Bob Russell Resilience Reading Project

The Books

Before Bob’s passing, he shared with his friends and colleagues a carefully curated list of books he felt can help us understand what we can do to make sure our community is economically, environmentally, and socially as healthy and resilient as possible.

The idea behind the new reading project is a simple one: In each season of the year, a broad community will come together to read one of the books recommended by Bob, discuss its themes and lessons, celebrate the region’s strengths, and acknowledge the work that remains.

The Books… and why Bob thought they are important 

“For the Common Good,” by Herman E Daly and John B Cobb Jr.
“Our society has swung too far towards individualism dismantling our sense of community membership. Only recognition of the common good can save us.”

“The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change,” by Al Gore
“A big book, dense with Al Gore’s vision of the where history is headed. Gore is a very smart, complicated thinker. Have a dictionary nearby, you’ll need it.”

“The Wealth of Nature,” by John Michael Greer
“This perhaps the most important and easily read book about economics one can choose. Modern day economics theory misses the eternal connection that bonds real wealth to the eco-system services provided to us by our planet. Money is not wealth.”

“The Surprising Design of Market Economies,” by Alex Marshall
“This is a very readable book explaining that there really is no economic market place that runs itself rationally. Economic theories that talk of market forces and the “invisible hand of the market” are artificial and missing the truth.”

“What’s the Economy Good for Anyway?”  by John DeGraaf and David K Batker
“We need to measure Happiness as a metric for judging our societies success and dump the GDP measurement. We are not just consumers, we are complex human beings and citizens.”

“The Energy Reader,” by Laura Nader
“Energy is the common factor in all that we accomplish in life. Looked at this simply, there are real, earth-bound limits to the supply of easy energy in the future. Our future will be characterized by constrained energy supply with unavoidable limits to growth.”

“Owning the Future,” by Marjorie Kelly
“How do we make the future that will happen be the future that needs to happen, if human societies are going to survive. What must we grasp first, to change our behavior and not consume too much.”

“Local Dollars, Local Sense,” by Michael Shuman
“A must read and local favorite. The single biggest export that leaves every local community is the sum total of its citizens’ investment dollars. They are exported into a world wide financial system which we all know is frail. Shuman tells us why we must learn how to invest in Main St. not Wall St.”

“Rebuilding the Food Shed,” by Philip Ackerman-Leist
“This book tells why and how our food should be grown locally. After all, the wealth of our local soil, and all the food it can provide should be kept as local as much as possible.”

“Full Planet Empty Plates,” by Lester Brown
“Another powerful book from one of the most cogent thinkers of our time. The message might be scary: the geo politics of our food supply make it ever more frail.”

“Cooked,” by Michael Pollen
“From this book in the author’s series on food, our own health and the health of our food system depends one his #1 rule: Cook Your Own Food!”

“Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow,” by Daniel Kahneman
“Also a book about governance: how do we make governance decisions; how can we do it better; how do we engage effectively?”

“The World in 2050,” by Laurence C. Smith
“This is a fascinating read that simply extrapolates developments already taking place across the far northern hemisphere into the year 2050. What will we look like?”

“The Resilience Imperative,” by Michael Lewis
“The essential reader for Community Resilience. Resilience is not about our ability to bounce back; it is our about ability to adapt to unpredictable change.”