Dave Pollard's chronicle of civilization's collapse, creative works and essays on our culture.
A trail of crumbs, runes and exclamations along my path in search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.

December 2, 2003


Filed under: Our Culture / Ourselves,Preparing for Civilization's End — Dave Pollard @ 08:28
bookContinuing the dubious tradition of winding up the year with lists of the year’s best everything, here’s my list of the ‘most important’ (to me, and potentially to those of like mind) books of 2003. They are ‘most important’ because they all changed how I thought about the world. They are not necessarily the best written, or the most entertaining. They’re in no particular order below. Links are to articles where I’ve discussed them in these pages.
  • The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell — what makes things change
  • The Future of Freedom, by Fareed Zakaria — why we can’t change another country’s culture from outside it
  • The New Rules of the World, by John Pilger — an accurate, devastating portrait of the world in 2003
  • Elizabeth Costello, by JM Coetzee — why we tolerate a holocaust against our fellow creatures on Earth
  • People Before Profit, by Charles Derber — how rampant corporatism ravaged the vast majority of people worldwide in the 1800s, and is doing so again
  • The Unconquerable World, by Jon Schell — why non-violence and consensus-building are the only viable way forward
  • The Support Economy, by Shoshana Zuboff — a deeply flawed but intellectually stimulating model for a post-capitalist economy
  • Unequal Protection, by Thom Hartmann — the case for denying ‘personhood’ to corporations
  • Radical Simplicity, by Jim Merkel — how to free yourself from possessions and wage slavery without sacrifice (reviewed yesterday)

The nine books above supplement the 18 items in the Radical Environmentalist’s Essential Reading List, which I put together at the start of this year. Missing from this reading list too are the following four items which I just discovered this year, though they were written earlier:

I’m still making my way through Charles Handy’s and Peter Drucker’s recent writings, and hope to add something of theirs to the list. Considering the number of business books written, it’s disappointing that I haven’t yet found a handbook for operating the new collaborative enterprises needed to build the next economy. I’m also eagerly awaiting Jared Diamond’s new book Ecocide, publication of which has now been pushed back a year to next November.

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