authors describe a large group of Americans, tens of millions, characterized by a kind of counter-cultural creativity and the feeling that they're totally alone in their views. For me it was worth skimming for tidbits like that, but some portions of the book didn't grab me. Their work does complement the work of others, though, such as Hawken.

Urban Tribes, by Ethan Watters
Another mixed bag. It's really two books in one cover. I found much value in the first half, which is about an unexpected phenomenon that the author discovered while trying to write the second half.

Gaviotas, by Alan Weisman
Weisman describes an extraordinary village, Gaviotas, that really ought to be utterly ordinary. For 95% of human history, it was utterly ordinary. I had the great good fortune to meet Paolo Lugari, founder of Gaviotas. Like the village, Lugari is extraordinary, but we really ought to make people like him utterly ordinary.

Beyond Civilization, by Daniel Quinn
Some folks have trouble "getting" this one. I recommend reading it along with Urban Tribes and Gaviotas. These three pieces connect very neatly, and the examples in the other two help to make this one more understandable.

More pieces assembled at ...

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