100 books like Hope Matters

By Elin Kelsey,

Here are 100 books that Hope Matters fans have personally recommended if you like Hope Matters. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Shannan Martin Author Of Start with Hello: (And Other Simple Ways to Live as Neighbors)

From my list on cultivating empathy and connection in a divided world.

Why am I passionate about this?

A dozen years ago, my family moved from a homogeneous community where everyone looked, lived, and believed as we did to a vibrant neighborhood filled with difference and complexity. This shifted something deep inside me and ultimately changed the way I see the world and myself within it. It set me on a path toward understanding how authentic, ordinary community holds the power to transform our world. To live as neighbors is to draw near to each other. I have written three books on this central theme and plan to spend the rest of my life reaching for empathy as our best tool in reclaiming the goodness of humanity.  

Shannan's book list on cultivating empathy and connection in a divided world

Shannan Martin Why did Shannan love this book?

This book is an instant classic. It took me years to finish reading it because I did not want it to end.

Kimmerer’s writing appealed to the dreamer in me while also explaining the science of the natural world in ways that were unforgettable. This beautifully written book connected me to my physical home and the people around me. I will come back to it again and again. 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

45 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…

Book cover of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds

Monna Wong Author Of Management In a Changing World: How to Manage for Equity, Sustainability, and Results

From my list on helping managers build resilience in challenging times.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a manager and leader in social justice nonprofits and campaigns for almost 15 years. A lot of my work has been in fast-paced environments with high stakes and few resources. Consequently, I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to lead effectively under less-than-ideal conditions—whether that’s because of a tough political climate, financial constraints, or supporting staff through personal crises. I know from experience that social justice leaders and managers are often called to show up as our best selves so that we can support our teams to do their best work. In order to do this, we need to build our internal reserves to lead effectively. 

Monna's book list on helping managers build resilience in challenging times

Monna Wong Why did Monna love this book?

Emergent Strategy draws lessons from both the natural world and science fiction (inspired by Octavia Butler’s work) to provide guidance and wisdom for organizing and movement work.

adrienne maree brown offers a smorgasbord of principles, concepts, quotes, and stories to support organizers and leaders to solve complex problems, instigate social change, and create lasting impact. This book is a great source of inspiration for managers and leaders feeling stuck in the face of great uncertainty.

By Adrienne Maree Brown,

Why should I read it?

8 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…

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

Blythe Roberson Author Of America the Beautiful?: One Woman in a Borrowed Prius on the Road Most Traveled

From my list on nature and freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was a kid I’ve loved being outdoors, scrambling up rocks and smelling trees, exploring. But during the years I worked an office job in New York City, I was able to hike and feel truly free only rarely. So I quit my job to go on a Great American Road Trip to national parks and other natural areas in our country. Here are some of the books that, to me, best encapsulate that feeling of loving nature so much it opens up whole worlds inside of you.

Blythe's book list on nature and freedom

Blythe Roberson Why did Blythe love this book?

If you have ever felt alienated by our capitalist society which tells us we do not deserve any sort of freedom or any sort of safety net, and which encourages us to use all of our time laboring and being “productive” – Jenny Odell’s book is for you.

I had already quit my job and started planning my road trip the week before How To Do Nothing came out, but if I hadn’t, I would have! The way Odell writes about paying attention to nature – she calls herself not a bird watcher but a “bird noticer” – has shaped the way I pay attention, too.

And Odell’s writing on “meeting the bioregion” of wherever you are, or learning about its plants, animals, and human history, was a direct influence on my book.

By Jenny Odell,

Why should I read it?

3 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…

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

Anne Louise Burdett Author Of Dirt Gems: Plant Oracle Deck and Guidebook

From my list on nerdy science books that break your heart and put it back together again.

Why am I passionate about this?

Working with the natural world has long been my life’s compass. I have been dedicated to conservation, education, and management of terrestrial and marine ecosystems for my entire career. I strongly believe we must approach the crisis that we now live in with humor, joy, and devotion, and we must be able to fall in love with this world over and over again, even if it breaks our hearts. This is why I write, and this is how I live. I love reading science books that allow this connection, that lead me into the complexities of why we must never stop feeling wonder at this magnificent world.

Anne's book list on nerdy science books that break your heart and put it back together again

Anne Louise Burdett Why did Anne love this book?

If I’m being completely honest, I bought this book because of my very large professional crush on both of the editors. I work in climate science, so I have signed up to have my heart destroyed over and over again. I read about all the species that are dying and threatened, the ecosystems collapsing, the fishermen fighting for their livelihoods, and the coastal communities slammed by storms.

This book covered all these topics, but if you’re going to learn about this, (as we all should), we also have to be given the reasons to keep at it. We have to not lose the will to fight or the ability to see beautiful, generative, and imaginative solutions and outcomes. This book helps with that, too. 

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

Why should I read it?

9 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

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…

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

Kathryn Kellogg Author Of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

From my list on sustainability focused.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kathryn Kellogg is the founder of Going Zero Waste, a lifestyle website dedicated to helping others live a healthier and more sustainable life. She’s a spokesperson for plastic-free living for National Geographic, Chief Sustainability Officer at the One Movement, and author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste which breaks eco-friendly, sustainable living down into an easy step by step process with lots of positivity and love. She’s a spokesperson for plastic-free living for National Geographic and Chief Sustainability Officer at the One Movement. 

Kathryn's book list on sustainability focused

Kathryn Kellogg Why did Kathryn love this book?

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. 

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…

Book cover of Earth, Wind and Fire: Unpacking the Political, Economic and Security Implications of Discourse on the Green Economy

Najma Mohamed Author Of Sustainability Transitions in South Africa

From my list on justice and sustainability in South Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

While my childhood in a coastal community in South Africa contributed to my deep appreciation and love for nature, I was born and grew up as a person of colour in the apartheid era when barricades divided humans, the land, and the sea. I developed a profound understanding, rooted in my lived experience, of the interlinkages between justice, equity, and sustainability. I've remained actively involved and interested in developing and profiling transformative and inclusive approaches to sustainability from community to the international level. I've maintained this focus on the nexus between climate, nature, and inequality throughout my career, where I've led transformative and inclusive approaches to nature and climate policy and practice for 20+ years. 

Najma's book list on justice and sustainability in South Africa

Najma Mohamed Why did Najma love this book?

The book deals with the challenge of growth – how the South African economy needs to find a way to grow, and adopt policy choices and pathways that can help the country transition from a fossil fuel-intensive economy to a green economy, that is resource efficient, climate resilient, and equitable.

It grapples with the social complexity of post-apartheid South Africa and why a transition to a green economy in South Africa must be just transition. 

By Lynne Krieger Mytelka (editor), Velaphi Msimang (editor), Radhika Perrot (editor) , Marie Blanche Ting , Saliem Fakir , Manisha Gulati , Simone Haysom , Lyndall Mujakachi , Edison Muzenda , T. J. Pilusa , Louise Scholtz , Ogundiran Soumonni , Fumani Mthembi

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book examines issues ranging from global and domestic climate change and sustainable energy issues to the mineral-energy complex issues that have given rise to local and sector-specific problems. Each chapter seeks to convey policy choices and recommendations, at the centre of which is a clear articulation of the need for an integrated mix of policy instruments in South Africa to mitigate emissions and promote the development of a low-carbon economy through the low-carbon and sustainable energy technologies and low-carbon innovation across various sectors of the economy. The central theme of the book is that discourse and policy action on…

Book cover of Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change

R Bruce Stephenson Author Of Portland's Good Life: Sustainability and Hope in an American City

From my list on urban design for human health and happiness.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate to grow up in a typical 1960s neighborhood where the good life was an option. This was the storyline in The Wonder Years, and it was not just saccharine reminiscence. The physical environment defined sustainability: suburbs marked the distinction between country and city, obesity was not an epidemic, Nature-Deficit Disorder was unknown, most children walked to school, and vehicle miles traveled were 50 percent lower. If home sizes were smaller, face-to-face interaction was more prevalent and despair less common. I’ve worked to extend this privilege of place on sustainable lines because it is essential to solving the existential crises of our time—structural racism and climate change.  

R's book list on urban design for human health and happiness

R Bruce Stephenson Why did R love this book?

“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…

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',…

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

Faye Miller Author Of Producing Shared Understanding for Digital and Social Innovation: Bridging Divides with Transdisciplinary Information Experience Concepts and Methods

From my list on social sustainability.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been interested in understanding the role of knowledge in social-ecological systems. After experiencing and surviving a series of geological disasters in childhood, I began writing nonfiction and fiction about the importance of human relations and socio-cultural dimensions of sustainability. Since completing a PhD developing a knowledge ecosystems model for research innovation, I've published widely across areas such as knowledge management, information and computer sciences, higher education, and social policy. I'm a researcher in social technology, a qualified career development practitioner, and educator. I'm currently Director and Principal Consultant at Human Constellation. I've led and partnered on projects with many organizations including Reddit, Twitter, CSIRO, the Australian National University, and Harvard University. 

Faye's book list on social sustainability

Faye Miller Why did Faye love this book?

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. 

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…

Book cover of Globalization and the Environment: Capitalism, Ecology and Power

Peter M. Haas Author Of Epistemic Communities, Constructivism, and International Environmental Politics

From my list on global environmental governance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in the environment my entire life. I studied international environmental politics in college at the University of Michigan and in graduate school at MIT. I research and taught international environmental politics at the University of Massachusetts for 33 years. I have published extensively on global environmental governance, focusing on the role played by science, international organizations, transnational actors, and governments. I have consulted for the United Nations, and the governments of the USA, France, and Portugal.   

Peter's book list on global environmental governance

Peter M. Haas Why did Peter love this book?

Newell’s Globalization and the Environment provides a thorough overview of the international political economy forces which shape global environmental governance. 

He applies a critical gaze to the roles of capitalism, trade, finance, and multinational corporations, along with a focus on the power exercised by the private sector which makes effective global environmental governance difficult. 

By Peter Newell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Globalization and the Environment critically explores the actors, politics and processes that govern the relationship between globalization and the environment. Taking key aspects of globalisation in turn - trade, production and finance - the book highlights the relations of power at work that determine whether globalization is managed in a sustainable way and on whose behalf. Each chapter looks in turn at the political ecology of these central pillars of the global economy, reviewing evidence of its impact on diverse ecologies and societies, its governance - the political structures, institutions and policy making processes in place to manage this relationship…

Book cover of Thinking in Systems

Paul Gavoni Author Of Quick Wins! Using Behavior Science to Accelerate and Sustain School Improvement

From my list on improve organizational performance in any industry.

Why am I passionate about this?

Navigating through schools with profound behavioral challenges firsthand, I've felt the pressing need for a shift. An undeniable call. Enter Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), leadership, and systems thinking. Remember that school everyone had given up on? With the precision of OBM, and the right dose of leadership, I've seen it transform from chaos to cohesion. My role? Think of me as a coach, steering schools towards structured strategies, turning behavioral disruptions into harmonious learning ecosystems. In the intricate dance between behavioral science and leadership, I stand firm, unwavering in my commitment to reshape schools, ensuring they rise from their challenges to become paragons of growth and transformation.

Paul's book list on improve organizational performance in any industry

Paul Gavoni Why did Paul love this book?

This is not just a book, but a compelling primer that remarkably resonates with the principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM). The systems thinking approach became instrumental for me, offering a unique framework to dissect and optimize organizational dynamics within schools.

Meadows illuminates the intricate webs of systems failures, a perspective that parallels the OBM approach of viewing organizations holistically rather than in silos. Her insistence on recognizing the interconnectedness of elements, embracing continuous learning, and valuing nonquantifiable aspects are tenets that echo in the world of OBM.

For those of us aiming to enhance organizational effectiveness and foster a proactive culture, Thinking in Systems serves as a masterclass, transcending its primary context to offer universal value to any organization, including schools and districts.

By Donella Meadows,

Why should I read it?

5 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…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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