13 (More!) Must-Read Books That Will Change How You See the World

book spines

It’s time to update your summer reading list with more must read books!

It’s been almost a year since I wrote the last “must read book list,” and a bunch of you readers responded by including must-read books of your own. I present you another compilation based on reader suggestions – and some of my own personal favorites.

twigBeyond Fossil Fools: The Roadmap to Energy Independence by 2040 by Joseph M. Shuster

If you’re on the fence about peak oil and the idea that we can “drill baby drill” our way to energy security, this book will be your wake-up call. The advice is practical, well-researched and very well-documented. It’s the kind of book you’d want everyone in Congress to read too, not to mention leaders all around the world.

twigNonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg

Until you read this book, you may not realize how the words you choose contribute to conflict. You think you’re explaining your feelings very clearly, but to the other person it sounds like an accusation. Nip misunderstandings in the bud, communicate more effectively and watch as you do a little soul searching to boot.

twigGaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World by Alan Weisman

The ultimate intentional community that literally sprung out of nowhere. Deep in the impossibly barren savanna of Columbia, a community of brilliant, creative and visionary people (including scientists, artisans and ex-street kids) decided to do the unthinkable: create a self-sufficient village and invent the right technology (wind turbines, solar collectors and soil-free crop systems) to make it happen. If you hear anyone say “it just can’t be done,” give them a copy of Gaviotas and watch hope spring eternal.

twigChoosing Simplicity by Linda Breen Pierce

Living a simple life – that sounds good, but what does it really look like? What does it mean to implement simplicity in a hectic and complicated world? Read the stories of over 200 people – urban and rural – who have done just that.

twigAffluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf

Too much, too much, too much stuff, that’s what this culture is all about, and it’s making us sick. Affluenza is more than just overflowing landfills and obesity – it’s a deep spiritual illness and the root of many of the social problems we have in the world today.

twigHope’s Edge by Frances Moore Lappe’

Author of 1971’s groundbreaking Diet for a Small Planet, Lappe’ again explores the issue of food, but in the contemporary global world of the 21st century. She explores the way food is grown and the way communities thrive – or fail – around the world. Lappe’ busts corporate myths, gets to the core of truth and gives practical advice (and vegetarian recipes!) for creating a wholesome life in a better world.

twigOne Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka

For the many among us who find gardening both a grounding and spiritual pursuit – and realizing that the two are not mutually exclusive – One Straw Revolution will likely improve your crop yields, lessen your work load and nudge you further along the road to inner peace. This is farming so radical, so simple and so passionate, you’ll be hard pressed to keep from creating an abundant patch of your very own.

twigBlessed Unrest: How The Largest Movement In The World Came Into Being & Why No One Saw It Coming by Paul Hawken

Word of mouth, grassroots and very likely Twittered, the (r)evolution is happening. With no leader, no headquarters and no media coverage, there still exists what can be called the largest gathering of people on Earth. And you’re very likely part of it.

twigA Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence by Ferenc Mate

The author’s views might be radical, but someone has to say it. After all, if no one pushes the envelope, we might never change the status quo. Kind of like a smack upside the head to wake you up out of a bad dream – the American Dream.

twigThe Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost by Jean Liedloff

Perhaps it’s obvious to you that our culture has a big, gaping hole of unhappiness that we constantly stuff with material possessions (think Affluenza), but how did we get this way? Liedloff’s fascinating observations on child-rearing, both in the modern world and among tribal people of the Amazon, shines a bright light on the issue. How we treat our babies makes a huge difference in how they treat the rest of the world later on. This is the book that sparked the babywearing trend in the United States.

twigThe Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann

Loss of tribal culture, overpopulation, the end of our excessively affluent petroleum-fueled lives; sounds like doom and gloom, but what next? This book presents the case passionately, then provides real options for future hope and change. But caveat emptor, the solution will require more than buying a Prius and switching to fluorescent lights – ultimately, we’ll need deep and systemic change. Think establishing communities, empowerment of women, turning off the television and reconnecting.

twigSacred Commerce: Business as a Path of Awakening by Matthew & Terces Engelhart

Some people start a business simply to make money. Others want to provide valuable goods and services to the community. But have you heard of people starting a business as a way to move further along the spiritual path? The creators of Cafe Gratitude explain how this is possible – and even imperative – for the healthy future of commerce. Managers, this is your chance to create a quiet revolution in the workplace.

twigThe Food Revolution : How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins

The title says it all. Whether you’re just beginning to understand the connection between diet and our environment at large, or if you need a well-documented resource to gather your own statistics and quotations, this is an essential book for the conscious eaters among us. Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, breaks down industry jargon and propaganda and presents the truth about what you eat, how you feel and how it all affects the world. Clear, concise and accessible.

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