Pipe Dreams

By Chelsea Wald,

Book cover of Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet

Book description

Finalist for the 2022 NASW Science in Society Journalism Award
Longlisted for the 2022 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

From an award-winning science journalist, a “deeply researched, entertaining, and impassioned exploration of sanitation” (Nature) and the future of the toilet—for fans of popular science bestsellers by Mary…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Pipe Dreams as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Chelsea is a great science writer who has written a hugely important book filled with rich details, personal examples, and well-reasoned arguments.

She uses the toilet as the focal point of a wide-ranging investigation of why we desperately need to change course in how we think about and design where we go to the bathroom and what happens afterward. I loved how she used personal anecdotes, travel writing, and photos to humanize the book, illustrate her main points, and break down some of the enduring taboos around a range of bodily functions.    

I recommend this book because it completely reshapes our view of the toilet—a fixture most of us don’t give much thought to. Yet, this modern miracle of convenience is, at the same time, a huge failure--less than half of the world’s population has access to safe toilets. What’s more, our Western toilets are a massive waste of resources—water, energy, and the organic fertilizer that sewage can be converted to. Wald shows why toilets desperately need a massive upgrade and opens our eyes to what toilets can be—if we care to revamp them. She also adds why we may not have…

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