A few times a year, we round up the top new books about cities, sharing, collaboration, social tech, movement trends and more. Here are 21 books worth checking out for Shareable summer reading.
1. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity, by Douglas Rushkoff (Portfolio): In Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, acclaimed media theorist Douglas Rushkoff looks at how a “tornado of technological improvements has spun our economic program out of control” and that humanity as a whole—the protesters who throw rocks at Google buses, the Google employees, and the shareholders and executives—are all “trapped by the consequences.” Among the topics explored in the book are big data, the rise of robots and AI, the increasing participation of algorithms in stock market trading, the gig economy, and the collapse of the eurozone.
2. Platform Cooperativism: Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy, by Trebor Scholz (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung ebook): In Platform Cooperativism, Trebor Scholz, author of The Internet as Playground and Factory and Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy (forthcoming) and an associate professor at The New School, explores the opportunities and pitfalls of the sharing economy and discusses the rise of platform cooperatives, which he describes as "democratic ownership models for the Internet." One of the leaders of the platform cooperative movement, Scholz sheds light on the potential and promise of democratically-owned digital platforms and the emerging platform cooperativism movement. Keep your eyes peeled for another new book from Scholz coming out later this year, Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy.
3. Disrupting Unemployment: Reflection on a Sustainable, Middle Class, Economic Recovery, by David Nordfors, Vint Cerf. Edited by Max Senges (CreateSpace Independent Publishing): In Disrupting Unemployment, authors David Nordfors and Vint Cerf explore the notion that innovation can both kill and create work. Calling into question the 200 year-old “sinister notion” that machines will someday kill all jobs, the book argues that wasting human capacity and mismanaging people’s desire to work and create value for each other is “more than just very bad business. It is an insult to ourselves and to all human beings. We believe there are ways to move beyond the habit of rejecting and mistreating ourselves in this way.”
4. Share, by Harmen van Sprang Pieter van de Glind (Business Contact): In Share, which is written in Dutch, authors Harmen van Sprang Pieter van de Glind look at the rise of the sharing economy and the way it has transformed, not just how we share photos, stories and videos, but how it has enabled us to share on a much broaders scale, from our cars and homes to our education, our belongings, our energy and our money. The book details opportunities and challenges for new and established businesses in the sharing economy and points to a bright future already being created by industry leaders.
5. Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World, by Wade Graham (Harper): In Dream Cities, Wade Graham, who is a landscape designer, historian and author of American Eden, explores the concept of cities as “expressions of ideas, often conflicting, about how we should live, work, play, make, buy, and believe.” Through stories of architects and thinkers whose vision for cities served as blueprints for our world, Graham uses these stories and ideas to “deconstruct the urban landscape,” including our houses, towers, civic centers, condominiums, shopping malls, boulevards, highways, and more.
6. Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World, by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott (Portfolio): Blockchain Revolution is an exploration of the “technology likely to have the greatest impact on the future of the world economy”: blockchain. Written by Don Tapscott, the bestselling author of Wikinomics, and his son, blockchain expert Alex Tapscott, the book is a “highly readable” study of the “ingeniously simple, revolutionary protocol that allows transactions to be simultaneously anonymous and secure by maintaining a tamperproof public ledger of value.” Blockchain drives bitcoin and other digital currencies, but the authors argue that the underlying framework has the potential to go far beyond this to “reshape the world of business and transform the old order of human affairs for the better.”
7. What's Yours Is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy, by Tom Slee (OR Books): What’s Yours is Mine is a critical examination of the sharing economy, which, Slee argues, has very little to do with sharing. As enormous, highly-valued “sharing” companies sidestep regulation and externalize costs, Slee’s book is an important read to understand how we got here, and where we go from here. As Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age writes, “[Slee’s] laser-sharp insights about the real impact of popular start-ups on our livelihoods and communities are the perfect antidote to sharing economy hype. What’s Yours Is Mine is required reading for anyone interested in technology and economic justice.”
8. How To: Share, Save Money & Have Fun, edited by Tom Llewellyn and Neal Gorenflo (Shareable): The latest Shareable book, How To: Share, Save Money & Have Fun is a collection of how-to articles to help you integrate sharing into your life. The book contains guides on sharing housing, transportation, food, education, music and more -- all curated from Shareable's vast how-to share archive . At the heart of the book is a focus on helping you have more fun through sharing while building community and saving money.
9. The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide for Finding Your Place in the World, by Maria Hill (BookBaby): The Emerging Sensitive is a guide and exploration of the world of highly sensitive people (HSPs). The book provides insights into the lives of HSPs and traces the history of HSPs back to the earliest civilizations. Using the evolutional framework of Spiral Dynamics as laid out by Don Beck and Chris Cowan, The Emerging Sensitive discusses the “shifting roles of highly sensitive people in societies throughout the ages and explores what the future holds as culture shifts to a more HSP-friendly stage while including ideas for moving out into the world in a safe way.
10. Connecting Hearts and Minds: Insights, Skills, and Best Practices for Dealing with Differences, by Greg Nees (The German Connection, Inc.): In Connecting Hearts and Minds, interculturalist, coach, and consultant Greg Nees provides a broad perspective to manage diversity and build trust. Using an integral approach through inspiring stories, Nees argues that because much of our cultural conditioning in unconscious, we are often blind to the ways our identities “shape our world views and influence how we speak.” The resulting misunderstandings and lost opportunities can be remedied with tools for deeper understanding and heightened awareness.
11. Ultra Society: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth, by Peter Turchin (Beresta Books): In Ultra Society, evolutionary scientist Peter Turchin argues that human beings are nature’s greatest team players saying, “We organize ourselves into communities of hundreds of millions of individuals, inhabit every continent, and send people into space.” He explores the story of humanity from the first “scattered bands of Homo sapiens” through the greatest empires in history and emerges with the theory that humans’ powers of cooperation were “forged in the fires of war.”
12. Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life, by Colin Ellard (Bellevue Literary Press): Places of the Heart is an exploration of how our surroundings powerfully affect our thoughts, emotions and physical responses. In it, Colin Ellard, one of the world’s foremost thinkers on the neuroscience of urban design, looks at how our homes, workplaces, cities and natural surroundings have influenced us throughout history and how our brains and bodies respond to different types of real and virtual space. The resulting question is: What kind of world we are, and should be, creating.
13. Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars, by Samuel I. Schwartz (PublicAffairs): When a section of New York’s West Side Highway collapsed under the weight of a truck full of asphalt in 1973, cars were unable to use the once-busy street, so they disappeared from it. For Samuel I. Schwartz, one of the leading transportation experts in the United States, it was a moment of revelation. He started to reimagine New York, and other cities, “freed from their obligation to cars.” Street Smart, which has been described as “equal parts transportation-planning compendium, autobiography and love letter to New York City,” is a history of the “struggle for control of American cities, and an inspiring off-road map to a more vibrant, active, and vigorous urban future.”
14. Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun, by Gabe Klein and David Vega-Barachowitz (Island Press): Start-Up City looks at the recent revolution in urban transportation, with mobility platforms connecting people to cars, trains, buses and bikes as never before, and asks how we can “close the gap between the energized, aggressive world of start-ups and the complex bureaucracies struggling to change beyond a geologic time scale.” In it, authors Gabe Klein and David Vega-Barachowitz aim to inspire “public entrepreneurship,” a start-up-pace energy within the public sector, and a "roadmap for getting real, meaningful projects done quickly and having fun while doing it.”
15. Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions: Towards More Equitable Development (Routledge Equity, Justice and the Sustainable City), by Karen Chapple (Routledge): Planning Sustainability is an exploration of climate change, sustainable city planning, and social equity. Written by Karen Chapple, professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, USA and Interim Director of the Institute for Urban and Regional Development, the book looks at the "three Es" of sustainability—environment, economy, and equity‚—and the “most just path moving forward for cities and regions across the globe.”
16. Scaling Up: The Convergence of Social Economy and Sustainability, edited by Mike Gismondi, Sean Connelly, Mary Beckie, Sean Markey and Mark Roseland (Athabasca University Press): While exploring innovative social economies in British Columbia and Alberta, contributors to Scaling Up discovered that “achieving a social good through collective, grassroots enterprise resulted in a sustainable way of satisfying human needs that was also, by extension, environmentally responsible.” Looking at accessible and affordable housing initiatives, cooperative approaches to social services, credit unions, farmers’ markets, community-owned power companies and more, the contributors found “social economies providing solutions based on reciprocity and an understanding of how parts function within the whole—an understanding that is essential to sustainability.”
17. Hope is a Promise: From the Indignados to the Rise of Podemos in Spain, by Carlos Delclós (Zed Books): In Hope is a Promise, Barcelona-based activist Carlos Delclós explores the rise of Podemos, a left-wing political party in Spain. Following an economic crisis and widespread unemployment, Podemos has “quickly become one of the most dynamic political forces in Europe, offering a radical democratic alternative to austerity and the status quo.” The book offers a first-hand narrative of the party’s origins within the wider indignados anti-austerity movement, as well as “this movement’s successes in building popular support from below.”
18. The Pirate Book, edited by Nicolas Maigret and Maria Roszkowska (Aksioma): The Pirate Book is a “compilation of stories about sharing, distributing and experiencing cultural contents outside the boundaries of local economies, politics, or laws.” Edited by Nicolas Maigret and Maria Roszkowska, the book offers a broad view on media piracy and explores a variety of comparative perspectives on recent issues and historical facts regarding piracy based on the experiences of individuals from India, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Mali and China.
19. World-Changing Generosity: How You Can Join a Movement of Ordinary People Making an Extraordinary Difference for Those in Need, by Jim and Nancy Cotterill (iUniverse): World-Changing Generosity is an inspirational collection of ordinary people who are changing the world for the better. The book explores the “amazing opportunity we have to eliminate the deepest poverty, hunger, and health issues in the world today” and details how people can get started and make a difference in ways besides donating money. Authors Jim and Nancy Cotterill also delve into the science of how living generously affects our happiness throughout life.
20. Agents of Alternatives – Re-designing Our Realities, edited by Alastair Fuad-Luke, Anja-Lisa Hirscher and Katharina Moebus (Agents of Alternatives): An independently published book that explores the visions, actions, tools and impacts of change agents, thinkers and ‘happeners’ (those who make things happen), Agents of Alternatives shows the “creative processes and tools for designing positive societal transitions” by showing how new relationships being formed between “alternative approaches to learning, living, making, socialising, thinking and working.” The aim of the book is to enable people to understand the rich possibilities of creating and designing together in open, participatory and imaginative ways.
21. The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact without Burnout, by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman (Wiley): Due out in October, the Happy, Healthy Nonprofit provides strategies for nonprofit leaders "looking to optimize organizational achievement while avoiding the common nonprofit burnout." Written by nonprofit expert Beth Kanter and web pioneer Aliza Sherman, the book takes a holistic approach to nonprofit leadership and serves as a "handbook to help leaders examine their existing organization, identify trouble spots, and resolve issues with attention to all aspects of operations and culture."
Many of the above book include an Amazon affiliate link. Resulting purchases support Shareable, a nonprofit. The books may be available at your local library or independent bookstore, choices we strongly support. Top photo: mvp (CC-0). Follow @CatJohnson on Twitter