10 books like Hope Matters

By Elin Kelsey,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Hope Matters. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

When I began to research why we hate so many animals in our lives, I quickly came to realize that a lot of the scientific and common thinking about animals and their place in our world is based on some very Western, white worldviews. Braiding Sweetgrass is a great introduction to traditional ecological knowledge, showing that there’s more than one way to see our relationships with our environments, and how a different perspective leads to radically different actions. It is also just beautiful to read. Reading this book is like reading a meadow in summer, a sensual experience as much as it is educational. 

Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…


Emergent Strategy

By Adrienne Maree Brown,

Book cover of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

This is an indispensable handbook for guiding change management, something everyone, but especially those doing philanthropic work, should be skilled in. Change is the only constant, and understanding how to guide that process intentionally, whether for yourself, your family, or your community, better equips you to map and influence sustainable actions. I have been deeply influenced by adrienne maree brown’s approach to the intersection of community building and self-care, and from her writing I was introduced to the work of Grace Lee Boggs and Octavia Butler, both feminist visionary guides of transformation and activism.

Emergent Strategy

By Adrienne Maree Brown,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Emergent Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Octavia Butler, radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help to shape the futures we want.

Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This…


How to Do Nothing

By Jenny Odell,

Book cover of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Our attention is a precious - and overdrawn - resource. This counterpoint to the appeal of attention economics helped me think about how to allocate my attention with intention. Partly self-help guide, part political manifesto, Jenny rails against the hustle culture of modern capitalism and provides a way of thinking beyond productivity, efficiency, and the supremacy of technology. As advertisers and media companies continue to find new and better ways to harvest attention it behooves us to consider what we want to do ours, and remind corporations that it is a rare and valuable thing. What you pay attention to is ultimately what your life will be.

How to Do Nothing

By Jenny Odell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Do Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** A New York Times Bestseller **

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: Time • The New Yorker • NPR • GQ • Elle • Vulture • Fortune • Boing Boing • The Irish Times • The New York Public Library • The Brooklyn Public Library

"A complex, smart and ambitious book that at first reads like a self-help manual, then blossoms into a wide-ranging political manifesto."—Jonah Engel Bromwich, The New York Times Book Review

One of President Barack Obama's "Favorite Books of 2019"
Porchlight's Personal Development & Human Behavior Book of the Year

In a…


All We Can Save

By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (editor), Katharine K. Wilkinson (editor),

Book cover of All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, and environmental activist. Katharine K. Wilkinson is an educator, strategist, and co-founder, with Johnson, of The All We Can Save Project. This thoughtfully curated anthology of poetry, essays, and visual art by women in the environmental movement is a treasure, offering a diverse variety of voices that inspire active hope in the face of climate crisis and potential collapse. These voices don't always harmonize, nor should they, given all the uncertainties we face. The different perspectives offer many different ways to break through what can be paralyzing climate grief and climate trauma in order to engage in action with compassion and justice.

All We Can Save

By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (editor), Katharine K. Wilkinson (editor),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked All We Can Save as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Provocative and illuminating essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.

“A powerful read that fills one with, dare I say . . . hope?”—The New York Times
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE

There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they…


The Story of Stuff

By Annie Leonard,

Book cover of The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health--And How We Can Make It Better

This book dives deep into manufacturing, processes, and systems that govern the creation of our stuff. It also shows us how the things we buy directly fuel the climate crisis. Annie Leonard goes into the nitty-gritty of the materials economy and the many negative impacts it has on earth and its people. But this isn’t a tale full of doom and gloom: She also shares actionable steps individuals can take to bring about economic justice. She also discusses collective action that can be taken for creating an overall healthy, sustainable community. 

The Story of Stuff

By Annie Leonard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How our obsession with 'stuff' is trashing the planet

Annie Leonard, creator of the internet film sensation 'The Story of Stuff', viewed over 6 million times, offers an astonishing, galvanizing book that tells the story of all the 'stuff' we use every day - where our bottled water, mobile phones and jeans come from, how they're made and distributed, and where they really go when we throw them away.

Our out-of-control consumption habits are killing the planet and threatening our health, but Annie provides hope that change is within reach. Like An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring, The Story of…


Social Sustainability, Past and Future

By Sander Van Der Leeuw,

Book cover of Social Sustainability, Past and Future: Undoing Unintended Consequences for the Earth's Survival

As a researcher exploring informational aspects of social-ecological systems, I find this comprehensive open access scholarly book on social sustainability endlessly fascinating and thought-provoking. The book’s central theme is the role played by the organization of information processing and its social evolution in complex adaptive systems throughout human history. The main strength of this work is its future perspective in the detailed context of the past, with this line capturing the shift: “for the first time in the history of our species we are faced with a major transition in that domain, from human to electronic information processing.” The author astutely observes and examines the unintended human consequences of information and communication technology advances, including the potential long-term impacts of artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

Social Sustainability, Past and Future

By Sander Van Der Leeuw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Social Sustainability, Past and Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book, Sander Van der Leeuw examines how the modern world has been caught in a socio-economic dynamic that has generated the conundrum of sustainability. Combining the methods of social science and complex systems science, he explores how western, developed nations have globalized their world view and how that view has led to the sustainability challenges we are now facing. Its central theme is the co-evolution of cognition, demography, social organization, technology and environmental impact. Beginning with the earliest human societies, Van der Leeuw links the distant past with the present in order to demonstrate how the information and…


Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change

By Peter Calthorpe,

Book cover of Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change

“Our cities and towns have been on a high carbon diet—and our metropolitan regions have become obese,Peter Calthorpe states. Plying a generation of path-breaking work, he reveals how shifting to urbanism, “compact and walkable development,” can mitigate climate change and secure health and happiness. The metrics he presents are essential reading. Three types of neighborhoods—urban, compact, and sprawl—are assessed for their impact on land consumption, energy use, infrastructure, and utility cost, vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gas emissions. The information delivers a clear message: technology will not save us, but a lifestyle change will. It is “not radical,” Calthorpe writes, “but simply a shift from large lot single family homes” to the “streetcar suburbs” that once flourished in American cities. This seemingly simple solution is a vast undertaking, but the blueprint is fresh, and the next step requires, as Olmsted averred, “the best application of the arts of…

Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change

By Peter Calthorpe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the beginning of his career, Peter Calthorpe has been a leading innovator in sustainable building projects, sustainable development, and walkable communities. A leader in the New Urbanism Movement, he is an important resource for solutions to current problems of urban sprawl, suburban isolation, and the related problems of outsized energy consumption and an outsized share of world emissions. According to 'Ecological Urbanism', relentless and thoughtless development have created a way of living that brings us to a point of reckoning regarding energy, climate change and the way we shape our communities. The answer to these crises is 'Sustainable Development',…


Thinking in Systems

By Donella Meadows,

Book cover of Thinking in Systems

This classic book provides a simple guide that shows business leaders how to address complexity through systems thinking. Meadows—often regarded as one of the most influential writers on systems thinking—illustrates her philosophy with the analogy of a Slinky toy, which seems to magically walk downstairs by itself. All that is needed is to take it out of the box, put it in the right place, and let it go with a gentle push. That gentle push releases energy latent within the toy’s design, making it possible for the Slinky to “walk” downstairs by itself. So how does this relate to strategic sourcing and why I am a fan? Because in my book we outline seven sourcing business models and how to design each model to create a unique system that is fit for purpose. Systems thinking is key! 

Thinking in Systems

By Donella Meadows,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Thinking in Systems as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic book on systems thinking, with more than half a million copies sold worldwide!

This is a fabulous book. This book opened my mind and reshaped the way I think about investing. Forbes

Perfect for fans of Kate Raworth, Rutger Bregman and Daniel Kahneman!

The co-author of the international best-selling book Limits to Growth, Donella Meadows is widely regarded as a pioneer in the environmental movement and one of the world's foremost systems analysts . Her posthumously published Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to…


The Crisis of Global Modernity

By Prasenjit Duara,

Book cover of The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future

I am greatly impressed by the breadth and ambition of this book. It covers China, Japan, and India and is consequently truly transnational in scope. The book also attempts to relate intellectual history or the history of philosophy to problems that we face today, such as how we can transform our practices to that we can avoid environmental disasters. Duara argues that Asian traditions, given their stress on the interdependence between human beings and nature, might be able to help in this path. Duara’s book poses an important question, namely how to connect Asian intellectual history to concrete problems related to global capitalism. 

The Crisis of Global Modernity

By Prasenjit Duara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Crisis of Global Modernity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this major new study, Prasenjit Duara expands his influential theoretical framework to present circulatory, transnational histories as an alternative to nationalist history. Duara argues that the present day is defined by the intersection of three global changes: the rise of non-western powers, the crisis of environmental sustainability and the loss of authoritative sources of what he terms transcendence - the ideals, principles and ethics once found in religions or political ideologies. The physical salvation of the world is becoming - and must become - the transcendent goal of our times, but this goal must transcend national sovereignty if it…


Resilient Cities

By Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, Heather Boyer

Book cover of Resilient Cities: Overcoming Fossil Fuel Dependence

What does it mean to be a resilient city in the age of a changing climate and growing inequity? As urban populations grow, how do we create efficient transportation systems, access to healthy green space, and lower-carbon buildings for all citizens? Resilient Cities responds to these questions, revealing how resilient city characteristics have been achieved in communities around the world. A resilient city is one that uses renewable and distributed energy; has an efficient and regenerative metabolism; offers inclusive and healthy places; fosters biophilic and naturally adaptive systems; is invested in disaster preparedness; and is designed around efficient urban fabrics that allow for sustainable mobility. 

Resilient Cities

By Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, Heather Boyer

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What does it mean to be a resilient city in the age of a changing climate and growing inequity? As urban populations grow, how do we create efficient transportation systems, access to healthy green space, and lower-carbon buildings for all citizens? Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, and Heather Boyer respond to these questions in the revised and updated edition of Resilient Cities. Since the first edition was published in 2009, interest in resilience has surged, in part due to increasingly frequent and deadly natural disasters, and in part due to the contribution of our cities to climate change. The number of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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