84 books like There Are No Accidents

By Jessie Singer,

Here are 84 books that There Are No Accidents fans have personally recommended if you like There Are No Accidents. 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 The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Michael Batty Author Of The Computable City: Histories, Technologies, Stories, Predictions

From my list on cities that are not what they seem.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are as many ways of thinking about cities as there are people who live in them, and by the end of this century, it is clear we will all be living in cities of one size or another. Cities are in effect the crucibles where all technological and cultural change takes place. They are the drivers of prosperity while also the harbingers of chaos, decline, and war. What makes them fascinating is that as soon as we begin to peel back the layers that compose the city, our understanding of them begins to change: they metamorphose into different conceptions where there is no agreement as to what they are or what they might become.

Michael's book list on cities that are not what they seem

Michael Batty Why did Michael love this book?

Often hailed as the greatest book on cities ever, Jane Jacob’s critique of modernism and the rapid spreading out of the city through urban sprawl goes to the heart of what cities are all about. Her description of New York and other North American cities in terms of their diversity and cultural richness elevates the way we build our cities from the bottom up in the face of modernist planning that imposes an artificial order from the top down.

Her book is not only a critique of planning but a logic of how we should understand the complexity of cities as they continue to evolve and embrace new technologies.

By Jane Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Death and Life of Great American Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic text, Jane Jacobs set out to produce an attack on current city planning and rebuilding and to introduce new principles by which these should be governed. The result is one of the most stimulating books on cities ever written.

Throughout the post-war period, planners temperamentally unsympathetic to cities have been let loose on our urban environment. Inspired by the ideals of the Garden City or Le Corbusier's Radiant City, they have dreamt up ambitious projects based on self-contained neighbourhoods, super-blocks, rigid 'scientific' plans and endless acres of grass. Yet they seldom stop to look at what actually…


Book cover of The Wind in the Willows

Eric Daniel Weiner Author Of The Famously Funny Parrott: Four Tales from the Bird Himself

From my list on children's books that you will want to read to your kids every night.

Why am I passionate about this?

When we were doing research for Dora the Explorer (I’m one of the show’s three creators), we read picture book versions of the episodes to preschoolers. The researcher would always begin by saying, “I’ve got a story to tell you.” The preschoolers would clap, cheer, and sometimes even hug the kid next to them. Then, my story would begin. At least with group 1, before we made a lot of changes, the children would invariably fall on their backs and beg to be taken back to class. Everyone longs to be told a great story. So, for my list, I picked some of the greatest read-aloud children’s books ever “told.” 

Eric's book list on children's books that you will want to read to your kids every night

Eric Daniel Weiner Why did Eric love this book?

Whenever I read this book’s opening lines, I sink under the author’s magic spell.

Forget Faulkner, forget Joyce, try Grahame’s poetic prose. When Grahame wrote this, the whole idea of writing books for kids was still fresh, and the idea of anthropomorphic animals was novel, too. The book is so good it still seems like something new under the sun. 

If you don’t have a child available, pretend that a wise, kind adult is reading the book to you.

By Kenneth Grahame,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Wind in the Willows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Spend a season on the river bank and take a walk on the wild side . . .

Spring is in the air and Mole has found a wonderful new world. There's boating with Ratty, a feast with Badger and high jinx on the open road with that reckless ruffian, Mr Toad of Toad Hall. The four become the firmest of friends, but after Toad's latest escapade, can they join together and beat the wretched weasels?

PLUS A behind-the-scenes journey, including author profile, a guide to who's who, activities and more.


Book cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Craig A. Falconer Author Of Not Alone

From my list on how things will change when the aliens show up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a longstanding interest in space, and particularly in aliens. In researching my breakthrough novel Not Alone, I extensively read as much nonfiction content on the topic as I could find, including governmental-backed scenario analyses of how things might actually play out in a contact or invasion scenario. Naturally, I have also read widely in the sci-fi genre for my own pleasure, with most of my interest in this specific topic.

Craig's book list on how things will change when the aliens show up

Craig A. Falconer Why did Craig love this book?

The whimsy and humor of this book make it an easy choice to round out an otherwise serious list! An engrossing story lurks behind the comedy, which is no doubt why this book has transcended generations and cultures to persist as a worldwide fan favorite.

The truth is that we have no idea what humanity’s first encounter with aliens will look like, even if Arthur Dent’s experience with the bureaucratic Vogons is a little more tongue-in-cheek than those in our more “serious” picks.

By Douglas Adams,

Why should I read it?

31 authors picked The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This box set contains all five parts of the' trilogy of five' so you can listen to the complete tales of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Bebblebrox and Marvin the Paranoid Android! Travel through space, time and parallel universes with the only guide you'll ever need, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Read by Stephen Fry, actor, director, author and popular audiobook reader, and Martin Freeman, who played Arthur Dent in film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He is well known as Tim in The Office.

The set also includes a bonus DVD Life, the Universe and…


Book cover of Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights

Anne Lutz Fernandez Author Of Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives

From my list on understanding America’s car system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in car culture since my anthropologist sister and I first began collaborating on a research and writing project on the topic over fifteen years ago. At that time, I had just moved from a transit-rich city to a car-dependent suburb and she had just moved from a suburb to a walkable city, which got us talking about just how much this singular object—the car—shaped our everyday lives. Carjacked was published in 2010, and since then I’ve continued to read and write about transportation, although I also write a lot about education—another obsession for another list of recommended books.  

Anne's book list on understanding America’s car system

Anne Lutz Fernandez Why did Anne love this book?

I first learned about this book from the PBS documentary that was based on it, and it is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the complex history of the automobile in America, a history rife with contradictions. Sorin highlights how the advent of the car provided Black Americans with great freedom and opportunity (including through its role in the civil rights movement) but also came with severe risks and restrictions. I especially appreciated how the author’s family history deepened the broader, national story. 

By Gretchen Sorin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Driving While Black demonstrates that the car-the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility-has always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy, in some measure, the freedom of the open road. Melding new archival research with her family's story, Gretchen Sorin recovers a lost history, demonstrating how, when combined with black travel guides-including the famous Green Book-the automobile encouraged a new way of resisting oppression.


Book cover of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

Anne Lutz Fernandez Author Of Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives

From my list on understanding America’s car system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in car culture since my anthropologist sister and I first began collaborating on a research and writing project on the topic over fifteen years ago. At that time, I had just moved from a transit-rich city to a car-dependent suburb and she had just moved from a suburb to a walkable city, which got us talking about just how much this singular object—the car—shaped our everyday lives. Carjacked was published in 2010, and since then I’ve continued to read and write about transportation, although I also write a lot about education—another obsession for another list of recommended books.  

Anne's book list on understanding America’s car system

Anne Lutz Fernandez Why did Anne love this book?

I did not expect to thoroughly enjoy a book with ninety pages of footnotes on a subject that people love to complain about day in and day out. But Vanderbilt, who has a great sense of humor and unrelenting interest in human behavior, took me along easily on his quest to satisfy his many questions about drivers, driving, roads, and traffic safety. The answers to those we’ve often asked ourselves on the road (usually while cursing), are often surprising. 

By Tom Vanderbilt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book

One of the Best Books of the Year
The Washington Post • The Cleveland Plain-Dealer • Rocky Mountain News

In this brilliant, lively, and eye-opening investigation, Tom Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety, and even identifies the most common mistake drivers…


Book cover of The Capsular Civilization: On the City in the Age of Fear

Anne Lutz Fernandez Author Of Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives

From my list on understanding America’s car system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in car culture since my anthropologist sister and I first began collaborating on a research and writing project on the topic over fifteen years ago. At that time, I had just moved from a transit-rich city to a car-dependent suburb and she had just moved from a suburb to a walkable city, which got us talking about just how much this singular object—the car—shaped our everyday lives. Carjacked was published in 2010, and since then I’ve continued to read and write about transportation, although I also write a lot about education—another obsession for another list of recommended books.  

Anne's book list on understanding America’s car system

Anne Lutz Fernandez Why did Anne love this book?

This unusual and provocative collection of essays and reflections by a Belgian philosopher contains ideas about car culture I refer to and reflect on often though I first read them over a decade ago. The author led me to understand how cars, though they can close great distances and bring families and friends together, have also contributed to an atomized society in which we move between isolated places in isolation from each other, a separation aided by fear and adding to it.

By Lieven de Cauter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Particularly since September 11, the War on Terrorism and the war in Iraq, it has been almost impossible to dissociate architecture from its social context. Add to this the massive influence of capitalism on architecture, disturbing demographic developments and associated political, social, and ecological catastrophes, and the result is a robotic snapshot of a society dominated by fear, exclusion and simulation. Lieven De Cauter, a leading theoretician on the subject of capsularisation, has worked over the past six years on the essays and articles contained in this book, and has documented and analyzed our changing societies before and after 9/11.…


Book cover of The High Cost of Free Parking

Anne Lutz Fernandez Author Of Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives

From my list on understanding America’s car system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in car culture since my anthropologist sister and I first began collaborating on a research and writing project on the topic over fifteen years ago. At that time, I had just moved from a transit-rich city to a car-dependent suburb and she had just moved from a suburb to a walkable city, which got us talking about just how much this singular object—the car—shaped our everyday lives. Carjacked was published in 2010, and since then I’ve continued to read and write about transportation, although I also write a lot about education—another obsession for another list of recommended books.  

Anne's book list on understanding America’s car system

Anne Lutz Fernandez Why did Anne love this book?

Having grown up in a home where paying for parking was considered a sin, I was intrigued by the title of this book that’s not just for urban planners. Shoup reveals the common, misguided planning decisions that helped create not just a kind of entitlement culture around parking but a dysfunctional transportation system that we all pay for in too many ways, including economic underdevelopment and higher retail prices.  

By Donald Shoup,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The High Cost of Free Parking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the American Planning Association's most popular and influential books is finally in paperback, with a new preface from the author on how thinking about parking has changed since this book was first published. In this no-holds-barred treatise, Donald Shoup argues that free parking has contributed to auto dependence, rapid urban sprawl, extravagant energy use, and a host of other problems. Planners mandate free parking to alleviate congestion but end up distorting transportation choices, debasing urban design, damaging the economy, and degrading the environment. Ubiquitous free parking helps explain why our cities sprawl on a scale fit more for…


Book cover of Traffic in Towns: A Study of the Long Term Problems of Traffic in Urban Areas

Daniel Knowles Author Of Carmageddon: How Cars Make Life Worse and What to Do about It

From my list on urbanists who hate cars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in city planning for as long as I can remember. That is perhaps because I grew up in Birmingham, England, a city that probably suffered from its worst excesses more than most. In my job as a reporter for The Economist, I have had the privilege to see cities all over the world upfront, and probe how they work. Some of these are books I keep coming back to; others ones that I furiously agreed with. I hope you enjoy them all.

Daniel's book list on urbanists who hate cars

Daniel Knowles Why did Daniel love this book?

When I was writing my book, I read a lot of history to try to understand what the planners and politicians of the past were thinking when they demolished whole neighbourhoods to make way for cars.

After Jane Jacobs’s book, Traffic in Towns, a government report that became a surprise best-seller in the 1960s, is perhaps the best guide.

Buchanan’s book makes you realise that in fact they did understand the problems. They just felt that there was nothing they could do about it – people would buy cars whatever happened.

To read it now, with its mix of modernist optimism and infuriating madness, is fascinating.

By Colin Buchanan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Traffic in Towns, also known as the Buchanan Report, is regarded as one of the most influential planning documents of the twentieth century. The report reflected mounting concern about the impact on Britain's towns and cities of rapid growth in the ownership and use of motor vehicles. Its purpose was to evaluate policy options for reducing the threat of traffic congestion to urban circulation and quality of life.

Two main conclusions were drawn from the report: firstly, the need for large-scale reconstruction to make Britain's cities fit for the `motor age', including split-level megastructures and urban motorways; and secondly, the…


Book cover of Flying Blind: The 737 Max Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing

Adam Shostack Author Of Threat Modeling: Designing for Security

From my list on application security for builders.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being able to understand and change reality through our knowledge and skill is literal magic. We’re building systems with so many exciting and unexpected properties that can be exploited and repurposed for both good and evil. I want to keep some of that magic and help people engineer – build great systems that make people’s lives better. I’ve been securing (and breaking) systems, from operating rooms to spaceships, from banks to self-driving cars for over 25 years. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if security is not infused from the start, we’re forced to rely on what ought to be our last lines of defense. This list helps you infuse security into your systems.

Adam's book list on application security for builders

Adam Shostack Why did Adam love this book?

Boeing used to be a paragon of how engineering-driven companies could deliver amazing products and amazing profits. This book chronicles how that changed, and how Boeing lost its guiding principles. It shows how prioritizing the stock price over the business or the people who flew in its planes led to decisions that literally killed hundreds of people. Engineering concerns were regularly set aside for schedule or cost reasons. Most of us don’t work on products whose failures cause hundreds of deaths, but there’s an important lesson about being proud of the work you do and the products you deliver, and how that can make for a great business.

By Peter Robison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BUSINESS BESTSELLER • A suspenseful behind-the-scenes look at the dysfunction that contributed to one of the worst tragedies in modern aviation: the 2018 and 2019 crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX.

An "authoritative, gripping and finely detailed narrative that charts the decline of one of the great American companies" (New York Times Book Review), from the award-winning reporter for Bloomberg.

Boeing is a century-old titan of industry. It played a major role in the early days of commercial flight, World War II bombing missions, and moon landings. The planemaker remains a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, as…


Book cover of Planet Earth Is Blue

Lindsay Lackey Author Of All the Impossible Things

From my list on middle grade where science tells the perfect story.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I didn’t enjoy science classes in school. During summer break, however, I took courses I thought of as fun, not realizing they were science classes, too. Geology, where I got to collect hundreds of pretty rocks. Archeology, in which I got to dig up “real” dinosaur bones. (Sadly, they weren’t real.) Science was exciting when it became personal! As an author, even though I never considered myself a STEM-focused writer, I realized that science was sneaking into my work and enriching my stories. I love books that are perfectly balanced with fascinating facts and heartrending themes, and that is what I strive to write.

Lindsay's book list on middle grade where science tells the perfect story

Lindsay Lackey Why did Lindsay love this book?

Nova is counting down the days until the Space Shuttle Challenger launches with teacher Christa McAuliffe on board. Nova, who is nonverbal and has autism, struggles to share her true self with the world, and desperately wants to be reunited with her sister. She believes the launch of the Challenger will bring her sister back into her life for good. But when tragedy strikes, Nova must learn to rely on her own strengths and ability to overcome life’s obstacles. This is one of my favorite stories about a kid who loves space…and one that influenced my second novel. 

By Nicole Panteleakos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Planet Earth Is Blue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

"Tender and illuminating. A beautiful debut." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me

A heartrending and hopeful story about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the Cosmos, Mockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.

Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger--it's the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the…


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