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Books and Media

Recommended for planet brain ...




Exercise and nutrition * Living

Self-help * Business, Entrepreneur * Finance, Investment

Bioethics, Philosophy, Political Ethics * Big Picture * Imagination

The star ratings are our recommendations.  If it doesn't have a rating, we haven't read it, but you can read reviews at amazon.


Exercise and Nutrition

The Bloodless Revolution  by Tristram Stuart.  An enjoyable read.  It is surpising to learn of the luminaries from Bacon to Newton to Rousseau to Einstein that strongly advocated a softer lifestyle based on yogic principles.  Their various rationales for their unwillingness to kill for food is surpisingly broad, covering science and philosophy, including Christian rationalisation.  An entertaining look back at the history of enlightenment. amazon.com amazon.co.uk


Hydraulic Ram Pumps: A Guide to Ram Pump Water Supply Systems by the Technology Development Group of Warwick University. A valuable primer on ram pumps and building water supply systems. amazon.com amazon.co.uk

Protecting Cows: Handbook of the Principles and Practices of Vegetarian Cow Husbandry by Stuart Coyle An unusual presentation of cow husbandry hindu style. Could provide more technical information. Good for yoga aficionados. amazon.com amazon.co.uk



The Use of Lateral Thinking. Edward DeBono's inroductrion to lateral thinking. A must read book by the leader in the field. amazon.com amazon.co.uk


Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman amazon.com amazon.co.uk

Emergence: The Shift from Ego to Essence by Barbara Marx Hubbard A passionate exposition of the challenge and opportunity facing humans today - the challenge of industrial pollution killing the biosphere and the opportunity to use the critical mass of technology (of body mind and spirit) to clean up the planet while maintaining lifestyles. amazon.co.uk cover

The Biosphere and Noosphere Reader, ed. P. R. Samson and D Pitt, foreword M . S. Gorbachev - Pretty intense but covers a lot of ground by many leading thinkers. Worth a browse. And then the www! amazon.co.uk

Cradle to Cradle: Renaking the way we make things by Michael Braungart and Bill McDonough  A must read.  Super description of natural design principles in a fun and easy to read book.  Why waste most of what we produce, why throw it out after use.  Instead design products so that they are part of natural cycles of renewal.  Biological nutrients for teh compost heap, technical nutrients for the factory. amazon.co.uk

Intelligence in Nature by Jeremy Narby. Very readable story of Narby's anthropological search for intelligence in life other than humans. amazon.co.uk

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence A first hand account of the second world war in the middle east. The descriptions and understanding of arab history and culture remain enlightening today. amazon.co.uk

Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another by Philip Ball A broadranging scientific discussion reputed to be more enlightening than Taleb's Black Swan amazon.com amazon.co.uk

Freakonomics by  Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner  A unusual perspective on economics aiding critical thinking, especially if you're lost in theory. amazon.com  amazon.co.uk


Business, Entrepreneur

Maverick! by Ricardo Semler A must read for an entrepreneur or business coach exploring open management systems.  Semler's story of transforming a traditional company, in a mature industry with a atraditional culture in to an open company, with open management and culture resulting in much greater flexibility and profitability is an example to be emulated.  amazon.co.uk  amazon.com


The Hungry Spirit by Charles Handy is a must read for anyone in business. An easy read, Handy tells a convincing story based great intellect and multiple career experience. amazon.co.uk

The Corporation (a film, DVD version linked here) Excellent exposee of teh degeneration of values in the US corporation. Must see viewing for capitalists and anti-capitalists. amazon.co.uk

The Modern Firm.  John Roberts discusses some key lessons of organisational design.  Many of the lessons may appear to be common sense but what Roberts helps to do is to show that there are many variables which ought to be considered in designing company strategy and organisation.  He advocates a whole system, integral approach which is appropriate in today's world.  His examples are from leading companies which have made and avoided mistakes. amazon.co.uk

And It Tastes Just Like Chicken. Read it like it is - what marketing is all about. Not a text book but a great guide to the world of marketing. amazon.co.uk

coverBen and Jerry's: The Inside Scoop - How Two Real Guys Built a Business With a Social Conscience and a Sense of Humour by Fred "Chico" Lager. The title says it all; a real story about people really making a difference. And good business too! amazon.co.uk


Finance & Investment

Fundamentals of Corporate Finance by Brearley et al. One of the standard finance texts. Worth attempting, or the one below. amazon.co.uk

Fundamentals of Corporate Finance by Ross, Westerfield, Jordan. One of the standard finance texts. Worth attempting or the one above. amazon.co.uk

Analysis For Financial Management by Robert Higgins. An excellent read. Get this one first. Though also complimentary to the two textbooks above. amazon.co.uk cover

Walking The Talk:The Business Case For Sustainable Development by Schmidheiney at al. Another excellent text from teh World Business Council For Sustainable Development. Packed with examples of profiting from sustainability from leading global companies. amazon.co.uk

Eat The Rich, A Treatise on Economics by P. J. O'Rourke Despite its title this is a very friendly read. The Irish American working for Rolling Stone Magazine as Financial Editor brings sense and reality to Economics. Painting pictures of a dozen or so countries and their economic environments and discussing policy implications using tea room vocabualry. amazon.co.uk

Merchants of Debt: KKR and the Mortgaging of American Business by George Anders Gives a good account of the LBO era and the story of how KKR became KKR. A history worth knowing with some good insights to the world of leverged finance. Read this before Barbarians At The Gate. amazon.co.uk cover

Against The Gods, The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter Bernstein. One of Bernstein's best. An excellent companion to understanding risk and probability. Useful stories that paint a realistic picture of the odds faced in life. Well written and surprisingly readable for a fairly demanding subject. amazon.co.uk



Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty - How The Bush Clan Became The World's Most Powerful And Dangerous Family. Avoids conspiracy theory and makes for unnerving political documentary by a Republican political thinker who has been turned off the GOP in the last decade. The level of corruption documented is shocking. amazon.co.uk


Bioethics, Philosophy, Political Ethics

Author Peter Singer is a leading example of critical thinking applied to morality and ethics. Anyone responsible for ethics, exclusively or as part of their job or business, should be familiar with the concepts he presents, especially speciesism and ethics of euthanasia. Can be disturbing. Excellent writer and role model.cover

Peter Singer, Writings on an Ethical Life: Valuable selection of chapters from Peter Singer's writings over the past three decades. 2001 Excellent. amazon.co.uk

Peter Singer, Rethinking Life And Death: Presents clearly the rationale for evolving modern culture of bioethics and morality of death. Draws on case studies including anencephalic infants and euthanasia, and presents the immorality of speciesism, showing changes in culture and law in recent decades. 1994 amazon.co.uk

George Monbiot, The Age of Consent; A Manifesto For A New World Order: A critique of institutions of global management, a call for change and presentation of possible systems that might evolve to satisfy the tensions of globalisation. A firmer grasp of economics would make this manifesto more universally applicable. 2003 He is a columnist for the Guardian, a visiting professor and author. www.monbiot.com amazon.co.uk

Charles Derber, People Before Profit: The New Globalisation in an age of Terror, Big Money and Economic Crisis: A useful critique of some of the modern challenges of resource allocation, trade, greed and fear. Unfortunately the author avoids discussion of some essential aspects, like religion, and has a modest grasp of economics which leaves gaps in logic that are filled by passion only. 2002 amazon.co.uk

Naomi Klein, No Logo: a classic "anti-globalisation" piece. It raises western consumers attention to the unethical behavious by monopolists (like Microsoft in the 1990s) and industry in developing environments. Unfortunately, the book puts the blame for consumer behaviour on everyone except the consumers, who ultimately demand this behaviour by choosing low cost options rather than sustainable options. amazon.co.uk



Earth Magic by Margaret McArthur A passion for nature and sensing the natural rythms of the earth. Based on pagan spirituality this is a pleasant read and non-prescriptive encouragement for feeling nature. amazon.co.uk cover

God's Debris, A Thought Experiment by Scott Adams. A good story which builds a useful perception of what god could be. Addresses many of the traditional paradoxes of religion like "a good god that allows suffering". amazon.co.uk

Gurdjieff: The Key Concepts Additional reading for those with particular interest in paganism and occult spirituality. A useful encyclopaedic presentation of Gurdieff's ideas which are a bridge between eastern spirituality and western culture. Gurdieff's ideas are critically thought but suffer from a technology gap which has been filled since his work in the 1920s Good homework. amazon.co.uk

In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky A biographical sketch of Gurdieff and his teachings by one of his early adopters. Worthwhile background on Gurdieff and his times, though tinged with Ouspensky's views. amazon.co.uk

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins  The much debated book which doesn't sway committed Christians and adds little for atheists, but if you're making up your mind, will certainly stimulate.  (In our view Dawkins' liability is that he discounts the spiritual dimension of existence, but his thesis is an important step towards enlightenment.) amazon.co.uk


Big Picturecover

Terry Pratchett, The Science of Discworld written in conjunction with eminent scientists Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. A synthesis of the science of the universe touching biology, nanotechnology, astrophysics. Clearly presents complex ideas which are presented in parallel with a Discworld story that offers humour and fantasy and acts as a foil to the story of the science. Excellent. Pratchett is the best selling author of our era. amazon.co.uk

Terry Pratchett, The Science of Discworld 2, written in conjunction with eminent scientists Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen. Presents a synthesis of humanity, interspersed with a Discworld story like The Science of Discworld (1). Touches science and culture including evolution, memes, language and information technology (especially in the context of story telling). Excellent. Pratchett is the best selling author of our era. amazon.co.uk

Darwin's Watch by Terry Pratchett - the Science of Discworld III. Even better than the first two. Very advanced ideas dealing with space-time, consciousness, emergence etc. Fortunately Pratchett's style takes off some of the pressure, but do not be misled - mental agility is required! amazon.co.uk

The Idea of Nature by R. G. Collingwood. An excellent discussion of the philosophy from Socrates to 1940ish - the divergence and remerging of the understanding that all is one, transcendant and immanent at once. Ahead of his time he was already using the language of emergence and consciousness in 1940. Should be required reading in any general philosophy course. amazon.co.uk cover

The Tao of Physics by Frijtof Capra Originally written in 1974 it brings together consciousness and quantum physics. Now beginning to become mainstream. Ahead of his time. You must read this book. amazon.co.uk

Robert Wright, Non-Zero; The Logic of Human Destiny: A comprehensive treatise on the positive nature of humanity. It introduces and ties together perspectives on biological, social and economic evolution. He has written for The Economist so you can imagine that its good quality and packed in. It presents a logical rationale that human evolution tends to creativity, sustainability and care rather than destruction, confrontation and control. amazon.co.uk

Edited by Howard Didsbury, 21st Century Opportunities and Challenges; An Age of Destruction or and Age of Transformation: Essays assessing scientific and technological innovations compiled by the World Future Society for the 2003 annual meeting. Something of interest and use to most readers including areas like economics, nanotechnology, security and enforcement, education. amazon.co.uk cover

Edited by Norman Myers, The Gaia Atlas of Planet Management: Required reading for a colourful, clear depiction of the tensions experienced by the biosphere and the human causes. amazon.co.uk


  Reaperman by Terry Pratchett  Another great story by Pratchett.  But his investigation and discussion of death is superior.  Would you wish the death of Death? amazon.co.uk

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. The first time I read this I enjoyed it at two levels, the story itself and the parody of human behaviour. The second time (15 years later) the third level became apparent - the insights into quantum physics and space-time phenomena! Brilliant. amazon.co.uk

  Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett is listed here just because its good - one of his best. amazon.co.uk

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett. amazon.co.uk

The Discworld Series


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