20 Social Change Books To Read In The New Year


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We’ve been reading some excellent books on social change. Last year, we published “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons,” and turned to many of these books — some written by former Shareable contributors — for inspiration. From tackling economic injustice to environmental inequities, these books are filled with hope for a better future, one that’s based on shared, community-based solutions as opposed to top-down fixes that don’t work for everyone. Below are summaries, excerpted from each book’s website, that give a taste of what’s inside. If you’re looking for thought-provoking reads in the New Year, look no further.

Do you have any recommendations for books we should check out this year? Leave a comment below or drop us a note at info@shareable.net. Happy reading!

Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff 

“Team Human is a manifesto — a fiery distillation of preeminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together — not as individuals. Yet today society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. Money, once a means of exchange, is now a means of exploitation; education, conceived as way to elevate the working class, has become another assembly line; and the internet has only further divided us into increasingly atomized and radicalized groups.” (Now available for pre-order.)


Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition That Is Shaping the Next Economy by Nathan Schneider 

“As Nathan Schneider shows, an alternative to the robber-baron economy is hiding in plain sight; we just need to know where to look. Cooperatives are jointly owned, democratically controlled enterprises that advance the economic, social, and cultural interests of their members. They often emerge during moments of crisis not unlike our own, putting people in charge of the workplaces, credit unions, grocery stores, healthcare, and utilities they depend on. Everything for Everyone chronicles this revolution–from taxi cooperatives keeping Uber at bay, to an outspoken mayor transforming his city in the Deep South, to a fugitive building a fairer version of Bitcoin, to the rural electric co-op members who are propelling an aging system into the future. As these pioneers show, co-ops are helping us rediscover our capacity for creative, powerful, and fair democracy.”


WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us by Tim O’Reilly

“In today’s economy, we have far too much dismay along with our amazement, and technology bears some of the blame. In this combination of memoir, business strategy guide, and call to action, Tim O’Reilly, Silicon Valley’s leading intellectual and the founder of O’Reilly Media, explores the upside and the potential downsides of today’s WTF? technologies. The core of the book’s call to action is an exhortation to businesses to DO MORE with technology rather than just using it to cut costs and enrich their shareholders. Robots are going to take our jobs, they say. O’Reilly replies, Only if that’s what we ask them to do! Technology is the solution to human problems, and we won’t run out of work till we run out of problems.”


The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato 

“According to conventional wisdom, innovation is best left to the dynamic entrepreneurs of the private sector, and government should get out of the way. But what if all this was wrong? What if, from Silicon Valley to medical breakthroughs, the public sector has been the boldest and most valuable risk-taker of all?”

Another related book to check out is: Our Common Wealth: The return of public ownership in the United States by Thomas M. Hanna  


Climate — A New Story by Charles Eisenstein 

“With research and insight, Charles Eisenstein details how the quantification of the natural world leads to a lack of integration and our "fight" mentality. With an entire chapter unpacking the climate change denier’s point of view, he advocates for expanding our exclusive focus on carbon emissions to see the broader picture beyond our short-sighted and incomplete approach. The rivers, forests, and creatures of the natural and material world are sacred and valuable in their own right, not simply for carbon credits or preventing the extinction of one species versus another.”


Who Can You Trust? by Rachel Botsman 

“In this revolutionary book, world-renowned trust expert Rachel Botsman reveals that we are at the tipping point of one of the biggest social transformations in human history — with fundamental consequences for everyone. A new world order is emerging: we might have lost faith in institutions and leaders, but millions of people rent their homes to total strangers, exchange digital currencies, or find themselves trusting a bot. This is the age of “distributed trust,” a paradigm shift driven by innovative technologies that are rewriting the rules of an all-too-human relationship. If we are to benefit from this radical shift, we must understand the mechanics of how trust is built, managed, lost, and repaired in the digital age. In the first book to explain this new world, Botsman provides a detailed map of this uncharted landscape--and explores what’s next for humanity.”


Next American Cities by Mich Cornett 

“As mayor of one of America’s most improved cities, Cornett used a bold, creative, and personal approach to orchestrate his city’s renaissance. Once regarded as a forgettable city in “flyover country,” Oklahoma City has become one of our nation’s most dynamic places — and it is not alone. In this book, Cornett translates his city’s success — and the success of cities like his-into a vision for the future of our country.”

 


The Growth of Italian Cooperatives: Innovation, Resilience and Social Responsibility (Routledge Studies in Social Enterprise & Social Innovation) 

“This book is an interdisciplinary study of cooperative development and is designed to inform members of the academic community, government, public policy makers and cooperative managers that are primarily interested in economic democracy, economics of the cooperative enterprise, cooperative networks and economic development, cooperative legislation, democratic governance, job creation programs, politics of inclusion and how wealth can be more equitably distributed.”


The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Wel-Being by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett 

“As this groundbreaking study demonstrates, the answer to all these hinges on inequality. In The Spirit Level Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett put inequality at the centre of public debate by showing conclusively that less-equal societies fare worse than more equal ones across everything from education to life expectancy. The Inner Level now explains how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave. It sets out the overwhelming evidence that material inequalities have powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to define and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority.”


Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area by Richard A. Walker 

“The San Francisco Bay Area is currently the jewel in the crown of capitalism — the tech capital of the world and a gusher of wealth from the Silicon Gold Rush. It has been generating jobs, spawning new innovation, and spreading ideas that are changing lives everywhere. It boasts of being the Left Coast, the Greenest City, and the best place for workers in the USA. So what could be wrong? It may seem that the Bay Area has the best of it in Trump’s America, but there is a dark side of success: overheated bubbles and spectacular crashes; exploding inequality and millions of underpaid workers; a boiling housing crisis, mass displacement, and severe environmental damage; a delusional tech elite and complicity with the worst in American politics. This sweeping account of the Bay Area in the age of the tech boom covers many bases.”


Cities That Think like Planets: Complexity, Resilience, and Innovation in Hybrid Ecosystems by Marina Alberti 

“As human activity and environmental change come to be increasingly recognized as intertwined phenomena on a rapidly urbanizing planet, the field of urban ecology has risen to offer useful ways of thinking about coupled human and natural systems. On the forefront of this discipline is Marina Alberti, whose innovative work offers a conceptual framework for uncovering fundamental laws that govern the complexity and resilience of cities, which she sees as key to understanding and responding to planetary change and the evolution of Earth. Bridging the fields of urban planning and ecology, Alberti describes a science of cities that work on a planetary scale and that links unpredictable dynamics to the potential for innovation. It is a science that considers interactions — at all scales — between people and built environments and between cities and their larger environments.”


New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World — and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms 

“Why do some leap ahead while others fall behind in our chaotic, connected age? In New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms confront the biggest stories of our time — the rise of mega-platforms like Facebook and Uber; the out-of-nowhere victories of Obama and Trump; the unexpected emergence of movements like #MeToo — and reveal what’s really behind them: the rise of "new power." New Power shines fresh light on the cultural phenomena of our day, from #BlackLivesMatter to the Ice Bucket Challenge to Airbnb, uncovering the new power forces that made them huge. Drawing on examples from business, activism, and pop culture, as well as the study of organizations like Lego, NASA, Reddit, and TED, Heimans and Timms explain how to build new power and channel it successfully.”


Hedge: A Greater Safety Net for the Entrepreneurial Age by Nicolas Colin 

“For three decades we’ve been living through a paradigm shift. Our world is moving from the fading Fordist age to the ever-strengthening digital age. This shift is as unstoppable as the one that once brought us from railroads and steel mills to Fordist factories. And its impact on our lives is just as radical. In this context, the lessons from history are clear: Providing economic security for the many generates prosperity for all. But this can only be done with the right safety net supporting both households and businesses against the risks brought about by the digital age. There are those who long to re-establish the standards and regulations that marked the post-war boom.”


The Social Singularity: How decentralization will allow us to transcend politics, create global prosperity, and avoid the robot apocalypse by Max Borders 

“In this decentralization manifesto, futurist Max Borders shows that humanity is already building systems that will “underthrow” great centers of power. Exploring the promise of a decentralized world, Borders says we will: Reorganize to collaborate and compete with AI; Operate within networks of superior collective intelligence; Rediscover our humanity and embrace values for an age of connection.”

 


Copenhagenize: The Definitive Guide to Global Bicycle Urbanism by Mikael Colville-Andersen 

“Building on his popular blog of the same name, Copenhagenize offers vivid project descriptions, engaging stories, and best practices, alongside beautiful and informative visuals to show how to make the bicycle an easy, preferred part of everyday urban life. Copenhagenize will serve as inspiration for everyone working to get the bicycle back into our cities. It will give planners and designers the ammunition to push back against the Automobile Age and convince the skeptics of the value of the life-sized city. This is not a guide on how to become Copenhagen, but how to learn from the successes and failures (yes, failures) of Copenhagen and other cities around the world that are striving to become more livable.”

Another related book to check out is: Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality by Chris Bruntlett and Melissa Bruntlett


Narrative Generation: Why narrative will become your most valuable asset in the next 5 years by Ann Badillo 

“In a world where story has become everything, organizations are finding it increasingly hard to compete. That’s because stories can only take you so far. The real power lies in narratives. We are surrounded by noise. We are overwhelmed by information from social media, news and advertising. In this environment, it can be impossible for a brand, cause or individual to be heard. Organizations have traditionally used stories to try and connect with their audiences. But now, stories aren’t enough. To be heard and to authentically connect to an audience, organizations need to embrace narrative.”


Small Arcs of Larger Circles: Framing Through Other Patterns by Nora Bateson 

“Building on Gregory Bateson’s famous book Towards an Ecology of Mind and her own film on the subject, Nora Bateson here updates our thinking on systems and ecosystems, applying her own insights and those of her team at IBI to education, organisations, complexity, academia, and the way that society organizes itself. The book offers important advice and new thinking on issues like immigration, systems thinking, new economic and financial models, future thinking and strategic planning, sustainability and governmental ethics, agency in organizational leadership, the education system and organizational governance.”


Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change by Ashley Dawson 

“Ashley Dawson argues that cities are ground zero for climate change, contributing the lion’s share of carbon to the atmosphere, while also lying on the frontlines of rising sea levels. Today, the majority of the world’s megacities are located in coastal zones, yet few of them are adequately prepared for the floods that will increasingly menace their shores. Instead, most continue to develop luxury waterfront condos for the elite and industrial facilities for corporations. These not only intensify carbon emissions, but also place coastal residents at greater risk when water levels rise.”

Another related book to check out is: Global Cities: A Short History (The Short Histories) by Greg Clark


Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials by Malcolm Harris 

“Millennials have been stereotyped as lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and immature. We’ve gotten so used to sloppy generational analysis filled with dumb clichés about young people that we’ve lost sight of what really unites Millennials. Kids These Days, is about why. In brilliant, crackling prose, early Wall Street occupier Malcolm Harris gets mercilessly real about our maligned birth cohort. Examining trends like runaway student debt, the rise of the intern, mass incarceration, social media, and more, Harris gives us a portrait of what it means to be young in America today that will wake you up and piss you off. Millennials were the first generation raised explicitly as investments, Harris argues, and in Kids These Days he dares us to confront and take charge of the consequences now that we are grown up.”


The Happiness Fantasy by Carl Cederström 

“Carl Cederström traces our present-day conception of happiness from its roots in early-twentieth-century European psychiatry, to the Beat generation, to Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. He argues that happiness is now defined by a desire to be “authentic,” to experience physical pleasure, and to cultivate a quirky individuality. But over the last fifty years, these once-revolutionary ideas have been co-opted by corporations and advertisers, pushing us to live lives that are increasingly unfulfilling, insecure and narcissistic. In an age of increasing austerity and social division, Cederström argues that a radical new dream of happiness is gathering pace. There is a vision of the good life which promotes deeper engagement with the world and our place within it, over the individualism and hedonism of previous generations. Guided by this more egalitarian worldview, we can reinvent ourselves and our societies.”

This article was republished from Shareable.

See also:
Disaster Collectivism: How Communities Rise Together To Respond To Crises
Tiny Houses Alone Can’t Solve The Housing Crisis. But Here’s What Can

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April 20, 2019

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April 2019

Come and learn the wisdom of the Tarot! In this class we will dissect and discover the nuances and charms of the cards. The tarot deck has 78 cards in it, each with its own archetypal and...

Cost: $125

Where:
Moth and Moon Studio
173 South River Road
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
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Sponsor: Moth and Moon Studio
Telephone: 603-782-3674
Contact Name: Danielle Dionne
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For girls ages 10-15 with their moms or other adult female caregiver/friend This mini retreat is designed specifically for mothers and daughters to share quality positive time with one other....

Cost: $75/pair

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
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Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
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When people are in an extreme state of peacelessness, doubt or despair they often look to a higher source for peace, love, strength & wisdom. Learn to connect to the higher source to gain...

Cost: Admission free, all are welcome

Where:
InnerSpace Meditation Center And Gallery
1110 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA  02138
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Class is limited to only 12 people. Be sure to register early!   Class dates: Tuesdays—4/16, 4/23, 5/7, 5/14, 5/21 *Tuesday, 4/30 there is no meeting   Explore deeper...

Cost: $250

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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April 17–20 9am-3pm each day Experience transformation guided by Mother Mary. Through Divine vibration, you will be aligned for quicker healing and evolving with mind body spirit and...

Cost: $500

Where:
, MA


Sponsor: The LoveLight Center
Telephone: (207) 216-9584
Contact Name: Cheryl Banfield

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The American Center for Bioregulatory Medicine and Dentistry (The BioMed Center) is the most comprehensive center in North America for bioregulatory medicine and dentistry. Come see what...

Cost: Free and open to the public

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111 Chestnut Street
Providence, RI
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For all ages.   In this class hand-building techniques are taught with different projects monthly. Please see the list of projects below: Wednesday, April 17th, 4:30–6:00 PM...

Cost: $35

Where:
Voice of Clay
16 Meetinghouse Hill Rd
Brookline, NH  03033
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Sponsor: Voice of Clay
Telephone: 603-672-2626
Contact Name: Wendy
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Discover how you can release tight muscles and improve range of motion in locked joints in a weekly ESSENTRICS stretch classes led by Raindrop Fisher, certified Essentrics instructor. Raindrop is a...

Cost: $10 drop-in / $100 for 12 classes

Where:
Village at Waterman Lake
Function Room - Chalet Bldg
715 Putnam Pike
Greenville, RI  02828
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Sponsor: Healthier Fit Lifestyle
Telephone: 401-678-0950
Contact Name: Raindrop Fisher
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Instructor: Pam Driscoll Wednesdays, April 17, May 8, 22, June 5, 19, 6:30pm–7:30pm Join us for the Mid-Week Meditation Sampler at Creative Spirit…an opportunity to pause,...

Cost: $20 per class

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
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Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
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Sample three types of meditation and discuss which you liked best and why, at She Breathes Balance & Wellness Studio in Walpole, MA.

Where:
She Breathes Balance & Wellness Studio
85 West Street
2nd Floor
Walpole, MA
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Telephone: (508) 282-7877
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Instructor: Peyton Pugmire Thursdays: April 18, May 16, June 13 6:30pm–8:30pm Adult Level “In the same way that all dreams come in the service of health and...

Cost: Pay what you wish

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
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Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
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This development group is for students of mediumship looking to enhance, expand and practice their mediumship abilities. Traditional and progressive mediumship development techniques, topics and...

Cost: $25 per person

Where:
Moth and Moon Studio
173 South River Road
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
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Sponsor: Moth and Moon Studio
Telephone: 603-782-3674
Contact Name: Danielle Dionne
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Join us for a day long workshop as we learn to connect to the energy of the angelic realm. Our primary purpose is working with 9 incredible angels of the healing energy field. You will learn the...

Cost: $99

Where:
Moth and Moon Studio
173 South River Road
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
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Sponsor: Moth and Moon Studio
Telephone: 603-782-3674
Contact Name: Danielle Dionne
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