The best sustainable development books

12 authors have picked their favorite books about sustainable development and why they recommend each book.

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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…


Who am I?

I am an international authority for my award-winning research on the Vested® business model for highly collaborative relationships. I began my research in 2003 by studying what makes the difference in successful strategic business deals. My day job is the lead faculty and researcher for the University of Tennessee’s Certified Deal Architect program; my passion is helping organizations and individuals learn the art, science, and practice of crafting highly collaborative win-win strategic business relationships. My work has led to seven books and three Harvard Business Review articles and I’ve shared my advice on CNN International, Bloomberg, NPR, and Fox Business News.


I wrote...

Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy: Harnessing the Potential of Sourcing Business Models for Modern Procurement

By Kate Vitasek, Bonnie Keith, Karl Manrodt, Jeanne Kling

Book cover of Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy: Harnessing the Potential of Sourcing Business Models for Modern Procurement

What is my book about?

Today’s business environment is filled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Sourcing Business Model theory is a revolutionary approach that challenges procurement professionals to move up the sourcing continuum to create collaborative strategic relationships that shift from “price” to “value creation” and risk-shifting to collaborating to mitigate risk. Written from a practitioner's perspective, this book not only teaches the “why” and “what” of Sourcing Business Model theory but also “how” to apply it in practice. Whether you are Chief Procurement Officer or entry-level buying analyst, Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy shows how to create powerful cooperative alliances that will help organizations reach—and surpass their business goals in today’s dynamic business environment.

Hope Matters

By Elin Kelsey,

Book cover of Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis

Kelsey builds an air-tight case for why the planet needs us to get more in touch with our emotions. Emotions dictate all our behavior and action in the world, and so we ought to know which emotions are most effective and in what situations to catalyze actions for climate justice. Because Kelsey is a scientist herself, she buttresses her case about the role of emotions in saving the planet with powerful data. We don’t need more books on “ten things you can do to save the planet.” What we do need is more books like this, which show us why doom and gloom isn’t the only game in town.

Hope Matters

By Elin Kelsey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"This book comes at just the right moment. It is NOT too late if we get together and take action, NOW." -Jane Goodall

Fears about climate change are fueling an epidemic of despair across the world: adults worry about their children's future; thirty-somethings question whether they should have kids or not; and many young people honestly believe they have no future at all.

In the face of extreme eco-anxiety, scholar and award-winning author Elin Kelsey argues that our hopelessness-while an understandable reaction-is hampering our ability to address the very real problems we face. Kelsey offers a powerful solution: hope itself.…

Who am I?

As an environmental educator over the past 18 years, I have come to see that the central question of our work is no longer “how do we get more people to care?” Our work now is to keep ourselves sustained for the long haul of climate justice advocacy that lies ahead. People now care, a lot, and need to know how to avoid burnout and “amygdala hijack”, cope with the hard emotions of it all, and build community. The solutions are no longer just political, technological, or economic. We need to develop existential tools, resources of interior sustainability, and cultural resilience if we have any hope of thriving in a climate-changed world.


I wrote...

Book cover of A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet

What is my book about?

A youth movement is reenergizing global environmental activism. The “climate generation”—late millennials and iGen, or Generation Z—is demanding that policymakers and government leaders take immediate action to address the dire outcomes predicted by climate science. Those inheriting our planet’s environmental problems expect to encounter challenges, but they may not have the skills to grapple with the feelings of powerlessness and despair that may arise when they confront this seemingly intractable situation.

Drawing on a decade of experience leading and teaching in college environmental studies programs, Sarah Jaquette Ray has created an “existential tool kit” for the climate generation. Combining insights from psychology, sociology, social movements, mindfulness, and the environmental humanities, Ray explains why and how we need to let go of eco-guilt, resist burnout, and cultivate resilience while advocating for climate justice.

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…


Who am I?

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. 


I wrote...

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

By Kathryn Kellogg,

Book cover of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

What is my book about?

We all know how important it is to reduce our environmental footprint, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. Enter Kathryn Kellogg, who can fit all her trash from the past two years into a 16-ounce mason jar. How? She starts by saying “no” to straws and grocery bags, and “yes” to a reusable water bottle and compostable dish scrubbers.

In 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg shares these tips and more, along with DIY recipes for beauty and home; advice for responsible consumption and making better choices for home goods, fashion, and the office; and even secrets for how to go waste-free at the airport. “It’s not about perfection,” she says. “It’s about making better choices.”

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…

Who am I?

I was originally trained as a physicist, but the shock of discovering that my PhD thesis, on physical conditions in the solar interior, was being used to improve the design of hydrogen bombs, changed the direction of my research. I decided to do science in the public interest, instead of for the military and big business, and broadened into interdisciplinary research. Eventually, I became Professor of Environmental Science and Founding Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Nowadays, I’m an honorary Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney, researching the energy transition, ecological economics and sustainable development. 


I wrote...

Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change

By Mark Diesendorf,

Book cover of Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change

What is my book about?

The inhabitants of planet Earth are now facing a climate emergency. Mark Diesendorf’s book brings together the science, technology, economics, and policy issues to provide a unique and truly interdisciplinary approach to climate solutions in the energy sector. In clear prose, it explains how we can transition from polluting fossil-fuelled energy systems to ecologically sustainable ones. 

Cultural Sustainability

By Torsten Meireis (editor), Gabriele Rippl (editor),

Book cover of Cultural Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences

Cultural sustainability is the study of how people’s worldviews, cultures, and beliefs impact their positive and negative environmental behaviors. This book makes an in-depth research contribution towards defining and activating human cultural dimensions of sustainability. As a writer with an interest in transdisciplinary ecological humanities, this book deeply resonates: If we are in the Age of Humans, the future is our shared responsibility - understanding ourselves, others, and our own choices - to protect the environment and develop sustainable social technologies. This book offers a compelling case that makes us realize that current standalone green policies of energy efficiency and carbon reduction will not make as significant a difference if humans continue to ignore aspects of cultural change, shared values, and learning through creative and cultural arts, philosophy, economics, and theology. 

Cultural Sustainability

By Torsten Meireis (editor), Gabriele Rippl (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If the political and social benchmarks of sustainability and sustainable development are to be met, ignoring the role of the humanities and social, cultural and ethical values is highly problematic. People's worldviews, beliefs and principles have an immediate impact on how they act and should be studied as cultural dimensions of sustainability.

Collating contributions from internationally renowned theoreticians of culture and leading researchers working in the humanities and social sciences, this volume presents an in-depth, interdisciplinary discussion of the concept of cultural sustainability and the public visibility of such research. Beginning with a discussion of the concept of cultural sustainability,…


Who am I?

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. 


I wrote...

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

By Faye Miller,

Book cover of Producing Shared Understanding for Digital and Social Innovation: Bridging Divides with Transdisciplinary Information Experience Concepts and Methods

What is my book about?

A key question for social sustainability research and practice is how can we unify interactions and experiences towards building healthy relationships between people, planet and technologies? The author posits that bridging these often conflicting or fractured relationships for social sustainability centers on developing mindsets and skill sets based on a creative model of producing shared understanding. 

Based on the author’s extensive research, this book introduces bridging concepts - informational waves, transdisciplinary resonance, shared understanding, and also design research methods towards activating these concepts - curating moments, navigating paradoxes, and mapping dialogues. Presented in an engaging narrative combining empirical qualitative and arts-based research, the proposed creative model in this book can make significant contributions to improving digital social innovations, quality of life, and cross-sectoral sustainable development collaborations.

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…

Who am I?

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. 


I wrote...

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

By Faye Miller,

Book cover of Producing Shared Understanding for Digital and Social Innovation: Bridging Divides with Transdisciplinary Information Experience Concepts and Methods

What is my book about?

A key question for social sustainability research and practice is how can we unify interactions and experiences towards building healthy relationships between people, planet and technologies? The author posits that bridging these often conflicting or fractured relationships for social sustainability centers on developing mindsets and skill sets based on a creative model of producing shared understanding. 

Based on the author’s extensive research, this book introduces bridging concepts - informational waves, transdisciplinary resonance, shared understanding, and also design research methods towards activating these concepts - curating moments, navigating paradoxes, and mapping dialogues. Presented in an engaging narrative combining empirical qualitative and arts-based research, the proposed creative model in this book can make significant contributions to improving digital social innovations, quality of life, and cross-sectoral sustainable development collaborations.

Mission Economy

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Book cover of Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism

Mazzucato’s timely book offers a hopeful look into the possibilities for companies, governments, and civil society to work together to solve the world’s grand challenges. Inspired by the original moonshot program that mobilized the public and private sectors on a massive scale to take risks and experiment with innovative solutions to a previously unsolved problem, she pushes all of us to think boldly about the possibilities for transformative change. To do so, we’ll need to bust myths that impede progress such as the idea that businesses are the only entities that create value and governments are only there to de-risk and address market failures.

The increasingly popular ideas that governments need to run like businesses and save taxpayer money by outsourcing actually strip public policymakers of the tools they need to spur innovation. With examples of a Green New Deal, accessible health care, and narrowing the digital divide, Mission Economy…

Mission Economy

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the 2021 Porchlight Business Book Awards, Big Ideas & New Perspectives

“She offers something both broad and scarce: a compelling new story about how to create a desirable future.”—New York Times

 An award-winning author and leading international economist delivers a hard-hitting and much needed critique of modern capitalism in which she argues that, to solve the massive crises facing us, we must be innovative—we must use collaborative, mission-oriented thinking while also bringing a stakeholder view of public private partnerships which means not only taking risks together but also sharing the rewards. 

Capitalism is in crisis. The rich have…


Who am I?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.


I wrote...

The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

By Sarah Kaplan,

Book cover of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

What is my book about?

Companies are increasingly facing intense pressures to address stakeholder demands from every direction: consumers want socially responsible products; employees want meaningful work; investors now screen on environmental, social, and governance criteria; “clicktivists” create social media storms over company missteps. CEOs now realize that their companies must be social as well as commercial actors, but stakeholder pressures often create trade-offs with demands to deliver financial performance to shareholders. How can companies respond while avoiding simple “greenwashing” or “pinkwashing”?

In The 360° Corporation, I argue that the shared-value mindset may actually get in the way of progress and I show—in practical steps—how trade-offs, rather than being confusing or problematic, can actually be the source of organizational resilience and transformation. 

The Next American Revolution

By Grace Lee Boggs, Scott Kurashige,

Book cover of The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century

This book looks toward the future. A friend, leader, and hero to many in Detroit including myself, Grace Lee Boggs is one of the most important philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries. However, this book is far from the stuffy philosophy you might remember from PHYL 101. Rather, it’s a road map to a better, brighter future, and a new way to live.

A resident of Detroit for almost 80 years, Boggs once wrote, “The most radical thing I ever did was to stay put.” Her thinking and activism underlie almost anything truly transformational happening in Detroit today, and this book will leave you with more hope than a dog looking at the thanksgiving dinner table.

The Next American Revolution

By Grace Lee Boggs, Scott Kurashige,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A world dominated by America and driven by cheap oil, easy credit, and conspicuous consumption is unraveling before our eyes. In this powerful, deeply humanistic book, Grace Lee Boggs, a legendary figure in the struggle for justice in America, shrewdly assesses the current crisis - political, economical, and environmental - and shows how to create the radical social change we need to confront new realities. A vibrant, inspirational force, Boggs has participated in all of the twentieth century's major social movements - for civil rights, women's rights, workers' rights, and more. She draws from seven decades of activist experience, and…

Who am I?

I’ve lived in Detroit for nearly 15 years, where I built my house with my own two hands out of the shell of one I purchased for $500. A longtime journalist, I grew up in a small town in the countryside of Michigan. When I moved to Detroit after college people told me I was throwing my life away, but I looked at it as a moral decision, as “staying home” when it seemed like most other people were leaving. I’m glad I did—it offered me a look into a world more strange and beautiful than I could have imagined, potentially even a vision into a brave new future. I hope this world comes across in A $500 House in Detroit, and I hope we can make it last. 


I wrote...

A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City

By Drew Philp,

Book cover of A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City

What is my book about?

A $500 House in Detroit is a raw and earnest account of rebuilding everything but the frame of an abandoned house, nail by nail and room by room. But it’s also a tale of a young man finding his footing in the city, the country, and his own generation. We witness his concept of Detroit shift, expand, and evolve as his plan to save the city gives way to a life forged from political meaning, personal connection, and collective purpose. As he assimilates into the community of Detroiters around him, Philp guides readers through the city’s vibrant history and engages in urgent conversations about gentrification, racial tensions, and class warfare. “Philp is a great storyteller.” (Booklist)

The Original Green

By Stephen A. Mouzon,

Book cover of The Original Green: Unlocking the Mystery of True Sustainability

I had someone laugh at this book for its quirkiness and whimsy. That person is a fool. What Mouzon has produced here is a brilliant compilation of why our ancestors (in the broadest sense of the term) were genius in ways we struggle to even comprehend, let alone appreciate. Steve taught me why it’s not just okay to love a place, but why more places need to become lovable.

The Original Green

By Stephen A. Mouzon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Original Green is the sustainability our ancestors knew by heart. Originally (before the Thermostat Age) they had no choice but to build green, otherwise people would not survive very long. The Original Green aggregates and distributes the wisdom of sustainability through the operating system of living traditions, producing sustainable places in which it is meaningful to build sustainable buildings. Original Green sustainability is common-sense and plain-spoken, meaning "keeping things going in a healthy way long into an uncertain future." Sustainable places should be nourishable because if you cannot eat there, you cannot live there. They should be accessible because…

Who am I?

Everyone should be able to live a meaningful life in a place they love, where their day-to-day efforts participating in society result in the community becoming a more prosperous place over time, for themselves, and for those who come next. I founded Strong Towns to help people recognize that they have this opportunity, that they and their neighbors working together have the capacity to make things better, despite everything else going on. Cities are works in progress. It is not our job to finish ours, but we all have a role to play in making it stronger.


I wrote...

Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity

By Charles L. Marohn Jr.,

Book cover of Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity

What is my book about?

Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Build American Prosperity breaks with modern practice to present a new vision of urban development in the United States. Presenting the foundational ideas of the Strong Towns movement he co-founded, Charles Marohn explains why cities of all sizes continue to struggle to meet their basic needs, and reveals the new paradigm that can solve this longstanding problem.

Inside, you’ll learn why inducing growth and development has been the conventional response to urban financial struggles―and why it just doesn’t work. New development and high-risk investing don’t generate enough wealth to support themselves, and cities continue to struggle. Read this book to find out how cities large and small can focus on bottom-up investments to minimize risk and maximize their ability to strengthen the community financially and improve citizens’ quality of life.

Book cover of Prosperity Without Growth: Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow

Upon seeing me carrying this book around, a friend of mine looked at me curiously and asked why we wouldn’t want growth and instead want prosperity. I realized she had misinterpreted this book’s title. The author isn’t referring to personal growth (which is, of course, good) but to economic growth and the assumption that bigger economic numbers (GDP) are better. The idea may get a bit geeky, but economic growth tends to not emphasize the things that are important (the unpaid tasks of taking care of elderly parents, for instance) but count the money spent on things that we’d rather not have more of, for example, prisons and war. What we want to measure and encourage are the things that truly make us better people and better societies. Happily, those things also tend to not be as environmentally bad.

Prosperity Without Growth

By Tim Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prosperity Without Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What can prosperity possibly mean in a world of environmental and social limits?

The publication of Prosperity without Growth was a landmark in the sustainability debate. Tim Jackson's piercing challenge to conventional economics openly questioned the most highly prized goal of politicians and economists alike: the continued pursuit of exponential economic growth. Its findings provoked controversy, inspired debate and led to a new wave of research building on its arguments and conclusions.

This substantially revised and re-written edition updates those arguments and considerably expands upon them. Jackson demonstrates that building a 'post-growth' economy is a precise, definable and meaningful task.…


Who am I?

I’m an architect, ecodesigner, economist, environmentalist, author, and professor. I like making use of all or parts of these to break down silos between fields in order to better understand and communicate sustainability. As a professor who is hoping to entice the next generation to not repeat our environmental mistakes, I try to emphasize carrots rather than sticks. I look to the win-win-win approaches: the symbiotic overlaps between sustainability, health, happiness, and economics. I call this EcoOptimism, and it’s the focus of my blog by the same title. Though it can be harder to remain optimistic amidst the worsening climate crisis and other environmental issues, I still find it one of the most viable routes.


I wrote...

Sustainable Design: A Critical Guide

By David Bergman,

Book cover of Sustainable Design: A Critical Guide

What is my book about?

This is a book about sustainable architecture and interior design, but it’s not only for professionals. Too much of the literature on environmentalism and ecodesign is dense and therefore exclusionary, not to mention unenticing. My response to this is a book on green design that’s written for both professional and lay readers. Wherever possible, I avoided jargon and tried to simplify complex topics, often through straightforward illustrations and photos. It’s not a textbook—you don’t need an engineering degree to understand how to make buildings more energy efficient or how to utilize some of the cool things nature can teach us.

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