This page, as with all others, are to be updated by all of you. Please feel free to add any books you recommend. We can put our names at the end of our comments for clarity.

Dont' worry about formatting or linking to amazon if you don't know how or can't be bothered. I will take care of that.

I must be honest with you, I have not read most of these books in their entirety. But this list was comprised from book descriptions, reviews, citing from Times articles, recommendation from colleagues, in addition to my own reading. I have linked them to entries in Amazon, so you can find out more about each item. Make sure you write a review here if you read any of them.

One thing I have noticed: many, if not all of the books in business, economics, politics, and social science, that identify our society's problems are excellent in doing that, but tend to be thin in solution, lacking imagination and creativity. We have our work cut out for us!! -Keiko


Homo Aestheticus—Where Art Comes From and Why

Ellen Dissanayake, University of Washington Press, 1992

Personally, this is a very influential book for me. I did not come across this until recently, but it confirmed so many of my gut-feeling convictions about art that I fostered in solitude for over 20 years! -keiko

What Is Art For?

Ellen Dissanayake, Universtity of Washington Press, 1988

The Social History of Art (four volumes)

Arnold Hauser, Vintage Books, 1957 (original edition)

Surprisingly, there are not that many books that place art in the context of social history. This is a classic. -keiko

Arts, Inc.—How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights

Bill Ivey, University of California Press, 2008

I only bought this book recently so I haven't read it. The author was a chair for the National Endowment for the Arts under the Clinton administration. I have heard there are some shortcomings. -keiko

Hamlet on the Holodeck

Janet H. Murray, the MIT Press, 1997

This book was required reading for an online ESC computer class (Digital Storytelling) offered last year. Although I was forced to drop the course for lack of time, the book was an eye-opener; it convinced this technophobe that computers can and will play increasingly important roles in creative endeavors of all types, both as tool and as artistic medium per se. I appreciated it not least of all because the writing itself is exquisite. - Linda

The zen of creativity : cultivating your artistic life

by John Daido Loori.

This recommendation comes from Tasha.

Business and Economics

Like I said, all of these, from my own opinion and others, tend to be thin or general or idealistic in solution, but excellent in identifying and interpreting the problems. -keiko

The Rise of the Creative Class—and how it's transforming work, leisure, community, and everyday life

Richard Florida, Basic Books, 2002

Ownership Solution—Toward a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century

Jeff Gates, Perseus Books,1998

Deep Economy—The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

Bill McKibben, Times Books, 2007


The Great Turning—From Empire to Earth Community

David Korten, Berrett-Koehler, 2007

This was an influential book for me. The first half where he shares his view on how our world has been shaped by imperialism is so powerful it changed me forever. But I was disappointed in the last third or so... still, really worth reading. But you know the best thing about this book? He shares my conviction that in order for the world to turn around and work towards a cooperative, sustainable global society, women must lead the way. -keiko

Science and History

Becoming Human—Evolution and Human Uniqueness

Ian Tattersall, Harcourt Brace, 1998

Tattersall is a curator at the Museum of Natural History and frequent contributor to newspaper articles. Another implication evolutionary biology is becoming mainstream. -keiko

Guns, Germs, and Steel—The Fates of Human Societies

Jared Diamond, Norton, 1997

So many college courses list this book as required reading. It set a new direction for looking at history. The author attributes the way history took its course to the natural environment. I like the intention and information, but have a little personal problem with the discrepancy I found between what he is claiming and his own style. -keiko

The Origins of Virtue—Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation

Matt Ridley, Penguin, 1996

My colleague read this. Despite its optimistic sounding subtitle, he was depressed after reading it, thinking that humans are basically selfish scoundrels. -keiko


Introduction to Permaculture

Bill Mollison, Tagari, 1991

Permaculture is a concept that encompasses shelter, garden, food production, farming, land management and community, in a design system that goes beyond sustainability. It is gaining so much popularity these days. This book is a good introductory book from the founder of the movement. -keiko

Edible Forest Gardens, Two Volumes

David Jacke, Chelsea Green, 2006

Unbelievable amount of work went into these volumes. Not just a practical manual, he has a sense of larger connection to nature. -keiko

Permaculture—Princeples and Pathways Beyond Sustainability

David Holmgren, Holmgren Design Services, 2002

Five Acres and Independence

Maurice Grenville Kains, Dover Publications, 1973 (original publication date 194?)

This book that I have never read has probably had more of an influence on my life than any other except The Bible. In its day (sometime in the nineteen forties), this book was considered the quintessential subsistence farming primer. It moved my father to uproot his young family from the New York City suburbs and transplant them to seven wooded acres in the western Catskills, where we spent our formative years and he spent the remainder of his life. If you are reading any of the permaculture books Keiko has here recommended, it might be interesting to contrast modern thinking on that topic with ideas presented a few generations earlier. - Linda


Teaming with Microbes—A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web

Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis, Timber Press, 2006

Fascinating world of bacteria and fungi in soil. Must read for gardeners. -keiko


Wild Fermentation—The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

Sandor Ellix Katz, Chelsea Green, 2003

The only cook book that made me cry. I am so hooked on lacto-fermentation and wild yeast fermentaion. My ginger beer is becoming famous among friends. -keiko