Below is a, admittedly subjective, list of the best books to have crossed our desk this year. Criteria are that I had the occasion to examine the book, that it had a certain impact, and sufficient positive reviews. A glaring omission is Negri and Hardt’s Commonwealth, which I have been unable to examine. The book in the runner’s up section are certainly worth reading as well.
Overall, it has been quite a good year.
Also check out this really excellent selection of the 15 best shareable books of 2009, by Shareable Magazine.
THE TOP 10 LIST
* 1. David Bollier. Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own. New Press, 2009.
Excellent treatment of the emergence of the Commons movement
* 2. Thomas Greco. The End of Money and the Future of Civilization. Chelsea Green, 2009
The culmination of a life of research dedicated to the nature of money, bringing great clarity on the issue, with valuable suggestions on how we can achieve a fairer exchange system.
* 3. Genes, Bytes and Emissions: To Whom Does the World Belong? Ed. by Silke Helfrich. Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2009
Offers a thoughtful and provocative array of viewpoints on the commons
* 4. Cyberchiefs. Autonomy and Authority in Online Tribes. Mathieu O’Neil. Macmillan/Pluto Press, 2009.
The very first monography to specifically tackle the study authority and leadership in peer production communities
* 5. Wiki Government. How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful. Beth Noveck. Brookings Institution Press, 2009
How to generalize the practice of collaborative democracy?
* 6. The Firm as a Collaborative Community – Reconstructing Trust in the Knowledge Economy / Charles Hecksher & Paul S. Adler.
Essays which contrasts the efficiency of bureaucratic hierarchies with the efficiency of collaborative communities.
* 7. Transforming Power: From The Personal To The Political. by Judy Rebick. Penguin Canada, 2009
Given the failure of the Left, the labour movement, and the social movements to creatively resist neo-liberalism, it makes sense that when a new generation emerged to fight corporate globalization, they created horizontal structures and demonstrated an abhorrence of any kind of top-down leadership.
* 8. William Yenner, American Guru: A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing-former students of Andrew Cohen speak out, Epigraph Publishing, 2009.
An important expose of contemporary spiritual exploitation
* 9. Free Beer. Edited by Stian Rødven Eide. Lulu, 2009.
Free Beer is a collection of important texts written by speakers at FSCONS 2008 and based on their respective talks. FSCONS is that rare conference that unites both free software and free culture movements.
* The Sharing Solution. How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community. Janelle Orsi & Emily Doskow. Nolo, 2009.
an extremely practical handbook for people who want to organize or join sharing networks in their lives.
* A Reenchanted World: The Quest For A New Kinship With Nature, by James William Gibson, featured by In These Times.
Theme: After the eclipse of modernity, the sense of kinship with an endangered natural world is returning.
* Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy. by Peter G Brown. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009.
uses the core Quaker principle of “right relationship”–respecting the integrity, resilience, and beauty of human and natural communities–as the foundation for a new economic model.
* God’s Economy: Redefining the Health & Wealth Gospel. By Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Zondervan, 2009
how to undo an economy that is based on the seven deadly sins
* Julian Fox. Hacking the Way to Heaven: Education and Evangelisation in a Digital culture. Lulu, 2009
how to make education ‘hacker-friendly’?