The best book to understand the world is getting better…and that the best is yet to come

Why am I passionate about this?

As an optimistic citizen of the world, I travelled the globe to witness famine in Africa and seaweed farming in Asia. Having worked on food systems for twenty-five years and being the father of three children, I was looking for solutions to feed the coming generation with hopes instead of fears! That’s how I ended up working for a visionary charity (Lloyd’s Register Foundation) and leading a “Seaweed Revolution” for United Nations Global Compact as well as writing book to spread the gospel of neglected Ocean Based Solutions. The books I have recommended here all give hope through examples from the past and present and provide readers with practical toolkits for creating positive change.


I wrote...

The Seaweed Revolution: How Seaweed Has Shaped Our Past and Can Save Our Future

By Vincent Doumeizel, Charlotte Coombe (translator),

Book cover of The Seaweed Revolution: How Seaweed Has Shaped Our Past and Can Save Our Future

What is my book about?

Seaweed is the greatest untapped resource we have to address our most pressing crises. Incredibly diverse, seaweed could contribute to bringing back balance in our ecosystems through a wide range of applications. It could contribute to better feeding human beings and animals, replace plastic and fertilizers, boost medical innovations, mitigate global warming, repair biodiversity, and support economies in coastal communities where fishing resources are declining.

Although seaweed has supported our development for millions of years, we have lost our connection with it and focused our efforts purely on land cultivation. Today a fast-growing global population, combined with climate, social and environmental crises, gives us compelling reasons to reconsider this forgotten treasure. The book describes what a seaweed revolution could look like, with lots of practical examples and anecdotes from history.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong about the World--And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Vincent Doumeizel Why did I love this book?

This book is an inspirational call to get a sense of the real state of our world through facts, by Hans Rosing, a WHO leader with an amazing international experience.

Hans started writing this book as a legacy when he learned about his cancer and finished it just before passing away. It highlights the positive progress that has been made in the world, showing how our perspective is biased by our morbid attraction to bad news.

The book starts with the most mind-blowing quiz in book history, featuring basic questions that everyone fails. It shows how misguided we are about the word, regardless of how educated we think we are. The book is full of anecdotes that give clear guidance about how to switch to a more factual and positive vision of our world and why this is so important for shaping a positive future…

By Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Ola Rosling

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Factfulness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.' BARACK OBAMA

'One of the most important books I've ever read - an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.' BILL GATES

*#1 Sunday Times bestseller * New York Times bestseller * Observer 'best brainy book of the decade' * Irish Times bestseller * Guardian bestseller * audiobook bestseller *

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends - why the world's population is increasing; how…


Book cover of Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness, and Save the Planet

Vincent Doumeizel Why did I love this book?

I chose this amazing book because fungi are the “other” greatest untapped resource that can help save the world.

I was approached by fungi specialists after releasing the French edition of The Seaweed Revolution because there are quite a lot of similarities and expectations around those two forgotten resources that encompass an incredibly wide range of organisms.

While there is much we still don’t know about fungi, it is a fundamental part of our ecosystem. Edited by the fungi “guru”, Paul Stamets, the book explains how fungi create a network that covers the entire planet that are crucial for land and the life forms that depend on it to exist.

This network shows astonishing similarities to the Internet, to the neural arrangement of our brain, and even to the structure of the entire universe. It is a spiritual and remarkable book, which also introduces a wide range of beneficial applications, from pharmacology to environmental solutions to new levels of consciousness.

By Paul Stamets (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fantastic Fungi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2020 IBPA Awards Winner!

“Louie Schwartzberg’s lightly informative, delightfully kooky documentary, “Fantastic Fungi,” offers nothing less than a model for planetary survival.” –Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“Gorgeous photography! Time-lapse sequences of mushrooms blossoming forth could pass for studies of exotic flowers growing on another planet.”  –Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

The Life-Affirming, Mind-Bending Companion Book to the Smash Hit Documentary FANTASTIC FUNGI 

Viewed in over 100 countries and selling hundreds of thousands of tickets on the way to finishing 2019 with a rare 100% Tomato meter rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Schwartzberg’s documentary Fantastic Fungi has brought the…


Book cover of Humankind: A Hopeful History

Vincent Doumeizel Why did I love this book?

After his great book Utopia for Realists, which called for a Universal Basic Income, Rutger advances his brilliant and uncommonly optimistic theories with a book that demonstrates, using a lot of historical and scientific evidence, that people are fundamentally decent by nature.

According to him, the evil side of our nature is a deviation created by our modern social and political systems. It demonstrates that our current leaders are highly dependent on that deviation to continue in order to thrive. Bregman provides some fascinating insights on how some of our history has been entirely rewritten in a negative way to make humankind look worse than it is…

The book gives so much hope and advocates a “provocative solidarity” with our fellow human beings. After reading this, you’ll never look at others the same way…

By Rutger Bregman, Erica Moore (translator), Elizabeth Manton (translator)

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Humankind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
A Guardian, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman and Daily Express Book of the Year

'Hugely, highly and happily recommended' Stephen Fry
'You should read Humankind. You'll learn a lot (I did) and you'll have good reason to feel better about the human race' Tim Harford
'Made me see humanity from a fresh perspective' Yuval Noah Harari

It's a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have…


Book cover of Smallpox: The Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer

Vincent Doumeizel Why did I love this book?

This book is an optimistic narration about one of the most amazing and important achievements in medical history.

It is written by Donald Henderson, the doctor who led the eradication campaign against the arguably most severe and incurable disease in history. Smallpox killed or disabled hundreds of millions of people and remains so far the only virus to have been deliberately eradicated globally.

This story is an ode to the unlimited power of science, education, and multilateralism. It shows how, led by a few people and a lot of positive stamina, the world got together and overcame all hurdles despite technical challenges and political division in a highly fragmented post-war world.

Echoing recent events with Covid – and hopefully providing a blueprint for tackling climate change – it shows how we can stand together when circumstances require it and achieve what seemed for ages completely impossible. An inspiring example for our Seaweed Revolution!

By D. A. Henderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Smallpox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For more than 3000 years, hundreds of millions of people have died or been left permanently scarred or blind by the relentless, incurable disease called smallpox. In 1967, Dr. D.A. Henderson became director of a worldwide campaign to eliminate this disease from the face of the earth.

This spellbinding book is Dr. Henderson's personal story of how he led the World Health Organization's campaign to eradicate smallpox-the only disease in history to have been deliberately eliminated. Some have called this feat "the greatest scientific and humanitarian achievement of the past century."

In a lively, engrossing narrative, Dr. Henderson makes it…


Book cover of The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

Vincent Doumeizel Why did I love this book?

This is another book that can inspire you in your daily life and change your perspective. A call for happiness!

Despite what we believe, happiness breeds success, and not the other way around… quite an important distinction. This very well-researched book by a specialist from Harvard University also argues that our brain is flexible enough to change whatever our age, and that it is always possible to mitigate our negative perception of reality.

This leads to a more positive way of thinking that will create the conditions to achieve what we want and lead an exciting life! After reading this book, you’ll be able to make happiness contagious and promote the cause like an activist! A must-read for the next generation. 

By Shawn Achor,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Happiness Advantage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most people want to be successful in life. And of course, everyone wants to be happy. When it comes to the pursuit of success and happiness, most people assume the same formula: if you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you'll be happy. The only problem is that a decade of cutting-edge research in the field of positive psychology has proven that this formula is backwards. Success does not beget happiness.

Based on the largest study ever conducted on happiness and human potential (a survey conducted by the author of more than 1,600 students),…


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The Last Whaler

By Cynthia Reeves,

Book cover of The Last Whaler

Cynthia Reeves Author Of The Last Whaler

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Arctic adventurer Eternal optimist Unrealistic realist Foodie Teacher

Cynthia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This book is an elegiac meditation on the will to survive. Tor, a beluga whaler, and his wife, Astrid, a botanist specializing in Arctic flora, are stranded during the dark season of 1937-38 at his remote whaling station in the Svalbard archipelago when they misjudge ice conditions and fail to rendezvous with the ship meant to carry them back to their home in southern Norway. 

Beyond enduring the Arctic winter’s twenty-four-hour night, the couple must cope with the dangers of polar bears, violent storms, and bitter cold, as well as Astrid’s unexpected pregnancy.

The Last Whaler concerns the impact of…

The Last Whaler

By Cynthia Reeves,

What is this book about?

The Last Whaler is an elegiac meditation on the will to survive under extreme conditions. Tor, a beluga whaler, and his wife, Astrid, a botanist specializing in Arctic flora, are stranded during the dark season of 1937-38 at his remote whaling station when they misjudge ice conditions and fail to rendezvous with the ship meant to carry them back to their home in southern Norway. Beyond enduring the Arctic winter's twenty-four-hour night, the couple must cope with the dangers of polar bears, violent storms, and bitter cold as well as Astrid's unexpected pregnancy. The Last Whaler concerns the impact of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in smallpox, work, and civilization?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about smallpox, work, and civilization.

Smallpox Explore 16 books about smallpox
Work Explore 29 books about work
Civilization Explore 213 books about civilization