icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Must-Reads for Difficult Times--
and some, just for good moments!

"Uncommon Sense--Shortcomings of the Human Mind for Handling Big-Picture, Long-Term Challenges" by Peter Seidel, Steady State Press, Arlington, VA, 2020.


I received this book from CASSE, the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, . It focuses directly on the "root causes of our problems"--climate change, overcrowding of Earth with people, products, and pollutants, and biodiversity loss. The author blames our human inability to deal with the "big Picture"--Earth's "long-term problems."


The author argues that "positive thinking" is not necessary. We need to focus on what we can do to fix the planet we are using up and destroying. He asks why this is so hard?


Seidel suggests that we must realize that we are a part of nature. Where does our food, water, and clothing come from? And how? Earth  would need to be 2.8 larger for everyone to live like Europeans. Why is "questioning economic growth taboo? "Continuous population increase and economic growth on a finite planet is impossible." That should be an obvious truism."


We are seeing the beginning in tragic population shifts going on now. The collapse of the Mayan and Easter Island civilizations are early examples of what is beginning on the entire Earth now. We are "losing species 10 to 100 times faster than the average rate of extinction over the last million years, and "that rate is accelerating."


The author helps us focus on specific problems and solutions, like our dependence on electricity. For specific "to dos" please study this small 100 page book.

"The Social Behavior of Older Animals" by Anne Innis Dagg, Baltimore,The John Hopkins University Press, 2009


Author Dagg details the behavior of many different animals, those near the end of their life. She makes a good deal of generalizations, but in one chapter focuses on the four methods animals use for teaching: imitation, making deliberate "opportunities" to learn, encouragement, and punishment.


Most other chapters include descriptions of adapting, sociability, reproduction, hierarchy, mothering and family, as seen by elder animals. Then the reader discovers amazing stories--interactions and behavior that reveal the wisdom, acquired knowledge, and deliberate teaching that individual animals exhibit, independent of their human connections.


We learn how similar animals are to us, not only in their interest in training the young but in their ability to play-act, or deny emotion when needed, or appreciate music, or play, or initiate brave behavior in fire emergencies, or mourn the death of loved ones.


Our denial of animal emotion illustrates a long history of human ignorance.


One of the most striking examples is the author's description of a big (440 lb.) male lion in the Kenya savanna who was apparently "knocked flat" by a 11 pound cub, who proceeded to grip with his teeth the big male by the throat. The big male pawed the air, groaned, then lay still, while the cub "slid to the ground and pranced off." Then the male sat up and gazed calmly into the distance. What a great parent!


Often, elder males may do battle to stay with their pride, but the loser will go off as a lone nomad.


Half Earth---Our Planet's Fight For Life by Edward O. Wilson, W.W. Norton and Co., N.Y., 2016


The problem is described in Part I. The Earth and its ocean is the focus of Part II, and the solution is made clear in Part III. E.O. Wilson's message is summarized in his Prologue. Human beings are talented, awesome in some ways, yet "yearning to be more master than steward of a declining planet."


He suggests we could "…survive and evolve forever if we didn't favor a short-term future and be "contemptuous toward lower forms of life." The problems are global: a human population too large, a shortage of free water is coming, the air and seas are polluted, and climate change will do in all but "microbes, jellyfish, and fungi."


The answer is also clear. We must learn to get along with half the Earth, not use it all up. We must commit "…half of the planet's surface to nature as quickly as possible. EO Wilson's argument appeared first in 2002  in the book The Future of Life, then expanded in the book "A Window of Eternity…" in 2014. Preserving half is a real goal. We could save a vast majority of Earth's species by doing so.



Inheritors of the Earth--How Nature is Thriving in an Age of Extinction

By Chris D. Thomas, Hatchette Public Affairs, N.Y., 2017.


Author Chris D. Thomas is a biology professor at the University of York, UK. As a "prolific writer" of "210 scientific journal articles and 29 book chapters," we welcome his conclusion: Though we humans have "irreversibly changed" our planet home Earth, not all the news is bad. New species on Earth are being formed at the highest level ever.


In his Prologue, Thomas treats us to a summary of Earth's "diversity of immigrant critters," and trees and shrubs, while we humans leave our "indelible signature." Earth's vegetation is now 1/3 human food. Though we are responsible for the acidification of the oceans, climate change, and the loss of many species, there are others that are thriving. Since we "live in a globalized world," we need to understand what we can do to encourage the "new hybrid plant species" and keep "as many species as possible alive on our global Ark." We do no good with a "loss-only view."


Thomas leaves us with the duty to "maintain robust ecosystems," using "maximum efficiency to "fulfill all human needs"  while "generating the least possible collateral damage." While accepting inevitable change, flexibility is required while we minimize the number of species that become extinct. We could hybridize new species, even create biological diversity. Such new species may have future importance.


We can "shed self-imposed restraints" and "introduce new species" to new geographic regions, diverse landscapes, even develop new insects that eat our weeds. We can "help direct the evolutionary process."In five million years, we could be credited with increasing Earth's biological diversity. We could be responsible for a 'sixth genesis."


The author doesn't forget to remind us that humans need to do the obvious: stabilize and then reduce the human population, minimize consumption, reduce our foot print obtaining food, recycle the water we use, and reduce greenhouse emissions. Those are the tall orders, recognized in this creatively hopeful but realistic book.

Earth Masters by Clive Hamilton. Yale University Press, New Haven, 2013


Note the publication date! The author explores the pros and cons of geoengineering to "deal with carbon emissions. He asks why we should "construct an immense industrial infrastructure" to correct the carbon problem when "we could just stop burning fossil fuels."


Professor Hamilton (Public Ethics at Charles Stuart University in Canberra) also looks at three ways of controlling solar radiation problems: "…marine cloud brightening, cirrus cloud modification, and …sulphate aerosal sprayings." The only answer to avoid too rapid warming on Earth is to reduce the level of pollution" until CO2 can be reduced by "natural or artificial means."


The author looks at current ideas, such as Bill Gates's "Silver Lining" to brighten marine clouds. He also looks at the politics of geoengineering in 2013. His review of how politics has tarnished science is a scary warning, when he suggests that geoengineering is a necessary global technofix. The "strident tone of environmentalists doesn't help. The author explores these problems in depth in his chapter "Prometheus Dreams."


Is engineering the climate inevitable? The author suggests and may believe it is, and that the largest nations will need to act. In 2011 China gave geoengineering priority. Some people suggest that "changing peoples lifestyle" is be a better option.


The author suggests the obvious--international coordination, regulation of climate engineering, and international governing of geoengineering. Is the social change required to solve our problems of overuse 'utopian?" Are we unwilling today (in 2020) to change the "economic, social and political structures" required for the needed "technofix?" Or is that social change "inconceivable?" Is the only answer to"buy time…to deal with an inevitable climate emergency"?


The author reminds us that the CO2 we put in the atmosphere will…alter the climate of the Earth for thousands of years."  Are we too addicted to "endless expansion?"

"Outgrowing the Earth" by Lester R. Brown, WW Norton and Co, New York, 2004.


When this book was published, 16 years ago!, climate change was "widely discussed," the author wrote, but "…we are slow to grasp its full meaning…there is no normal to return to."


Listening to the evening news makes it clear that we are still not grasping what we need to be doing. In 2004 Brazil was the "…only country with the potential to expand world cropland area measurably." and now? What is happening in Brazil? Have we already outgrown the Earth and failed to recognize that fact?


In 2004, "falling water tables and rising temperatures" were already slowing the growth of world food production. Lester Brown's list of "environmental fallout from overuse" goes on and on, on page 8.


Mortality and fertility of humans were "…essentially in balanced in some countries, and others were able to "reduce family size" quickly. Has it been enough? Have fisheries continued to collapse, as Brown saw.? Have the world's range lands been overgrazed in 2020?


Earth's productivity was increasing in 2004. What are we doing now to recycle plant nutrients, as we did when "the world was largely rural? Are we we using crop residues, animal manures, soil rebuilding, leguminous plants? Have we learned to avoid overgrazing and overplowing?


Have we confronted the fact that in 2004 "…waste tables are falling in scores of countries…"? Are we all being efficient by using drip irrigation? Are all our choices water-efficient? No more water wasting coal-fired power plants? Recycling urban water supplies?


Stabilizing water tables was urgent in 2004, and now as urgent as stabilizing global temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Sea levels will rise. It's probably too late to stop that. Wind energy is being used now, but is it enough? How can we reduce our use of electricity--everywhere?


In 1991 the U.S. Dept. Of Energy concluded that three states alone could provide the entire nation's electricity needs. As we deal with the pandemic of 2020 and plan to rebuild the future, there will be chances to rethink and reinvest more wisely the way we use Earth's gifts. The lessons are clear in books such as this one.

How To Give Up Plastic by William McCallum, USA, Penguin Books, 2019


It isn't easy. It requires minute by minute awareness of how much plastic runs our lives. Photos tell the tale. The oceans are full of it, over 90% gets into birds, and the finest, toughest plastic wraps are choking small ocean dwellers. One third of plastic in the ocean is microfibers released when washing clothes!


The answer is difficult for all of us, since we rely on so many handy items.made of plastic. The hard part is to recognize the plastic item and find a substitute. Ultimately, however, its the manufacturers and waste managers who hold the ultimate keys to saving the oceans


For starters, this small book gives us a very useful list of finding plastic in our houses, room by room.



Coming Apart: the State of White America 1960-2010 by Charles Murray, New York, Cox and Murry, 2012-13.


In his crystal clear prologue, author Charles Murray paints a detailed portrait of America before 1963, when President Kennedy was shot. The "civil religion" that held America together after World War II began to "unravel" with rumors of a class with an "independent ethnic heritage" in the country.


Today, in 2020, it is all too clear: "…an evolution of America…has taken place since November 21, 1963, leading to the formation of classes that are different in kind--a separation from anything that the nation has ever known." The differences "…diverge on core behavior and values."The whys …involve forces that cannot be changed."


Examples explored in the book include marriage, "residential segregation," job types, industriousness, crime, honesty, and religion. After 300 pages we have a long list to support Murray's theses, with suggestions to compare differences between parents at a school in a median income zip code and from an "elite private elementary school".


The author suggests that the solutions require the "new upper class" to focus on restoring "what makes America different,"… " to restore our "precious" and "exceptional…different way for people to live together…"


"A life well lived requires engagement with those around us."

Our Angry Earth by Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl (First Paperback Edition March 2019), Newtom Doherty Associates 1991.


There was a good reason that this 1991 book was republished in 2018. It still rings true with its 400 pages of suggestions. They're all too familiar: carbon dioxide, CFCs, cutting down forests, rice paddies, garbage, etc. The authors saw the likelihood of an increase in violent weather and loss of water in our rivers, the breakup of Antarctic ice, the threat to island nations, more violent weather, and a "rise in sea levels."


In all wars, it's the environment that always loses. Species extinctions have been happening faster than ever, primarily because we humans are destroying our environment. Humans could become extinct, the authors feared in 1991, because of our "human interventions--like acid rain, the global green house warming, war, and our destruction of the environment we depend on for life" No doubt the world population is exploding alarmingly,primarily because of our "unrestrained and wasteful use of energy and resources"


Note that this quote was written before 1991, when the rate of repair was far slower than the rate at which we do damage now. Note the current effort to rid the seas of plastic extrada.


The losses are environmental at five different levels: 1) the "despoiling of national treasure," like wild animals, plants, forests, and riversides, 2)benefits from undiscovered sources,3) pollution of benign environmental conditions, 4)greenhouse affecting warming, and 5) the extinctions of life on Earth.


In 1991 the authors blamed America for contributing "the most.problems." Though this may no longer be true, we are still in a good, if not the best, place to do something important about the problems."


The author lists coming problems like "sunburn, drinking water supplies, soil loss, even outer space pollution." The last half of the book is devoted to solutions--burning waste to provide energy or using waste heat from industry, using solar power and other renewable resources


We would never run out of wind, waves, and subterranean heat if we depended on natural timing and power storage. Bookkeeping could help, like "imposing a carbon tax on electricity." The biggest source of pollution is transportation, especially the car, crop rotation, and poor distribution of food. The last section of the book is dedicated to education, with hope that these kinds of suggestions will secure the future.

Talking to Animals by Jan Katz, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2017


This book could have been entitled"Listening to Animals' Body Language." The author shares his life experience, while dealing with both drugs and farm animals, to tell us"how you can "Understand Animals and They Can Understand You," (the subtitle).


Katz's introduction is riveting and central to his message.What would his new dog do now, on their evening walk through the wood? What should they both do, as three coyotes stood in their path?


When the dog began to step forward, Katz said "Stay" and let his instincts take over. He told himself to "think strength, feel strong."


The dog reacted by standing her ground with him. She growled, then whined,but she did not move. Though terrified, Katz realized the coyotes were soon gone, probably off to get an easier meal.


The rest of the book describes how Katz "cultivated with many different animals a similar dialog" by being aware of their needs and mental state. Their reactions, their demeanor and their obvious physical messages are the way they communicate.


This book is a good read, a rich reminder of how we should be more open to our pets' body languages.

TWO REVIEWS: "The Real Cost of Fracking" by Bamberger and Oswald and "Weird Life" by David Toomey
How America's Shale Gas Boom Is Threatening Our Families, Pets, and Food"The Real Cost of Fracking" by Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald, Boston, Beacon Press, 2014.
For an excellent summary of the reason for fracking, its usefulness, and its abuses, read and study this book's Introduction.

For the technical details on how gas drilling is done, its geology, the drilling and fracking processes, the chemistry, and the effect on aquifers and communities, read the Appendix on page 181ff.

The individual chapters focus on personal histories, the destruction of property, the pay-offs for silence about procedures, and the creation of unsafe drinking water. All are told in agonizing detail by several families who have experienced the loss of their property and sane living.

"Weird Life--The Search For Life That is Very, Very Different From Our Own," by David Toomey, W.W.Norton, New York, 2014.

Do read the Preface for a brief history of the discovery of life's diversity and complexity. The rest of the book explores weirdness in life that is "not descended" from ancestral life on Earth

After considering extremeophiles, the author discusses life's origins, its definition, possible locations, and means of becoming. I found his descriptions of Mars, Europa and Titan interesting, as are his definitions of life, its evidence, and its chemical complexity

"Fair Shot--Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn,"
 by Chris Hughes by Chris Hughes, Co-founder of Facebook.,St. Martin's Press,NY, 2018.


Chris Hughes gives us a critical, thoughtful view of his remarkable luck in rooming with Mark Zuckenberg at Harvard. Riding the huge fortune they generated with Facebook took hold of their, and all, our lives. He calls it luck, not a path accessible to most of us, since the U.S. has been skewed to favor the wealthy in the last few decades.

Therefore,, the 1% of people who hold most of the U.S. wealth should provide a guaranteed income in order to combat poverty and stabilize the middle class. The Earned Income Tax Credit is already in place and could easily be re-structured to relieve what has become a vastly unfair loss of workable economic s for so many.

The financial Times (July 2019) has argued against a Universal basic Income (UBI), assuming that it would undermine incentives to work and social cohesion and increase inequality and poverty. Studies have not confirmed this. Money for the UBI need not come out of health and education funds.

Many studies, including one by the Roosevelt Institute, have shown that a small additional amount can lift the spirit and heal the stress of those unable to pay their living expenses. Those who appose the UBI have been shown wrong in claiming that much of that money goes to drugs and alcohol. Alaska's universal sharing of oil resources is a case in point.

A rise in income tax for the wealthy to pay for a UBI is long overdue, since we all support the Facebooks of the world. Access to opportunity has been the key to broader studies that show the universal benefits of having enough to eat. Do read this book.

Why The Right Went Wrong--Conservation From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond, by E.J. Dunne Jr., Simon and Schuster, N.Y., 2016.

 This is a short summary of the author's take on conservation history in the United States--his review of the politics of the Reagan, Goldwater, Nixon, and Reagan years: I was surprised to read that, "Urged by Democrat Moynihan, Nixon pushed for the Family Assistance Plan…minimum guaranteed income for poor families." Though skilled at arguing for a "conservative position," he called "essential…all aspects of Social Security. At the same time he made cuts that "hit programs for low-income Americans." A master of contradictions, he "could live with a good deal of cognitive dissonance between his public statements and his practice."


Sound familiar.?


Bush was noted for raising the income rate from 28% to31%, whereas Reagan "established tax-cutting as a central…tenet of…Conservative dogma. Then came Clinton, calling Republicans the party of the rich and special interests. The author notes that "Republicans moved right" while Democrats took more of the center. "The white South…became solidly Republican." In 1990 50% of white southerners had voted for Democratic House candidates. In 1994 "50% of white Southerners had voted for Democratic House candidates ; in 1994, only 36 percents did." In 2010 that number was "down to 27%." In Congress rules were changed to require "a three-fifths majority to pass a tax increase." At the same time tax and welfare cuts were made.


President Clinton noted that "the new congress…was well to the right of the American people," and would propose cuts in education, health care, and the environment in order to pay for tax cuts and defenses increases. Voters preferred the opposite . The problem continued to be that politicians mistake "…their  own opinions for the views of the vast majority…" In the late nineties radio and television grew rapidly and widened the gap between the right and rest of the country.


We are still  paying an ever-growing price for that gap. Immigration and differences in marriage issues increased as talk radio got into the fray. Suburbanites, swing voters, were 41% Democratic in 2002 and 51% in 2006. Conservation took a "hard right turn" in the Bush years. Then George W. Bush gave the banks a 700 billion bank bailout in 2008, enraging "free-market purists" Was this a slippery slope to corporate socialism? Such Big-government spending was seen by the left as a barrier to health coverage, poverty and inequality. In the Obama years the Tea Party was still struggling with stagnant wages.


Americans are still divided, as money enters the divide. The wealthy fear the country is moving toward "socialist oppression." However, "Opposition to big government did not extend to …medicare and social Security. Meanwhile, abortion, religion, Hilary Clinton, and immigration joined the fray. Thinking was more "winner take all" than patriotism. Thinking on all topics grew mindlessly absolute hard edges.


This book suggests that we are better than that. As we face the dire challenge of the Covid virus, we should ease back and find well-thought out solutions for the future. We don't need to let our voices distort the debate. We can ask honest questions, like why are American conservatives the only ones in any of the wealthy democracies to oppose a universal guarantee for access to health insurance?

The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America by Jonathan Tasini, C,helsea Green Publishing, Vermont, 2015.

Bill McKibbon said it:"…Bernie…always means what he says, and he always stands for what he believes." In this small book J. Tasini gives us the full text of Bernie's Vermont talk announcing his run for President of the U.S."

Like the book, the speech is divided into topics critical to correcting our laws so that health care is a right--as is a college education--where child care , health care, and veteran benefits are affordable and where all Americans realize the full promise of "…equality that is our birthright."

To clarify each topic, Bernie's words and political activities are presented by Chapter topics, each ending with a short summary of "Bernie Facts that summarize his detailed political and legal action and his stands in Congress . The twenty topics include a wide spectrum of government concerns: Economy, Health Care, Education , Environment, Taxes, Wall Street, Workers, Family Values, Society, Politics, Infrastructure, Veterans, Agriculture, Immigration, Civil Rights, Foreign Policy, Foreign Trade, Media, Government Oversight, and Personal Liberty.

World on the Edge--How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse by Lester R. Brown, WW Norton and Co. N.Y. 2011.


Early studies have concluded that human demands on Earth's resources exceeded natural systems in 1980. In 2007 they exceeded Earth's "sustainable yields by 20 percent." In contrast, economic data in 2010 showed a "10-fold growth in world economy since 1950. The fourfold increase in world income was celebrated.


In 2011 that was good news, Lester Brown tells us. But how is it now? Earth's recent environmental declines suggest inevitable economic and social collapse following the shrinking of Earth's forests, soils, aquifers, and fisheries. High temperatures don't help.


Brown's Plan B focused on cutting global carbon emissions, stabilizing the human population at 8 billion by 2040, eradicating poverty, and restoring forests, soil, aquifers, and fisheries. Costs, he said, were 1/8 of the 2011 world military spending.


He also predicted that by 2020 up to 60 million people would migrate from Sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa and Europe. CO2 emissions should be cut to 400 ppm by 2020, so we can reduce it to the 350 ppm recommended. In 2020 a worldwide carbon tax of $200 per ton could be offset by reduction in income taxes. An additional $200 billion could restore Earth's national systems, stabilize population and eradicate poverty--paid for by "updating the concept of national security." How different are questions for the world now? It's already 2020.


Brown's ideas could still help, if we would change our focus. CO2 emissions per passenger mile on high speed trains are about 1/3 those of cars and 1/4 of planes. Must we be slaves to saving time? We have been using more solar and building more efficient buildings, but we need to do more, with simple requirements like rooftop solar, water heaters, and energy efficient building.


The oceans are filling with plastic, People are desperate for food and safety on too many places, for too many wrong reasons. In 2011 government was spending $500 billion per year to subsidize the use of fossil fuels. Oystein Bahle of Exxon Norway noted that "Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the economical truth."


So, what now? Brown's ideas are simple once fully realized. They could reverse the overuse  trends we have taken on since 2011. Think wind, solar and geothermal, a tax on carbon. Raise gasoline taxes and cut income taxes. We could still do it--build a new economy--carbon free.


The Bipartisan Policy Guide: A Comprehensive List of Biprtisan Solutions That Can Fix America by Luke Lorenz, 2018


The author is President of the Nonpartisan Policy Alliance and has worked as a policy analyst for a Washington DC think tank. He advises representatives and lobbies Congress on behalf of American workers.


A critical point he makes is that "It is imperative that we enact the Secure Elections Act as as soon as possible. It makes clear that every state retains authority over their election process. A note by Sarbanes was posted online in February that the SAFE bill passed the House. But  "For months, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have refused to allow a vote on any of these critical election security bills."A Google search found that nothing else has been done.


Lorenz notes that there is the Problem Solver Caucus within the House of Representatives, founded in January of 2017 to "seek common ground between the parties."The news this month indicates they have not been successful.


The author of this small book ends by listing "Actions You Can Take" He urges moderates in both parties to work to counter the active faction of extremists in both parties" He concludes: "…we must abandon our misguided allegiance to candidates and political parties. As Americans we pledge allegiance to our flag, not our leaders….they must always be questioned, criticized and held accountable. Our loyalty must be to our country and to the policies that will advance our economic, technological and financial security, not to any individual or party."


Two Percent Solutions for the Planet

by Courtney White, Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont, 2015


This collection of "Low-Cost, Low-Tech, Nature-Based Solutions "for "Combatting Hunger, Drought, and Climate Change". has some handy advice for "implementing a wide variety of regenerative land management practices."


Make compost by covering manure with wood chips, straw, and a little corn. It will keep your cows warm all winter. Then, in the spring, feed your pigs while they aerate it, turning the anaerobic into "fluffy aerobic soil.


"What can I do for the planet?"…Eat less feedlot meat." Feed lots are "crowded, stinky, and grassless." They're also cheap, and too abusive. "They make no ecological sense for the stress the cows ;suffer. They make cattle lose 15% of their weight, while being more "susceptible to disease." Eat grassfed meat.


Plant food crops in rows between "solar panels at a height of four meters." That's good for water efficiency and could reduce transpiration needs.


Waste vegetable oil from restaurants should be warmed or stored for a few weeks so food bits can settle, then given free to farmers for automotive or tractor fuel.


Since it takes so much water for sanitation disposal, human waste should be collected, heated, checked with PhyloChip, and used as fertilizer in agriculture. See CCC's Thermophile Project, Marin County, CA'.


For other manure disposal, bring on more dung beetles.


Check out grandin.com and the Wild Farm Alliance for strengthening the alliance between farmers, ranchers, and conservationists worrying about wildlife vulnerability-- "habitat destruction, or fragmentation…water pollution, pesticides, and other effects of industrial production.


We may be thoughtless or feel helpless, but we don't need to trash the planet.

Life Without Oil--Why We Must Shift to a New energy Future by Steve Hallett with John Wright, Prometheus Books, Amherst, 2011.


Note the publication date! 2011!! This book should have been entitled "The Beginning of Our End." It begins with a historical overview of humanity's use of Earth's resources and the failed example of Easter Island, in which the first resource to be exploited was the bird life, then the big trees. The authors make the point that "Creeping environmental degradation such as this is occurring around the world today."


Why didn't Easter Islanders see their problem? Why don't we? They were divided into territories that competed-- as we are divided into nations.


The impressive Mayan example of disaster is summarized next. Its "…colossal pyramids and stairways were gradually destroyed by 800 CD.E., as they fought over resources." Their real…enemy was their own exploitation of the environment."


The Fertile Crescent is a similar, more current example. Questions about the fall of the Roman Empire have arisen. There is good evidence that it depleted its landbase by its "…overuse of wood and clearing trees for agriculture." The Dark Ages came next.


The authors state that now there are signs that the world is full. Like the "demise of past societies," we have "over-exploited our sources of energy, [done] environmental damage, [and strained] agricultural productions.


Are we too blind to the evidence from previous civilizations? The author argues in 2011 for a shift away from our addiction to oil. Coal, oil and natural gasses are finite resources. The special constitutional rights of corporations, their limited liability and their shareholder mandate for "wealth increase…to deliver…high levels of productivity" mean they may not be able to respond to the long-term historical dangers this book outlines. The next century will see the "decline, demise, and disappearance of oil."


During this "petroleum interval… of glittering progress "we have tripled our population, destroyed forests , turned farmland into wasteland or urban sprawl, filled our oceans with plastic and vacuumed them for fish, emptied freshwater aquifers, shaved mountains, sent untold species into extinction (and culture too)….drained lakes and rivers, and stuffed the atmosphere with climate altering gases."


We need to reduce, reuse, repair and recycle. Now! Maybe that should have been the title of this book. And I'm only referencing up to page 115. The details fill the rest of the book--the false assumptions we keep making: 1)that human well-being requires continued economic growth and all that implies, 2) that the marketplace and its competition will provide the energy, resources and competition to keep it growing, and 3)that resources are unlimited and our "life-supporting processes" cannot be damaged. These are all "false assumptions."


The author concludes by saying that we can recover from "the coming depression" by replacing sustainability for growth and by sharing , conserving, and NOT competing

The Oath and The Office--A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents by Covey Brettschneider, W.W.Norton &Co.,New York, 2018.


Writer and Professor of Political Science at Brown University and Fordham Law School, C. Brettschneider begins by reminding us that the President of the United States takes an oath to "uphold the Constitution--even the parts with which he or she disagrees."


That means you need to know what it says. It also helps to understand how and why the founders argued over its language and why and how that language can be interpreted now.


The author first examines the President's power, not only to execute the law, but to hire and fire (now) a large number of people, nominate Supreme Court Justices, and to act in dire times as Commander in Chief of the United State Armed Forces.


In section II of this important work, Brettschneider discusses the Bill of Rights, its creation, and the amendments that shape free speech and religious freedom, the use of torture , and Equal Protection for all of us.


The book then talks in detail about how the presidency is checked by Congress, the judicial system, and the states federalism. The author's reference to history and our resulting constitutional powers are valuable lessons to be understood as we face the current challenges to our national integrity.

How To Give Up Plastic by William McCallum, USA, Penguin Books, 2019


It isn't easy. It requires minute by minute awareness of how much plastic runs our lives. Photos tell the tale. The oceans are full of it, over 90% gets into birds, and the finest, toughest plastic wraps are choking small ocean dwellers. One third of plastic in the ocean is microfibers released when washing clothes!


The answer is difficult for all of us, since we rely on so many handy items.made of plastic. The hard part is to recognize each plastic item and find a substitute. Ultimately, however, its the manufacturers and waste managers who hold the ultimate keys to saving the oceans


For starters, this small book gives us a very useful list of finding plastic in our houses, room by room.



Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010 by Charles Murray, New York, Cox and Murry, 2012-13.


In his crystal clear prologue, author Charles Murray paints a detailed portrait of America before 1963, when President Kennedy was shot. The "civil religion" that held America together began to unravel after World War II with rumors of class differences, an"independent ethnic heritage" in the country.


Today, in 2020, it is all too clear: "…an evolution of America…has taken place since November 21, 1963, leading to the formation of classes that are different in kind …and separation from anything that the nation has ever known." The differences "…diverge on core behavior and values." the whys "…involve forces that cannot be changed."


Examples explored in the book include marriage, "residential segregation," job types, industriousness, crime, perhaps honesty, and religion. After 300 pages the reader finds a long list to support Murray's theses. He suggests that we compare differences between parents at elementary schools in a median income zip code and in an "elite private elementary school".  


The author suggests that the solutions require the "new upper class" to focus on restoring "what makes America different."A life well lived requires engagement with those around us."


These three tales of former slaves describe in thoughtful detail their experiences and personal reactions as they struggled and eventually made efforts to escape from slavery in the late 1770's.


The tales were written in an older English, learned while the authors endured their mistreatment, their separation from families, and their fear of being caught in flight. The stories soon engage the reader as if we are personal friends eager to hear the next attempt to hide, to feel the terror of near misses, to rejoice in success large and small, and then appalled at the final threat from northern state laws favoring slave owners.


This book is an education in a shameful history not told often enough. It provides a valuable awakening to the historic depth we need in order to understand and to connect effectively to our present racial divide problems.

Our Angry Earth by Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl (First Paperback Edition March 2019), Newtom Doherty Associates 1991.


In all wars, it's the environment that always loses. Species extinctions have been happening faster than ever, primarily because we humans are destroying our environment. Humans could become extinct, the authors feared in 1991, because of our "human interventions--like acid rain, the global green house warming, war, and our destruction of the environment we depend on for life" No doubt the world population is exploding alarmingly,primarily because of our "unrestrained and wasteful use of energy and resources"


Note that this quote was written before 1991, when the rate of repair was far slower than the rate at which we do damage now. Note the current effort to rid the seas of plastic extrada.


The losses are environmental at five different levels: 1: the "despoiling of national treasure," like wild animals, plants forests, and riversides, 2)benefits from undiscovered sources 3}amenities from pollution of benign environmental conditions, 4)greenhouse effecting warming, and 5) the extinctions of life on Earth.


In 1991 the authors blamed America for contributing "the most.problems." Though this may no longer be true, we are still in a good, if not the best, place to "do something important about the problems."


There was a good reason that this 1991 book was republished in 2018. It still rings true with its 400 pages of suggestions. They're all too familiar: carbon dioxide, CFCs, cutting down forests, rice paddies, garbage, etc. The authors saw the likelihood of an increase in violent weather and loss of water in our rivers, the beakup of Antarctic ice, the threat to island nations, more violent weather, and a "rise in sea levels."


The author lists coming problems like "sunburn, drinking water supplies, soil loss, even outer space pollution. The last half for the book is devoted to solutions--like burning waste to provide energy or using "waste heat from industry, using solar power and other renewable resources


They suggest we would never run out of wind, waves and subterranean heat. Address that problem by depending on natural timing and power storage. Bookkeeping can help, like "imposing a carbon tax on electricity." The biggest source of pollution is transportation, especially the car, crop rotation and poor distribution of food. The last section of the book is dedicated to education and hopes to make their suggestions all happen in order to secure the future.

Excellent books about animals: H is For Hawk, the Mind of the the Raven, The Genius of Birds, Zoobiquity, Wesley theOwl, the Horses Epic, The Emotional Lives of Animals, Hormanship Through Life, Wild Things Wild Places


Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brian, New York, Free Press, 2008.

Indeed, this is a remarkable story, told with elegant precision so that we learn how owls communicate, what they care about, what they won't tolerate, how they love, eat, gripe, clean themselves, and how they express the obvious emotions we all share.


Enough said. It's a real eye-opener. We are truly not alone in sensitivity and talent. Life on Earth is more ingenious than we have realized.


Wild Things, Wild Places by Jane Alexander, New York, Alfred A. Knopt, 2016.


The three parts of this book are divided into chapters named after countries, states, "Desert." "Ocean," and "Birds," but the stories are focused more on the author's experiences than on details about wild things.


In pages 292 and 293, however, the author does a nice job of reminding us that "We are all "…connected in milliseconds and transport…while faced with the obvious need to…consciously manage the planet [and]…save the declining species of the world…it is a moral imperative as the most evolved creature on the planet to care for the home we share with all others. Everything we need or make comes from natural resources…'"



The Mind of the Raven Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
By  by Bernd Heinrich, New York, Harper Collins, 1997

Older detailed studies and everyday experience with captive ravens paint an entrancing personalized view of these intelligent birds. Heinrich's are charming readable stories of his careful exploring their nature and consciousness.


Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are,? by Frans De Waal, New York, W. W. Norton, 2016. This is another must-read by De Waal for gaining some perspective on who we are and how we should be respecting animal cognition. The author promises to tell stories of "the everyday use of animal intelligence." He also provides supporting results from "controlled experiments."


He challenges our early—and too often ongoing—anthropomorphism and assumptions of human superiority. He gives us samples from the theory of mind and interspecies cooperation and a history of animal cognition. Indeed, we are not alone. Don't miss this attack on clearly outdated "behaviorism."


THE GENIUS OF BIRDS by Jennifer Ackerman, New York, Penguin Books, 2016


With copious notes and a detailed Index, Ackerman takes us on a journey into the lives of birds, their history, and the details of their "genius" recently recognized. She illustrates the capacity of birds--their "…mental skill that is exceptional compared with others--with three examples of talents that "…far exceed our own."--the navigation of pigeons, the memory of mocking birds for others' songs, and the memory of scrub jays and nutcrackers for hiding places.


The author treats us to anecdotes that illustrate how difficult it is to define intelligence in birds, and she makes clear the fascinating differences between birds' brains and structure and our genes. Their evolution from dinosaurs now makes a coherent tale, as do the differences found among modern avian species. Also closely examined, is the birds' creation and use of tools and their inventive play.


A chapter is devoted to various social and developmental behaviors, some birds' reactions to attack and death, and their capacity for empathy.


Most intriguing to me was Ackerman's detailed illustration of how young birds learn to vocalize, the role of genetics, and what their ears are like. Most puzzling are the questions of how Bowerbirds sense of aesthetics are like ours (or not) and how racing pigeons and white-crowned sparrows manage to navigate precisely over Earth's entire globe.


To wrap up the enlightening portrait of birds, the author looks at the options various birds have in dealing with the Anthropocene. How will they fare as we redo the world to meet human requirements?



Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing by Barbara Matterson-Horowitz, MD and Kathryn Bowers, New York,

Alfred A. Knopf, 2012

The conclusion of the authors (and their contributing partners from both the veterinarian and medical professions) is that we are not alone, we humans, in how we suffer and how we should be treated. Each chapter provides many stories of how different health problems are shared between humans and different animals.


Chapter 1: Yes, "Jaguars get breast cancer…rhinos in zoos get leukemia." Dinosaur bones show signs of brain tumors, "…gout, arthritis, stress fractures…even cancer."

Chapter 2: We all can faint or go vagal under "…extreme emotion or fear."

Chapter 3: We share various cancers with all kinds of animals and birds.

Chapter 4: The authors suggest that the many varieties of animal sexuality can teach us quite a bit about ourselves--like how females could "…audition males before allowing them to mate."


Chapter 5 is a fascinating tale of why we all--humans and animals alike--are subject to addiction. Our bodies and brains "…have evolved doorways for…potent drugs." Why?

Because evolution has provided all of us with nerves and brain chemicals that interplay to create emotions. In short, survival tactics are rewarded with hits of natural feel-good narcotics.


However, on the negative side, "…life sustaining activities, like "finding safety…happiness, foraging, eating and socializing, causes…release of…mostly dopamine…" that can be addictive. Note that "accumulating wealth" is also on that list!


We also share happiness, fear, anger, and pain--though our "…self-protective strategy may differ… Most animals don't vocalize when they're hurt… It's dangerous and could attract predators…Pain management is now a priority in both human and veterinarian medicine."


Chapter 6: We larger animals all share heart attacks, including those caused by dread and sudden panic.

Chapter 7: We all--even fish--can get too fat to be healthy.

Chapter 8: Self-injury can give us relief from stress. Even fish enjoy grooming.


The ninth chapter is entitled Fear of Feeding. Eating Disorder in the Animal Kingdon. Birds, mammals and spiders indulge in food caching, as do we.

Chapter 10 is all about our common problem with STDs. Some are shared between species via circuitous routes. The extinction of wild koalas in Australia has been threatened by an epidemic of chlamydia.


Chapter 11: Adolescence is defined in species from "…condors to capuchin monkeys to college freshmen [as] taking risks and sometimes making mistakes."


The authors conclude by reviewing how we share infectious agents with various animals.

This book of engaging stories includes many pointed suggestions that define how and why human physicians and veterinarians must work together to enhance patient care and solve our common medical puzzles.




The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion by Wendy Williams, New York, Farar, Strauss and Giroux, 2015.

Williams takes us on a fascinating journey through the life of horse ancestors, into the mystery of Equus disappearing from North America, and back to the future of horses as we know them. The book begins with a review of ice age cave art, where "Horses are the stars."


In the chapter "Watching Wild Horses," we learn that they are not "herd" animals. They live in small bands of three to ten, often squabbling, "…battling over personal space…by jockeying for position…."


And then we learn what has proven to be true even now--horses often behave "…one way in public.." and act very differently when alone or when others are not looking. Our history together goes way back thousands of years. We have much in common: we both communicate emotions with our eyes, a feature that could explain our extraordinarily cooperative shared relationship.



Williams begins her book by listing several studies of various animals—Goodall's observation of tool use by chimpanzees, communication of humpback whales with "rivers" of sound, the puzzle solving of crows, the agility and anger of octopuses, the protective teamwork of elephants and their mourning. Our neighbor here in California, Koko the gorilla, uses "...1300 gestural words to communicate her thoughts, feelings, needs and desires. She understands "…more than 2000 words of spoken English."


Oddly, though we humans have had a long-term relationship with horses, it's been only recently that the natural history of horses has been studied. Most ungulates (sheep, cows, sheep, and bison) form large herds, but horses live in small bands—small bonded groups that "are quite fluid." Three to ten horses interact as a group that is often based on several mares and their young. They often "squabble" and even switch allegiance in mating with those in other bands.


The puzzle remains: Why have horses been so accommodating to our needs, even to our demands for hard work, even portage in ancient battles? Perhaps a clue lies in their ability (or need?) to accept human leadership. And perhaps a clue lies in the author's comment that "...some horses act one way in public and then behave quite differently when no one is looking."


Horses battle over position and personal space. They argue, make alliances, posing and threatening with head raised and hindquarters "coiled" and pounding the ground with straight legs. They snort and bare their teeth and arch their necks. All this goes on so the stallions can establish position in the band or mating privilege, while the mares pay little attention.


Lead stallions can be turned down by stubborn mares. Two bonded mares were observed to leave their band, rejecting the main stallion. They mated with the stallion of another band. Not all fouls were fathered by the lead stallion of their band.


Some horses are free-roaming, waiting patiently for a chance to mate. Sometimes the mares or the subordinate stallions will "initiate" a band's movement. "Alliances are made and broken," the author tells us, but the "…one given is that no wild horse will never choose to be alone." Perhaps that is the most important thing to remember when we design the care of these quiet, persistent and socially creative beings. I worry when I see a horse in a large enclosure, alone.


The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy—and Why They Matter  by Marc Bekoff, California, New World Library, 2007.

The bottom line for our times: "the burden of proof now falls more often to those who still argue that animals don't experience emotions." The author makes a good case, along with anatomic notes like the fact that whales have more Spindle cells for processing emotions than we great apes do. The spindle cells were once thought to be unique to us.


The book is filled with examples: Two baby mice were trapped in a deep sink. The stronger one finds an offered drink and helps the weaker mouse to the water and food so they can escape. A dog meets daily for six years with a 15-inch Koi fish, who gently nibbles his paws. Lions in Ethiopia rescue a whimpering 12-year-old girl from her kidnappers then stand guard over her until she is found by her parents.


Cognitive ethology is the new science of animals minds. I includes the study of "…emotions, beliefs…information process, consciousness and self-awareness. "Flexibility in behavior is one of the litmus tests for consciousness, for a mind at work." If I were younger I'd go for a degree.


The extensive Endnotes, Bibliography and Index are valuable additions to this mind-changing book.



Horsemanship Through Life: A Trainer's Guide to Better Living and Better Riding by Mark Pashid, New York, Sky Horse Publishing, 2012

In exquisite detail, the author takes us into his first experiences riding "dirt cheap" horses and noting that his employer, the "old man," rode "with" not "on" a horse. Listening to what a horse says is the key. It is more important than just "technique," because it opens up more options.


The author shares his learning experiences, his injuries and self-doubts, then his work as a trainer and clinician. In some length he describes his experience learning the Japanese martial art of aikido and its "key element" of going with situations and how it applies to one's relationship with horses.


The details of how horse owners are sensitized to with their horses are instructive. We are led through the author's personal experience and growth as he learns to "look…and listen… and feel."



"H is for Hawk" and "Octopus"



I have put off reviewing this very popular book "H is For Hawk," because I have mixed feelings about falconry, i.e. our relationship to animals. Author Helen Macdonald does a grand job of painting a detailed picture of her mental set  as she trains a goshawk soon after the loss of her father. The writing is poignant and vivid as it carries us along her journey of recovery during her grieving, while relating to the goshawk and its need to find and kill its prey.


My problem with falconry is that it requires making the wild bird totally dependent on the trainer for food. The relationship is pushed to a questionable extreme, its success counted when the hunger-driven hawk will fly free and still return to the trainer. Suddenly the relationship is dropped during molt, when the hawk is left in captivity with strangers.


In striking contrast is the relationship between Golden Eagles and the Kazakh people of the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia. Yes, female eaglets are taken from their nests, but they live with hunter families, who train them at age 13. They answer only to the hunter's voice and provide food for the humans in winter. Ten years later they are released to live out their lives in the wild. (Jonathan Carey "Flock Together" In Audubon Summer 2016)


Aside from the notion that it may be cruel to starve an animal into dependence, it seemed to me that author Macdonald exaggerates and over-dramatizes the hawk's wildness. What does wild really mean? Our cat Oscar was wild in some sense. He refused to come into the house (except to die), and he would disappear for days at a time. We never worried about him, for he always came back, a bit disheveled or wounded, but happy to see us and play with our dog Boots, who wouldn't think of going off anywhere for days.


I guess the answer is respect, respect for an animal's nature, whether it be "wild" or accustomed to human care and company. We also need to respect ourselves as human beings and use our unique talents in ways that make sense. We have a tendency to overshoot—both our despair at human failings and our talent for whipping the universe into our own glassy shape.


Our new awareness of how much we share with other beings can help us find the balance that will secure a rational, kind future for all beings on Earth. A nice example is our new relationship with the octopus. I heartily recommend Sy Montgomery's book "Soul of an Octopus." Her respect for these wonderful "aliens" is seen in her calling each chapter by the name of an individual octopus she has come to know.


Only since the year 2000 have aquariums interacted with their octopus guests. Recent evidence for their awareness has been accumulating. They have been seen in the wild using tools, building homes, and defending themselves against sea urchin spines. Some have given divers a tour of their sea habitat. In captivity they are masters of escape, and repeatedly very rude to humans who have secured their tanks.


If raised in captivity, octopuses (the word is Greek, hence not octopi, which is Latin) are eager to interact with human arms underwater and whatever their own arms can find. They have a bit of brain in each arm's suckers, all of which explore in their own way with tender curiosity. If captured as adults, however, octopuses can be very shy. It can take weeks of friendly coaxing and treating to win their confidence. They choose to be quite wild, and thought they live tragically short lives, they have very distinct personalities.


Review of The Bipartisan Policy Guide: A Comprehensive List of Bipartisan Solutions That Can Fix America by Luke Lorenz
This book is an excellent guide to the issues you might want to tackle. The Table of Contents is your guide.

The section on "Creating a Skilled Workforce" emphasizes expanding vocational training and apprenticeships. "Infrastructure Development" suggests various banking, loan, bonds and decentralization fixes. Other sections outline manufacturing ideas, small business support, better trade policies, government spending reforms. "Defending Democracy includes upgrading voting machines and defending against foreign intervention. "Foreign Policy" and "National Unity" are addressed and the book ends with "Actions You Can Take--" getting involved personally, with contacts, town hall meetings, representation events, and writing letters to representatives.

The Conclusion? "…think critically and independently." Democracy is built on scrutiny and criticism, not allegiance to a political party. "The vary notion of political allegiance is antithetical to this nation's emphasis on freedom and questioning authority."

World On the Edge: How To Prevent Environmental Collapse by Lester R. Brown, New York, W.W.Norton and Company, 2011

Do re-read this book. It’s 200 pages filled with data --all confirmed and expanded by recent events--erratic weather extremes, water loss, expanding deserts, rising temperatures, refugees and failed states.

The Earth Policy Institutes “Plan B” is simple--its conclusions all too obvious: “…we need to build an economy…powered [by] wind, solar and geothermal--one that has a diversified transparent system that reuses and recycles everything.

Changing our current economy requires “full-cost pricing.” Economists must calculate indirect costs and restructure taxes. Cutting income taxes while increasing gasoline taxes would provide “rapid economic growth.” Taxing carbon emissions is an obvious need-- being honest about costs of “…burning gasoline or coal…deforestation…over pumping aquifers and …overfishing.” We need to recognize the “sustainable yield limits of natural systems.”

In 2007 a Florida coal plant license was refused because “…the utility proposing it could not prove that building the plant would be cheaper than investing in conservation, efficiency, or renewable energy sources.”

The obvious quick fixes are “…eliminating fossil fuel subsidies…build[ing] together” instead of spending so much on the military, and “taxing each tree cut” and cutting only mature trees.

The extreme storms had already begun when this book was written. Surely Lester Brown’s Plan B makes a lot more sense than blindly assuming we must grow the economy, regardless.

TIPPING POINT FOR PLANET EARTH: How close are we to the edge? By Anthony D. Barnosky and Elizabeth A. Hadly, New York, St.Martins Press, 2015.

This is a reminder, not a review of a book that has already had a significant impact. Given recent political distractions, I’m afraid the urgency of this book’s message is getting lost. Time is running out. We need to get busy doing the most difficult work we have ever understood to be essential. Simply put: we need to act now in every way we can imagine to reduce our overuse of resources and the impact of our wastes on planet Earth.

The way forward has been described and developed over the last 50 years by many experts who assure us we can achieve an equitable steadystate. Technology can help, as can the billions its inventors have raked in. Leveling the playing field will help, but we all need to pitch in. Check out the authors’ #We Know Enough To Act.

The proof of the threatened TIPPING POINT for Earth is clearly stated in this book—the personal experience, the statistics, the current news, observations and general interactions and their complex nature seen already in “resource wars for remaining space, food, oil and water.”. We have another decade or two to get busy—all of us.

Books for solutions to an equitable future

America the Unusual by John Kingdon, New York, St. Martins/Worth, 1999. A readable summary of why we are so fiercely independent, why we hate government and fear regulation more than Europeans do.

A Primer On Decision Making: How Decisions Happen by James G. March, New York, The Free Press, 1994. A comprehensive analysis of why people, groups of people, and governing bodies have such a tough time making decisions.

Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth by Curt Stager, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2011. The author begins by noting that climate change may cancel the next ice age—which would give us all a getter chance of survival.

Enough Is Enough: Building A Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources by Rob Dietz, Dan O’Neill, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2013. A concise text summarizing what is needed to convert to and maintain a no-growth economy and why.

For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment and a Sustainable Future by Herman E. Daly and John B.Cobb Jr, Boston: Beacon Press, 1994. A scathing critique of classical economics and the moral implications of its faulty premises.

Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. Friedman makes an important correlation between big money and the loss of democracy and why America should provide good examples for the future.

Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2007. Scary, but a must read about cognitive dissonance and why we are all guilty of refusing to face facts.

Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble by Lester Brown, New York, W. W. Norton, 2003. The premier policy formulae for securing the future.

http://Schumacherinstitute.org.uk – an independent think tank for environmental, social, and economic issues. Books: Small Is Beautiful, Gaian Democracies.

Saving Capitalism For the Many Not the Few by Robert B. Reich, New York, Alred A. Knopf, 2015. A detailed account of how laws have been changed to benefit corporations and big money, for thirty years stagnating pay for 90% of workers and reinforcing the positive feedback between money and politics.

Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution by Brian Czech, http://steadystate.org. BC,Canada, New Society Publishers, 2013. A comprehensive analysis of the failure of classical economics and policies needed for a Full-World Economy.

The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Probabilities by Caleb Scharf, New York: Scientific American/Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2014. A vibrant, readable and enjoyable history of astronomy, with a comprehensive overview of the current finds that suggest answers to the “ultimate” question, “Are we alone in the universe?”

The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change by Al Gore. New York, Random House, 2013. Gore wastes no words describing policy failures and blind denial, clarifying the threats, the corrections needed, and the policy changes required.

The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Will Bring the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World, by Paul Gilding, New York, Bloombury Press, 2011. Gilding covers it all: the end of growth, complexity, the need for hope, disasters, refugees, sharing that isn’t communism, things to do.

The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy by Lester R. Brown, New York, W. W. Norton, 2015. The trend toward renewable energy is encouraging.

The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York, W. W. Norton, 2010. The story of how shame was needed to make lasting widespread changes in social behavior.

The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future by Laurence C. Smith, London, Dutton Penguin Group, 2010. Most everything will move north, including people.

http://steadystate.org The Daly News. See C.A.S.S.E.'s twelve steps to a no-growth economy--how to get over our obsession with growth and its cause, uncontrolled debt.

A list of books suggested by Auden Schendler in his book "Getting Green Done"--

"The Cap and Trade Success Story" Env.Defense Fund
The Moral consequences of Economic Growth by Ben. M. Friedman. NY,Vintage,2008
"LEED is broken...Let's Fix It" by Schendler and Udall, 2005
"Energy's Future Beyond Carbon" Scientific American
"Red Sky At Morning by J. G. Speth. Yale, 2004
"Hell and High Water: Global Warming" by Joe Romm
"The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth" by Ben Friedman.

Sustainability: New economical thinking that could save the future.
The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future.
is my reference for the next book in The Archives of Varok. Smith promises that he has taken current data and projected them without exaggeration. The Alien Effect is set in a realistic world of the 2060's, though the series' alternate solar system populated with savvy aliens is the same. Coming in 2014.
Our Way Out: First Principles for A Post-Apocalyptic WorldMarq de Villiers looks at strategies for the future, including population, steady state principles, and who owns nature with a we can do this attitude.
Supply Shock:Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution--Wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist Brian Czech takes us on a readable and essential tour of economics—its history, its foibles, and its coming salvation, what some have called a Full-Earth Economy, one that recognizes that limits to resources in a world with seven billion Homo sapiens.

For a concise summary and YA text of what's needed and why, I recommend Enough Is Enough: Building A Sustainable Economy In A World of Finite Resources by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill.

For evidence that economic growth now costs more than it is worth, even in providing jobs--Richard Heinberg's The End of Growth: Adapting To Our New Economic Reality.

David E. Stuart compares ancient cultural disaster in drought with our current tragedy of disparity between the rich and the poor in Anasazi America.

For a general overview of problems with classical economics, economics as a complex system, and the role of government, leaving the How of solving problems to citizens. Be sure to read The Gardens of Democracyby Eric Liu and Eric Hanauer, Seattle, WA: Sasquatch Books, 2011.

For tending the economic garden that has become overgrown, go to steadystate.org and see C.A.S.S.E.'s twelve steps to a no-growth economy--how to get over our obsession with growth and its cause, uncontrolled debt.

For the latter idea and a connection to complex systems, see Gaian Democracies by Roy Madron and John Jopling, Devon UK: Green Books Ltd., Schumacher Society Briefing #9, 2003.

Don't forget to stir into your reading Thomas L. Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008 as a reminder that nothing can grow forever.

The moral implications of all this and a scathing critique of classical economics is beautifully covered by Herman E. Daly and John B. Cobb Jr. inFor The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment and A Sustainable Future, Boston: Beacon Press, 1994.

Eric D. Beinhocker's The Origin of Wealth, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006 covers such a critique and tells good stories that define economics as complex, giving us a huge bibliography and lots of useful notes. However, he fails to talk about how an overused planet is impacted, hugely, given the reality of economic complexity, with its tendency to do unpredictable amplification. Remember 2008.

Brown, Lester R. Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth. New York: W.W.Norton, 2001. (If you are depressed by numbers, read the third section first for inspiring examples of good things happening.)

Brown, Lester R. Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. New York, W.W.Norton, 2003.

Brown, Lester R., Project Director. State of the World (Yearly). A Worldwatch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society. New York: W.W.Norton & Co., 1998.

Daly, Herman. Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996.

Gelbspan, Ross. Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists Have Fueled the Climate Crisis—and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster. New York: Basic Books, 2004.

Meyer, Aubrey. Contraction and Convergence: The Global Solution to Climate Change. Schumacher Briefing #5. Devon, UK: Green Books for the Schumacher Society, 2000.

Chaos and Complexity—Nonfiction For Non-scientists:
For an understanding of complexity, first read Per Bak's How Nature Works: The Science of Self-organized Criticality, New York, Springer-Verlag, 1996, then Thinking In Systems --A Primer by Donella Meadows,VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2008. The newest recommended primers I've found are Deep Simplicity, John Gribbin, New York: Random House, 2004 and Diversity and Complexity, Scott E. Page, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Bak, Per. How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1996. (Essential reading. Enjoyable real-life examples, requirements for a good theory of complexity, and a clarifying statement on the confusion of terms in the popular press.)

Bossomaier, Terry R. J. and David G. Green. Complex Systems. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000. (One of the most accessible technical book I’ve found. Requires some math background.)

Bossomaier, Terry R. J. and David G. Green. Patterns in the Sand: Computers, Complexity, and Everyday Life. Reading, MA: Helix Books, 1998.

* Briggs, John and F. David Peat. Seven Lessons of Chaos: Spiritual Wisdom from the Science of Change. New York: HarperCollins, 1999.

Buchanan, Mark. Nexus: The Groundbreaking Science of Networks. New York: W. W. Norton, 2002. (Especially relevant for the basic concepts governing the interdependent web of existence.)

Buchanan, Mark. Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001.

Camazine, Scott, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Nigel R. Franks, James Sneyd, Guy Theraulaz, Eric Bonabeau. Self-Organization in Biological Systems. Princeton University Press, 2001.

* Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

Chaisson, Eric J.Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. (Don’t miss this one. An overview of self-organization working with natural selection at all levels of nature, including the Big Bang.)

Coveney, Peter, and Roger Highfield. Frontiers of Complexity: The Search for Order in a Chaotic World. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1995.

Crutchfield, James P., J. Doyne Farmer, Norman H. Packard and Robert Shaw. "Chaos." Scientific American. December 1986.

Ditto, William L., and Louis M. Pecora. "Mastering Chaos." Scientific American. August 1993: 78-84.

Field, Michael, and Martin Golubitsky. Symmetry in Chaos: A Search for Pattern in Mathematics, Art and Nature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Fisher, Len. The Perfect Swarm: The Science of Complexity in Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books, 2009.

Gell-Mann, Murray. "What is Complexity?" Complexity, Vol.1 No.1 (1995):16-19.

Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin Books, 1987. This early book is useful, but beware the confusion between the words chaos and complexity.

Goldberger, Ary L. David R. Rigney and Bruce J. West. "Chaos and Fractals in Human Physiology." Scientific American, February 1990, pp. 43-50.

Gribbin, John. Deep Simplicity: Bringing Order to Chaos and Complexity. New York, Random House, 2004. (A must read: Finally the physicists are getting into the act and doing a great job of explaining with clarity the depth of information helpful in understanding complexity (networks and systems thinking) and why such understanding is essential, whatever your interests.

*Holland, John H. Emergence: From Chaos to Order. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1998. (Another favorite. Includes amazing demonstrations of emergence in simple games and networks.)

* Holland, John H. and Heather Mimnaugh. Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity. Reading, MA: Perseus Publishing, 1996.

Horgan, John. "Complexifying Freud." Scientific American, September 1995, p. 28.

Jensen, Roderick V. "Classical Chaos." American Scientist, Vol. 75, 3-4/87, pp. 168-181.

Kauffman, Stuart A. At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. (An exciting review of Kauffman’s testable, mechanistic theory of evolution derived from genomic modeling.)

Kauffman, Stuart A. The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. (How self-organization works with natural selection in biology.)

Kellert, Stephen H. In the Wake of Chaos: Unpredictable Order in Dynamical Systems. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Laughlin, Robert B. A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down. New York, Basic Books, 2005. (Laughlin makes a convincing case for emergence in everything. A fun read with lots of one-liners and analogies from human society that are worth digging into your memory of undergraduate physics to make sense of.)

Lloyd, Seth. "Complexity Simplified, Review by." Scientific American, May 1996, p. 104.

Morowitz, Harold J. The Emergence of Everything: How the World Became Complex. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Parker, Barry. Chaos in the Cosmos: The Stunning Complexity of the Universe. New York: Plenum Publishing Co., 1996.

* Peitgen, H.O., and P.H. Richter. /i>The Beauty of Fractals: Images of Complex Dynamical Systems. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1986.

Prigogine, Ilya. From Being to Becoming: Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences. San Francisco: Freeman, 1980.

Prigogine, Ilya. The End of Certainty: Time, Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1996.

Prigogine, Ilya and Isabelle Stengers. Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature. London: Heinemann, 1984. (The early classic on dissipative and adaptive systems that jump-started complexity studies.)

Ruelle, David. Chance and Chaos. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Solé, Ricard and Brian Goodwin. Signs of Life: How Complexity Pervades Biology. New York: Basic Books, 2000. (Another must read. A good update on modern biology, including a clear summary of two theoretical mechanisms for the origin of life.

Stewart, Ian Does God Play Dice? The New Mathematics of Chaos. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2002.

Skyttner, Lars. General Systems Theory: Problems, Perspectives, Practice, Second Edition. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., 2005.

Thuan, Trinh Xuan. Chaos and Harmony: Perspectives on Scientific Revolutions of the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. (One of my favorite authors. A beautifully written overview.)

Thuan, Trinh Xuan. The Secret Melody: And Man Created the Universe. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. (Thuan’s even-handed review of cosmological theories for the non-scientist. What theory looks most likely?)

Ward, Peter D. and Donald Brownlee. Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe. New York: Springer Verlag Copernicus, 2000. (Though size and probability, chemistry, and self-organization at all levels of complexity suggest that life arose independently throughout the universe, that life is most likely very small. Big animals may require rare special conditions to evolve. A good fun read.)

Williams, Garnett P. Chaos Theory Tamed. Washington D.C.: Joseph Henry Press, 1997. (Garnett emphasizes the importance of parameter values in generating chaos in nonlinear systems.)

Studies in Animal Consciousness, Including Humans:

Burns, Bob and Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie. Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving. Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 2013.

Carroll, Sean B. Endless Forms Most Beautiful: Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom. New York: W.W.Norton, 2005.

Crail, Ted. Apetalk and Whalespeak: The Quest for Interspecies Communication. Los Angeles, J.P.Tarcher, Inc., 1981.

Csànyi, Vilmos. Translated by Richard E. Quandt. If Dogs Could Talk: Exploring the Canine Mind. New York, North Point Press, 2005.

DeWaal, Frans. Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals. MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Friend, Tim. Animal Talk: Breaking the Codes of Animal Language. New York, Free Press, 2004.

Grandin, Temple and Catherine Johnson.Animals In Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. New York, Scribner,2005.

Grandin, Temple and Richard Panek.The Autistic Brain:Thinking Across The SpectrumNew York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,2013.

Hughes, Howard C. Sensory Exotica: A World Beyond Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999.

Jonas, Doris and David Jonas. Other Senses Other Worlds. New York: Stein and Day, 1976.

Linden, Eugene. The Octopus and the Orangutan: New Tales of Animal Intrigue, Intelligence, and Ingenuity. New York: Penguin Group, 2002.

Masson, Jeffrey M. and Susan McCarthy. When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals. New York, Dell Publishing, 1995.

Patterson, Francine and Eugene Linden. The Education of Koko. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981.

Peterson, Dale and Jane Goodall. Visions of Caliban. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.k, 1993.


--"Making Sense of Modern Cosmology." Scientific American, January, 2001.

Bernstein, Jeremy. Cranks, Quarks, and the Cosmos. New York: Basic Books, 1993.

Cowen, Ron. "A Comet’s Odd Orbit Hints at Hidden Planet." Science News, April 7, 2001, p. 213.

Cowen, Ron. "From Here to Eternity: Tracking the Future of the Cosmos," Science News, Vol. 151, April 5, 1997. Pp. 208-209.

Davies, Paul. The Cosmic Blueprint. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Durham, Frank, and Robert D. Purrington. Frame of the Universe: A History of Physical Cosmology. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.

Greene, Brian. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. New York: W.W.Norton, 1999.
(See also Laughlin, A Different Universe and Thuan, The Secret Melody, for three different takes on current cosmology.)

Gribbin, John. In The Beginning: The Birth of the Living Universe. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1993.

Gribbin, John. The Birth of Time: How Astronomers Measured the Age of the Universe. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.

Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. New York: Bantam Books, 1988.

Hawking, Stephen, and Roger Penrose. The Nature of Space and Time. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Krauss, Lawrence. Quintessence: The Mystery of Missing Mass in the Universe. New York: Basic Books, 2000.

Kaufmann III, William J. Black Holes and Warped Spacetime. San Francisco: W.H.Freeman and Company, 1979.

Peterson, I. "Tilted: Stable Earth, Chaotic Mars." Science News, Vol. 143, February 27, 1993, pp. 143f.

Rees, Martin. Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. New York: Basic Books, 2000.

Ronan, Colin A. /i>The Natural History of the Universe: From the Big Bang to the End of Time. New York: Macmillan, 1991.

Thorne, Kip S. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy. New York: W.W.Norton and Company, 1994.

Religion and Social Sciences Impacted by Complexity Studies

Armstrong, Karen. A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993.

Armstrong, Karen. The Battle For God. New York: Ballantine Books, 2000.

Barbour, Ian G. Religion and Science: The Gifford Lectures. San Francisco: Harper, 1997. (This is the revised and expanded edition of Religion in an Age of Science, 1990, a comprehensive summary of scientific findings and how they relate to religious thinking, especially process theology. Recommended as a must read.

Barbour, Ian G. When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners? San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 2000. (An academic approach. Barbour does not highlight the role of science as a source of religious inspiration or awe and does not discuss the importance of distinguishing the sources of ones thinking and writing. I.e. is a statement falsifiable, empirical information or not?)

Barrow, John D. Between Inner Space and Outer Space: Essays on Science, Art and Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Briggs, John and F. David Peat. Turbulent Mirror: An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness. New York: Harper and Row, 1989.

Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de. Christianity and Evolution. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., 1969.

Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de. Science and Christ. New York: Harper and Row, 1968.

Dowd, Michael. Thank God For Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World. San Francisco: Council Oak Books, 2007.

Ehrlich, Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich. Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future. Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1996.

Feynman, Richard Phillips. The Meaning of It All. Reading, MA: Perseus Books Group, 1999.

Gregersen, Niels Henrik. From Complexity to Life: On the Emergence of Life and Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. (A thoughtful, accessible look at complexity, especially self-organization and theism.)

Hartshorne, Charles and William L. Reese. Philosophers Speak of God. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1953.

Jastrow, Rovert. God and the Astronomers. New York, W. W. Norton & Co., 2000.

Jeans, Sir James. Physics and Philosophy. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942. (New York: Dover, 1981.)

Kauffman, Stuart A. Reinventing the Sacred. New York: Basic Books, 2008.

Kiel, L. Douglas and Euel Elliott. Chaos Theory in the Social Sciences: Foundations and Applications. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996. (An introduction and review of direct applications.)

Kung, Hans and David Tracy. Paradigm Change in Theology: A Symposium For the Future. New York: Crossroad Publishing Co., 1989.

Leslie, John. The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction. Routledge, 1996.

Mandelbrot, Benoit. The (Mis)Behavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward. New YorK: Basic Books, 2004.

Peacocke, Arthur. Paths From Science Towards God: The End of All Our Exploring. Oxford: One World, 2001. (An in-depth look at modern science and how it impacts religion.)

Polkinghorne, John. Quarks, Chaos and Christianity: Questions to Science and Religion. New York: Crossroad, 1994. (An Anglican priest and physicist, Polkinghorne integrates his theology with complexity theory, then makes a leap to Christian doctrine.)

Polkinghorne, John. Faith, Science and Understanding. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000. (More chaos theory and complexity in Christian theology.)

Raymo, Chet. Skeptics and True Believers: The Exhilarating Connection Between Science and Religion. New York: Walker and Company, 1998. (An entertaining, easy read, a good book for a lay discussion group on the general topic “Distinguishing Science and Religion.”)

Reese, William L. Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion. New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1980.

Ricard, Mattieu and Trinh Xuan Thuan. The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2001.

Russell, Robert John, Nancey Murphy and Arthur R. Peacocke Editors. Chaos and Complexity: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action, second edition. Berkeley, CA: The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences and Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory Publications, 1997. (Exploration of the Christian God acting in nature. Some confusion about the role of chaos in complex systems.)

Smith, Wilfred Cantwell. The Meaning and End of Religion. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1962.

Taylor, Barbara Brown. The Luminous Web: Essays on Science and Religion. Cambridge: Cowley Publications, 2000. (An Episcopal priest tells of her inspiration from chaos theory and complexity ideas and integrates them with her theology.)

Thompson, Mel. Philosophy of Religion. Chicago: NTC/Contemporary Publishing Company, 1997.

Van den Beukel, Anthony. The Physicists and God: The New Priests of Religion? N. Andover, MA: Genesis Publishing Co., 1995.

Waldrop, M. Mitchell. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992. (The story of how studies in complexity began at the Santa Fe Institute, or What happens when physicists and economists try to talk to each other)

Wheatley, Margaret J. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1999.
Note: Minimal but clear explanations of the new sciences are followed by practical advice on how to use the lessons learned in leadership and organizational management. Wheatley’s book suggests: complexity principles impacting how we organize. See the essay under "My Writings."

* Recommended Non-Fiction

--"In Search of the Elusive Megaplume." Discover. March, 1999, pp. 110-115.

Allègre, Claude. From Stone to Star: A View of Modern Geology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Arthur, Wallace. Creatures of Accident: The Rise of the Animal Kingdom. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006.

Brockman, John. /i>The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1949.

Carroll, Sean B. Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 2005

Casti, John L. "Confronting Science’s Logical Limits." Scientific American, October 1996, pp. 102-105.

Davies, Paul. The Mind of God. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.

Dawkins, Richard. Climbing Mount Improbable. New York, W.W.Norton & Co., 1996.

Dingus, Lowell and Timothy Rowe. The Mistaken Extinction: Dinosaur Evolution and the Origin of Birds. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1998.

Duve, Christian de. /i>Vital Dust: The Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth. Basic Books, 1995.

Dyson, Freeman J. Infinite In All Directions. New York: Harper and Row, 1988.

Dyson, Freeman J. The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Edelman, Gerald M. Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind. New York: Basic Books, 1992.

Eigen, Manfred. Steps Toward Life: A Perspective on Evolution. Oxford: Oxford Univesity Press, 1992.

Einstein, Albert. Relativity: The Special and General Theory. New York: Crown Publishers, 1961.

Gould, James L. and Carol Grant Gould. Life at the Edge. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1989.

Gould, Stephen Jay. Hen’s Teeth and Horse’s Toes, New York, W. W. Norton & Co., 1983.

Gould, Stephen Jay. "Noneverlapping Magisteria," Natural History, 3/97, p. 16f.

Gross, Paul R., and Norman Levitt. Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

Gross, Paul R., Norman Levitt and Martin W. Lew, editors. The Flight From Science and Reason. New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1997.

Harold, Franklin M. The Way of the Cell: Molecules, Organisms and the Order of Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Jastrow, Rovert. God and the Astronomers. New York, W. W. Norton & Co., 2000.

Jeans, Sir James. Physics and Philosophy. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942. (New York: Dover, 1981.)

Krauss, Lawrence M. Beyond Star Trek: Physics From Alien Invasions to the End of Time. New York: Basic Books, 1997.

Krauss, Lawrence. The Physics of Star Trek. New York: Basic Books, 1995.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973.

Lederman, Leon, with Dick Teresi. The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.

Leslie, John. The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction. Routledge, 1996

Nadeau, Robert and Menas Kafatos. The Non-local Universe: The new Physics and Matters of the Mind. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Newton, Roger G. The Truth of Science: Physical Theories and Reality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.

Paulos, John Allen. Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences. New York: Hill and Wang, 1988.

Piel, Gerard. The Age of Science: What Scientists Learned in the Twentieth Century. New York: Basic Books, 2001.

Pennock, Robert T. Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism. Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press, 1999.

Raloff, Janet. "The Human Numbers Crunch," Science News. June 22, 1999, pp. 396-397.

Rothman, Tony and George Sudarshan. Doubt and Certainty. Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1998.

Sagan, Carl. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. New York: Random House, 1997.

Sagan, Carl. The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence. New York: Random House, 1977.

Scott, Alwyn. Stairway to the Mind: The Controversial New Science of Consciousness. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1995.

Shermer, Michael. The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Steeb, Willi-Hans, Yorick Hardy and Roedi Stoop. The Nonlinear Workbook, Fourth Edition. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., 2008.

Stewart, Ian. Why Beauty is Truth: A History of Symmetry. New York: Basic Books, 2007.

Strogatz, Steven. Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order. New York: Hyperion Books, 2003.

Sullivan, Walter. We Are Not Alone: The Continuing Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. New York: Dutton, 1993.

Taylor, Gordon Rattray. The Great Evolution Mystery. New York: Harper and Row, 1983.

* Ward, Peter D. and Donald Brownlee. Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe. New York: Springer Verlag Copernicus, 2000.

Wilber, Ken, editor. Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists. Boston: Shambhala, 2001.

Wilson, Edward O. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Wilson, Edward O. The Social Conquest of Earth. New York, W.W.Norton, 2012

Ziman, John. Real Science: What it is, and What it means. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.