Books

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Our Year of Seasonal Eating by Barbara Kingsolver
OK, we’re not going to be able to live off our own farm, but we can still enjoy the sensory and rewarding experience of growing, preserving and cooking our own food, which oozes out of this book. At the very least, we can draw experience that will encourage us to try our hands at a little roof or even balcony garden.

Beyond Terror by Chris Abbott, Paul Rogers & John Sloboda
Three members of the Oxford Research Group explain why we’d better change our lifestyle before climate change gets out of control.

Big Babies by Michael Bywater
Spoiled by gadgets, babysat by government institutions and infantilised by technology, Bywater takes a sharp and honest look at the boomers who are keen to keep us all from growing up.

The Big Con: the True Story of How Washington Got Hoodwinked and Hijacked by Crackpot Economics by Jonathan Chait. Find out how “supply-side economics” got the US – and maybe the rest of the world soon – into the mess it’s in today.

The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability by James Gustave Speth
Climate change can’t be tackled by those responsible for perpetrating it, nor by environmentalists co-opted into working with the same within a framework that does too little too late.  If we don’t act quickly, this planet will become too hot to handle by the second half of this century.  Grab this book and take action.

Clone Town Britain by the New Economic Foundation
A report published by the UK’s New Economic Foundation in 2005 which is extremely relevant to what’s happening in Hong Kong today, with supermarkets and shopping malls wiping out community enterprises. The report can be downloaded from here.

The Edifice Complex by Deyan Sudjic. Find out how egotistical clients and architects have traded functionality for sensationalism that has blighted cities around the world.

The Final Call: in Search of the True Cost of Our Holidays by Leo Hickman
Only 10% of the world’s people are rich enough to fly around on holiday, and they’re wreaking havoc wherever they go. Find out more from the reviews.

Prediction by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
Game theory works better than crystal balls, and predicts accurately that global climate change negotiations will fail.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Shroeder
This 976-page biography reveals a modest man with a conscience and principles for life and business that we would all do well to follow.

The Spirit Level: Why Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett
Economic growth in the rich countries no longer comes with the social benefits it once brought; worse still, this pursuit of economic growth now threatens the planet. The book, by two epidemiologists, shows exactly why governments should focus on ensuring more equal societies rather than increases in GDP.

Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business by Robert Reich
The UC Berkeley professor of public policy and secretary of labour under Bill Clinton reviews the causes that have led to the worldwide economic downturn and proposes measures to fix the system.

Sustainable Building in Hong Kong by Angela Tam
I would mention it wouldn’t I? But really, if you want to know how our buildings are affecting your health and well-being, go get a copy.

Tips, Tricks, Traps by Pav Sheen
This British estate agent decided to reveal the unethical side of the business so buyers and sellers won’t fall into their traps so easily. Here’s an article that explains the reason behind the book and summarises some of its advice. Hong Kong agents have their own tricks but no doubt some of the techniques are common.

Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt
Find out how roads become more dangerous when ‘traffic management’ removes responsibility for safety from motorists.