10 books like Collapse

By Jared Diamond,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Collapse. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Second World War

By Antony Beevor,

Book cover of The Second World War

Adam Nevill Author Of Lost Girl

From the list on Armageddon.

Who am I?

I'm continually asked why I write horror. But I wonder why every writer isn't writing horror. Not a day passes without me being aghast at the world and my own species, the present, past and future. Though nor do I stop searching for a sense of awe and wonder in the world either. My Dad read ghost stories to me as a kid and my inner tallow candle was lit. The flame still burns. Horror has always been the fiction I have felt compelled to write in order to process the world, experience, observation, my imaginative life. I've been blessed with a good readership and have entered my third decade as a writer of horrors. In that time two of my novels have been adapted into films and the British Fantasy Society has kindly recognised my work with five awards, one for Best Collection and four for Best Novel. I'm in this for the long haul and aim to be creating horror on both page and screen for some time to come.

Adam's book list on Armageddon

Discover why each book is one of Adam's favorite books.

Why did Adam love this book?

It's too easy to dismiss the Second World War. To relegate that epochal conflict into realms of ancient history, action films, kitset models, unread Father's day gifts, and black & white footage. But we all live through the consequences of this epic global struggle. This was the last time western civilisation brought itself close to destruction and it was a close call. 60 million lives were lost and no one died easily. The war was also raging just shy of 80 years ago. In the scheme of human history, that's recent.

Beevor's history of the global conflict - and it was global - is a page-turning affair. Vivid, engaging, heartbreaking, shocking. Really fine storytelling and a first class history, encompassing the great conflicts of east and west (China's experience of the war is much overlooked in the west but not in these pages). I found myself engrossed by this monumental…

The Second World War

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Second World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.

The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from…


Small Is Beautiful

By E.F. Schumacher,

Book cover of Small Is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered

Ray Cunningham Author Of The Post-Growth Project: How the End of Economic Growth Could Bring a Fairer and Happier Society

From the list on our fatal addiction to economic growth.

Who am I?

In my career, I managed research into how the problems of modern industrial society are tackled in different countries. This reflected my own comparative instinct, which arose out of growing up bilingual and at home in two cultures. My journey into politics, sociology, and economics made me increasingly aware of the blindness of our social arrangements to the growing ecological crisis – and of how this blindness is perpetuated by the narrow silos of our political and academic systems. Our only hope now lies with thinkers who can escape those silos and integrate different perspectives into a holistic understanding. We don’t need more specialists, but generalists. Fewer economists, more moral philosophers. 

Ray's book list on our fatal addiction to economic growth

Discover why each book is one of Ray's favorite books.

Why did Ray love this book?

The book that gave birth to the slogan... This is an iconoclastic look at the capitalist economy from a man who trained as an academic economist and worked for the National Coal Board. Schumacher thought creatively and wrote and spoke in a lively and engaging way and the book is an accessible introduction to a different way of thinking about what the purpose of an economy, or economics, is.

Also, Schumacher was invited to become the first Director of the Anglo-German Foundation for the Study of Industrial Society, but felt that he was already too old for the job. Many years later, I became the Foundation’s last Director.

Small Is Beautiful

By E.F. Schumacher,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Small Is Beautiful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This New York Times bestselling “Eco Bible” (Time magazine) teaches us that economic growth must be responsibly balanced with the needs of communities and the environment.

“Embracing what Schumacher stood for--above all the idea of sensible scale--is the task for our time. Small is Beautiful could not be more relevant. It was first published in 1973, but it was written for our time.” — Bill McKibben, from the Foreword

Small Is Beautiful is Oxford-trained economist E. F. Schumacher’s classic call for the end of excessive consumption. Schumacher inspired such movements as “Buy Locally” and “Fair Trade,” while voicing strong opposition…


The Denial of Death

By Ernest Becker,

Book cover of The Denial of Death

James Hider Author Of Ripe

From the list on showing that you only think you know who you are.

Who am I?

As a long-time foreign correspondent, I have found myself in some strange situations: watching thousands of people beat themselves bloody with flails at a religious festival in Iraq that was then attacked by suicide bombers, hanging out with fanatical Israeli settlers on the hilltops of the West Bank, meeting Indigenous tribes in Brazil fighting off cattle ranchers or exploring a feudal commune that lived on a landfill on the edge of Mexico City. The myths that we tell ourselves about who we are feed into all these strange tales and have led me to read widely to try to understand where they might come from. 

James' book list on showing that you only think you know who you are

Discover why each book is one of James' favorite books.

Why did James love this book?

I first read this Pulitzer Prize winner in my early twenties, and it blew my mind, almost literally: I was in a bar in post-revolutionary Prague describing to a friend the book’s central idea – that human character, and the culture it lives in,  are both effectively an illusionary construct that we build around ourselves as a means of denying that we are all doomed to vanish.

As I explained it, the idea suddenly made perfect sense to me and I felt my entire personality briefly dissolve.

Years later, covering wars in the Middle East, it struck me as ironic that we are so afraid of dying that we build gods and afterlives to comfort ourselves, but then end up dying for those imaginary comforts.

The Denial of Death

By Ernest Becker,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Denial of Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work,The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie -- man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.


Book cover of The War of the Worlds

Susan Kemp Author Of The Climate Machine

From the list on disasters where society fails suddenly.

Who am I?

I’ve written or edited thousands of science and engineering proposals, blog posts, and reports, and in the past decade, disaster resilience has become a major subject of these documents. I’ve come to realize that while it’s possible to be ready for disasters, few people truly are. In the books I’m recommending, something vital to life has been stolen and the disasters are so overpowering that mere survival is a nearly impossible goal. This forces the characters into unusual and heroic action. Their choices are sometimes surprising and always compelling, and I loved sharing their journeys.   

Susan's book list on disasters where society fails suddenly

Discover why each book is one of Susan's favorite books.

Why did Susan love this book?

You might think this classic was written in the 1930s because of the panic-causing radio drama, but it was actually published in 1898.

How astounding it must have seemed back then, and the tale of Martians causing utter destruction has endured the test of time.

What stood out for me was the difficulty of disseminating information in the late nineteenth century, and the in-depth descriptions of the English landscape, the Martians, and their machines: “…vast spiderlike machines, nearly a hundred feet high, capable of the speed of an express train, and able to shoot out a beam of intense heat.”

Books like this are wildly entertaining, but that’s not all. Our ability to imagine disaster, and envision overcoming it, is a step toward disaster resilience. 

The War of the Worlds

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The War of the Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

But planet Earth was not only being watched - soon it would be invaded by monstrous creatures from Mars who strode about the land in great mechanical tripods, bringing death and destruction with them. What can possibly stop an invading army equipped with heat-rays and poisonous black gas, intent on wiping out the human race? This is one man's story of that incredible invasion, from the time the first Martians land near his home town, to the destruction of London. Is this the end of human life on Earth?


The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of The Road

Stefán Máni Author Of Deathbook

From the list on losing faith in humanity but having a good time.

Who am I?

I'm Stefán Máni, the Dark prince of Nordic noir. I was an avid book reader from an early age but I didn’t believe I could become a writer myself one day. I dropped out of school at the age of 17, worked in the fishing industry, and travelled to Europe and the United States. I started writing at the age of 23, published my first book at the age of 26, and my first best-seller at the age of 34; the thriller Black’s Game that became a popular movie in 2012. Since then I've written many best sellers and created the most popular character in Icelandic literature; detective Hordur Grímsson.

Stefán's book list on losing faith in humanity but having a good time

Discover why each book is one of Stefán's favorite books.

Why did Stefán love this book?

This is one of the bleakest books I have ever read. And then I read it again, and again.

Why? Because it is scary as hell, and extremely well written. It sets its claws into you and it won’t let go.

The Road is a dystopian masterpiece. The World has ended and what is left is mostly nothing but also horror almost beyond comprehension.

Murder, starvation, cannibalism, you name it. The book is scary because this could happen.

You are also deeply worried about the protagonists; the father and son of the story. In a World without hope, they manage to find it and keep it alive in their hearts. I still have not seen the movie and I do not want to. I love the book too much.

A well-written story creates magic in your brain. This book is magical. A must-read. But a tough one. 

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…


The Uninhabitable Earth

By David Wallace-Wells,

Book cover of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

Lewis H. Ziska Author Of Greenhouse Planet: How Rising CO2 Changes Plants and Life as We Know It

From the list on climate and plants, from forests to farms.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated with plants. Their shapes, their colors, their beauty, even the plants that are known to be harmful to humans (poison ivy, puncture vine) had appeal to me. Plants are, by far, the most prolific, the biggest, the oldest, the most complex of organisms. And yet, as a pre-med student, classes on botany were never recommended. Sad. These books delve into the complexity, the wonder of plants, and how they interact with humans. From the sheer poetic pronouncements of Michael Pollan to the straightforward prose of Richard Manning, here is a chance to see the breadth and depth; our rewards and struggles with the plant kingdom.  

Lewis' book list on climate and plants, from forests to farms

Discover why each book is one of Lewis' favorite books.

Why did Lewis love this book?

A well-written erudite work that explores all aspects of civilization relative to the degree and rate of global warming. It illustrates a broad and compelling narrative of all the plant aspects, from Hunger to Policy. It uses language that is incredibly descriptive, and very relatable to bring the impact of climate change home to readers who may be unfamiliar with all of the complexities of climate change.

The Uninhabitable Earth

By David Wallace-Wells,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Uninhabitable Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**SUNDAY TIMES AND THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**

'An epoch-defining book' Matt Haig
'If you read just one work of non-fiction this year, it should probably be this' David Sexton, Evening Standard

Selected as a Book of the Year 2019 by the Sunday Times, Spectator and New Statesman
A Waterstones Paperback of the Year and shortlisted for the Foyles Book of the Year 2019
Longlisted for the PEN / E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

It is worse, much worse, than you think.

The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says…


The Worm at the Core

By Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski

Book cover of The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life

Benjamin Hoffmann Author Of The Paradoxes of Posterity

From the list on why people write books.

Who am I?

I grew up in Bordeaux, a city that became prominent during the eighteenth century. My hometown inspired my love of eighteenth-century French studies, which led me to the Sorbonne, then to Yale University where I earned a PhD. Today, I am an Associate Professor at The Ohio State University. I am the author of eight novels and monographs published in France and the US, including American Pandemonium, Posthumous America, and Sentinel Island. My work explores numerous genres to question a number of recurring themes: exile and the representation of otherness; nostalgia and the experience of bereavement; the social impact of new technologies; America’s history and its troubled present.

Benjamin's book list on why people write books

Discover why each book is one of Benjamin's favorite books.

Why did Benjamin love this book?

I remember reading a review of The Worm at the Core and buying it the same day. With wide-ranging and eye-opening evidence, this fascinating book demonstrates how the fear of death guides our thoughts and actions. Whereas psychological studies can be at times focused on rather narrow problem areas, The Worm at the Core presents an ambitious theory about the hidden motivations of our decisions and how they surreptitiously relate to the fear of death. It also shows that the ways people try to live meaningful lives are as diverse as people themselves: while some focus on their children who will carry their genes to the next generation, others are determined to leave a legacy that will outlive them. We all hope to be worth more than our own death; The Worm at the Core highlights the many-faceted ways we attempt to do so. 

The Worm at the Core

By Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, Tom Pyszczynski

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Worm at the Core as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Proof of a ground-breaking psychological theory: that the fear of death is the hidden motive behind almost everything we do.

'A joy ... The Worm at the Core asks how humans can learn to live happily while being intelligently aware of our impending doom, how knowledge of death affects the decisions we make every day, and how we can stop fear and anxiety overwhelming us' Charlotte Runcie, Daily Telegraph

'Provocative, lucid and fascinating' Financial Times

'An important, superbly readable and potentially life-changing book . . . suggests one should confront mortality in order to live an authentic life' Tim Lott,…


The Limits to Growth

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Book cover of The Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

Ray Cunningham Author Of The Post-Growth Project: How the End of Economic Growth Could Bring a Fairer and Happier Society

From the list on our fatal addiction to economic growth.

Who am I?

In my career, I managed research into how the problems of modern industrial society are tackled in different countries. This reflected my own comparative instinct, which arose out of growing up bilingual and at home in two cultures. My journey into politics, sociology, and economics made me increasingly aware of the blindness of our social arrangements to the growing ecological crisis – and of how this blindness is perpetuated by the narrow silos of our political and academic systems. Our only hope now lies with thinkers who can escape those silos and integrate different perspectives into a holistic understanding. We don’t need more specialists, but generalists. Fewer economists, more moral philosophers. 

Ray's book list on our fatal addiction to economic growth

Discover why each book is one of Ray's favorite books.

Why did Ray love this book?

A vast propaganda effort has been undertaken since the Club of Rome first issued ‘The limits to growth’ report in 1972 to rubbish its predictions and hypotheses. If you actually take the trouble to read the 1972, 1994, and 2004 reports, then you can see through this desperate effort. The authors were fundamentally – in broad terms – correct, and visionary. True, they overestimated how rapidly the planet was likely to succumb to world-scale resource-depletion crises; but they actually underestimated how rapidly we would start to succumb to crises arising from pollution. Their warnings need to be heeded very rapidly, now.

The Limits to Growth

By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Limits to Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Groundbreaking call to action by Donella Meadows, the bestselling author of Thinking in Systems!

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse the Guardian The updated edition of the groundbreaking classic that kickstarted the movement for environmental and ecological reform!

Perfect for fans of The Uninhabitable Earth and There is No Planet B

It is no unknown fact that at the present rate of climate change, population growth and capitalistic expansion, we are over-exceeding our planet's resources. We're stretched pretty thin and if we continue at the present rate we'll soon be headed towards irreversible consequences as…


The Meme Machine

By Susan Blackmore,

Book cover of The Meme Machine

David Millett Author Of The Cure: Imagine There’s No Religion

From the list on love, hate, greed, passion, and self interest.

Who am I?

David Millett is a digital artist. He is an accomplished author, filmmaker, and producer of paper and eBooks. He loves writing, painting, filmmaking, composing, and performing music.

David's book list on love, hate, greed, passion, and self interest

Discover why each book is one of David's favorite books.

Why did David love this book?

What is a meme? A meme is any idea, behavior, or skill that can be transferred from one person to another by imitation: stories, fashions, inventions, recipes, songs, ways of plowing a field, or making a sculpture. The meme is also one of the most important concepts to emerge in a long time. It has controversial implications for our religious beliefs, our free will, and our very sense of "self."

The Meme Machine

By Susan Blackmore,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Meme Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Humans are extraordinary creatures, with the unique ability among animals to imitate and so copy from one another ideas, habits, skills, behaviours, inventions, songs, and stories. These are all memes, a term first coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 in his book The Selfish Gene. Memes, like genes, are replicators, and this enthralling book is an investigation of whether this link between genes and memes can lead to important discoveries about the nature of
the inner self. Confronting the deepest questions about our inner selves, with all our emotions, memories, beliefs, and decisions, Susan Blackmore makes a compelling case for…


Book cover of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

Christopher J. Fettweis Author Of The Pursuit of Dominance: 2000 Years of Superpower Grand Strategy

From the list on unconventional stories on US national security.

Who am I?

I’m a political scientist who specializes in US foreign policy. I’ve been interested in war and peace – and avoiding the former – for as long as I can remember. More than anything else, I wish I could convince Americans of how safe they are, relatively speaking, and how safe they can remain if only we make wise decisions moving forward. The future is brighter than we think.

Christopher's book list on unconventional stories on US national security

Discover why each book is one of Christopher's favorite books.

Why did Christopher love this book?

Don’t let the awkward title fool you – this is a beautifully written and moving book, in which Hedges, a longtime war correspondent, argues that perhaps – just perhaps – people are happier (or at least more fulfilled) when their country is at war.

Conflict provides purpose to our lives, drawing communities together and giving us a reason to get out of bed in the morning. This is Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning in the context of national security, and an unforgettable read.

War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

By Chris Hedges,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a veteran war correspondent, Chris Hedges has survived ambushes in Central America, imprisonment in Sudan, and a beating by Saudi military police. He has seen children murdered for sport in Gaza and petty thugs elevated into war heroes in the Balkans. Hedges, who is also a former divinity student, has seen war at its worst and knows too well that to those who pass through it, war can be exhilarating and even addictive: It gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for living."Drawing on his own experience and on the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr, Hedges shows…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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