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Summer reading list: books to inspire restarting

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We need more than Youtube teardowns and iFixit guides to inspire us!

It may seem like we are online all the time but we love a good book, a good long-read when we get the chance. So we’re sharing our summer reading list, partly in the hopes that you will share some books with us in the comments thread. Don’t be bashful!

The Case for Working with Your Hands: or Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good – Hoping it is what is says on the tin. Some philosophy and a sort of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 2.0”

Digital Rubbish – A Natural History of Electronics – Goldsmiths academic Jennifer Gabrys explores five spaces where our e-stuff “fall apart” bringing a fresh approach to the material aspects of our electronics. There is a free digital copy for those with e-readers.

Junkyard Planet – A well told and researched story of how China processes waste. Not just e-waste. China is misunderstood in many ways and author Adam Minter does an admirable job of revealing and explaining the workings of the Chinese reuse and waste economies. Before we judge, it is probably worth a read.

The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch – Science writer Lewis Dartnell takes us on a thought experiment, how could 10% of survive a catastrophe and rebuild? Which alternative paths would we take? Which skills would be essential for this “restart”? A really engaging read with examples from recent and past “survival” moments and explanations of simple and fundamental activities for our well-being.

Visible Mending: Every Day Repairs in the South West – A beautiful book, mapping and sharing the beauty of repair workshops and shops in England’s southwest. Lovingly compiled by a team of researchers, this book reminds us about the value of mending and forces us to ask ourselves how we can help it thrive and flourish again.

5 responses

  1. In science fiction (/prophecy) I recommend “Pay The Printer” by Philip K. Dick.

    1. PKD’s “Pay for the printer’ is available at

  2. janetgunter

    We’ve had some other suggestions via Twitter and Facebook.

    Gaia Foundation suggests “The Craftsman” by Richard Sennet

    Jeremy Norton suggests on FB “On Craftsmanship: towards a new Bauhaus” by Christopher Frayling

  3. I’ve been digging Astra Taylor’s The People’s Platform, Taking Back Power and Culture in The Digital Age… an excellent overview of how + why the networked world is far from any virtual promised land, with some perpsective + actions for recourse. Here’s the Guardian review:

  4. A short story by Thich Nhat Hanh: ‘The horse is technology’

    (part of this Dharma talk:

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