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Recommended books

Favorites from the editors of Managing Wholes.

Peter Donovan's top 10 recommended books

  1. Holistic Management: A new framework for decision making by Allan Savory with Jody Butterfield. The classic, in-depth guide from the developer of Holistic Management. At,,
  2. Ripples from the Zambezi: Passion, entrepreneurship, and the rebirth of local economies by Ernesto Sirolli. Many people have suspected that it is irresponsible to try to turn hunter-gatherers into agriculturalists, or loggers into real-estate salesmen, but Sirolli has followed this insight to its logical, passionate conclusion. Peter's review. At,,
  3. The Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life by Robert Fritz. One of the best treatments of life's fundamental decision: Who creates your life? Proven techniques for creating more of what you want. At,,
  4. First Things First by Stephen Covey and Rebecca Merrill. The best from time-management expert Covey. At,,
  5. Permaculture: A designer's manual by Bill Mollison. Explains permaculture theory and techniques in detail, including examples from many climate zones around the world. A classic. At,,
  6. The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka. From his observation that rice growing outside flooded fields seemed healthier, Fukuoka developed a no-till, organic growing system that requires very little work and produces tremendous yields. Out of print but worth finding. At,
  7. You Can Farm: The entrepreneur's guide to start and succeed in a farming enterprise by Joel Salatin. One of the best, most passionate, and inspiring guides for new enterprises. At,,
  8. The Tipping Point: How little things can make a big difference by Malcolm Gladwell. A must read for innovators and those who want to slow or stop change. At,,
  9. Nonviolent Communication: A language of compassion by Marshall Rosenberg. Will challenge your habits and beliefs in a highly constructive way. At,,
  10. The Last Ranch: A Colorado community and the coming desert by Sam Bingham. A deep and multifaceted look at some of the key environmental issues from a talented reporter and writer. At,,

Joy Livingwell's top 10 recommended books

Peter listed six of my top ten: Holistic Management, Permaculture: A Designer's Manual, The One-Straw Revolution, The Tipping Point, Nonviolent Communication, and The Path of Least Resistance. Here are my next picks.

  1. New Roots for Agriculture by Wes Jackson. People have urged farmers to take better care of the land since the invention of writing. Jackson concluded that agriculture itself was the problem, and set out to develop an alternative. Long-term, big-picture thinking at its finest, from an excellent writer. At
  2. Trust: A New Vision of Human Relationships for Business, Education, Family, and Personal Living by Jack R. Gibb. When trust falls below a certain level, the means people use to remedy problems actually perpetuate them. When it rises past a certain point, people are able to solve their own problems. A remarkable look at an important subject. At Amazon.
  3. Using Your Brain — For a Change by Richard Bandler. Fast, fun techniques for creating powerful personal change. At,,
  4. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. Jared Diamond traces the development of agriculture, the evolution and spread of diseases, and other factors that determined which groups of humans developed civilization and which did not. Fascinating and relevant for today. At,,
  5. The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australian Lands and People by Tim Flannery. Why does Australia's vastness support so few people? A grand perspective intimately related to the development of truly sustainable agricultures. At,,
  6. Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler. Real-world successes in improving governance in the U.S., and the methods and principles behind them. Stresses doing what fits the situation, rather than pursuing ideologies. At,,
  7. Short Circuit: Strengthening Local Economics for Security in an Unstable World by Richard Douthwaite. Excellent economic analyses and eminently practical suggestions, followed by examples of people and organizations actually implementing them, with contact information. At,,
  8. Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves by Kathryn McCamant, Charles Durrett, and Ellen Hertzman. Cohousing is housing designed to nourish community and relationships between neighbors. How and why it works, and how to go about making it happen for yourself. Lots of photos. At,,
  9. How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built by Stewart Brand. Teasing out patterns of use and re-use, Brand argues that since buildings get modified many times, they should be designed with this in mind. At,,
  10. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change by Victor Papanek. The more humans design the environments we live in, and the more our designs affect Earth's health, the more important good design becomes. Unfortunately good design is the exception rather than the norm. At,,