A list of inspirational books

This is a list of books that we find inspirational and useful.

Commons Theory    

Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action      by Elinor Ostrom

This book is aimed chiefly at policy-makers, bureaucrats, and resource users, rather than scholars. Ostrom is concerned with the effective management of common property resources, rather than explanatory theories. Throughout the book, she stresses the dangers of overly generalized theories of collective action, particularly when used “metaphorically” as the foundation for public policy. The three dominant models — the tragedy of the commons, the prisoners’s dilemma, and the logic of collective action — are all inadequate, she says, for they are based on the free-rider problem where individual, rational, resource users act against the best interest of the users collectively.


The Wealth of the Commons;  A World beyond Market & State   by David Bollier & Silke Helfrich, Editors. The Commons Strategy Group

Joel Dietz from Ouishare  calls The Wealth of the Commons “a revolutionary book full of constructive input for the growing sharing economy, including a diverse group of voices drawn from intellectuals and activists across the globe. Instead of attempting to provide formal definitions or grand plans, they ambitiously and artfully combine diverse viewpoints from people with similar sympathies, bringing together all sides together to plant new seeds for the growth of a democratic commons.”

You can read the book here: 


Civilizing the Economy. A New Economics of Provision     by Marvin T. Brown

“If you have been paying attention, you know that global economic trends all but ensure that we will leave to our grandchildren unstable communities of inequality and a despoiled planet, and yet we continue to push for policies that maintain these unjust and unsustainable trends. Civilizing the Economy addresses this economic disconnect by telling two stories.

The Anglo-American tradition of treating living beings—labor and land—as property which perpetuates the disjointed thinking we witness today and the second story which is the emergence of the civic sphere that provides an alternative to our current corporate economy: a citizen’s economy.


All that we share. A field guide to the Commons    by Jay Walljasper

A Field Guide to the Commons is a wake-up call that will inspire you to see the world in a new way. As soon as you realize that some things belong to everyone, you become a commoner, part of a movement that’s reshaping how we will solve the problems facing us. Edited by award-winning journalist Jay Walljasper, All That We Share is an indispensable introduction to fresh ideas that touch all of us. – See more at: http://onthecommons.org/all-that-we-share#sthash.n9nRessz.dpuf


De Wereld redden       by Michel Bauwens  & Jean Lievens

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By Bill McKibben


Systems Change

Leading Change in Healthcare  This is the title of a book on transforming organizations using complexity, positive psychology and relationship-centered care

Drawing on case studies from primary care, hospitals, long-term care, professional education, international NGOs, and other settings, the  authors show how organizational change begins with new patterns of communicating and relating at a personal level. They demonstrate  that courage and authenticity are essential ingredients for leading change, that control is impossible and not-knowing often a virtue, and that leadership is more about taking the risk of acting in a new way than it is about having the right answers.



Organisational Development

Re-inventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux . This book is Open Source and downloadable. Pay what you like.

"Reinventing Organizations"  is written as a handbook for people (founders of organizations, leaders, coaches, and advisors) who sense that something is broken in the way we run organizations today and who feel deeply that more must be possible… but wonder how to do it.

Health, Well-being, Flourishing & TriveAbility

Integral Health; The Path to Human Flourishing    by Elliot S. Dacher, M.D.

 INTEGRAL HEALTH The Path to Human Flourishing Everyone agrees that the mind/body connection is a critical component in healing and well-being. But how do you activate that connection? Practices like yoga, tai chi, reiki, and various types of meditation relate to and promote that connection, but, in themselves, don’t produce the qualitative shift needed for the higher level of extraordinary, integral health. Rather than looking outside ourselves for new remedies, techniques, and programs, Elliott S. Dacher, M.D., says we have to redirect our vision from outside to inside. ”To transform health and life we must shift our gaze inward, where we will find the ever-present source of exceptional health and healing, ” writes Dacher.  By striving for human flourishing, we become co-creators in an evolutionary leap in health and well-being.


Compassion & Kindness

Compassion. Bridging Practice and Science

This free eBook  by Tania Singer and Matthias Bolz describes existing secular compassion training programs and empirical research as well as the experiences of practitioners. The state-of-the-art layout of the eBook includes video clips and a selection of original sound collages by Nathalie Singer, and artistic images by Olafur Eliasson.

4 mins introduction by Tania Singer. Download the book here.

Compassion Training   Free online i-book (over 400 pages) which contains links to videos and podcasts/recordings.

Extremely well organised incl colour coded for easy navigation. You can zoom and out as well.



Intelligent Kindness . Reforming the Culture of Healthcare

Intelligent Kindness is a powerful new approach to healthcare reform. Ballatt and Campling argue that the NHS is a system that invites society to value and attend to its deepest common interests; it is a vital expression of community and one that can improve if society, patients and staff can reconnect to these deeper values. To do so will improve quality and patient experience, as well as morale, effectiveness, efficiency and value for money. Industrial and market approaches to reform, whatever their merits, urgently need to be balanced by an applied understanding of what motivates and assures compassionate practice. The authors examine this topic from a wide variety of perspectives, including psychoanalytic thinking, group relations, neuropsychology, social psychology and ethology. This book calls on policymakers, managers, educators and clinical staff to apply and nurture intelligent kindness in the organisation and delivery of care, and offers advice as to what this approach means in practice.


Health & Sustainability

Ecosystem Sustainability & Health    A practical approach

This volume focuses on solutions to complex ecological problems with the objective of developing a new science for sustainability . Improving the health  of people and animals, and improving the health , integrity or sustainability  of ecosystems are laudable and important objectives. Can we do both? No ecosystems are untouched by human activity, and it appears that the world’s ecosystems are reaching the limits of their ability to adapt to human impacts. The book draws on fields as diverse as epidemiology and participatory action research, philosophy and environmental sciences to examine this vital issue.

The Ecology of Health In this Schumacher Briefing, Robin Stott proposes solutions to the key problems which beset our present health system. He argues that if we are to develop a true public health service rather than a ‘disease service’, we must make radical changes to its decision-making processes. We need to acknowledge the health impact of many factors, including the distribution of wealth, the size of communities, lifestyle issues, local pollution, and the condition of the whole planet. The Briefing shows how enhanced interaction between people can contribute to health promotion, social justice and environmental improvements. It also sets out a blueprint for developing local organisations for the pursuit of health which could become units of local governance.


Health Activism

Health Activism, Foundations & Strategies

Health activism is a growing area of interest for many who work to improve health at both national and international levels because it offers a more direct approach to achieve lasting social and political change. This book  provides a clear foundation to the theory, evidence-base and strategies that can be harnessed to bring about change to improve the lives and health of others.


Common Health Resources

Health Assets in a Global Context. Theory, Methods, Action     by Anthony Morgan & Erio Ziglio and Maggie davies (Eds.)

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Asset Alliance Scotland       Health, Stress and Coping    by Aaron Antonovsky

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Salutogenesis. Salutogenic pathways to health promotion.

By Bengt Lindstrom, Monika Eriksson (Center on Salutogenesis, Sweden)


Creating Capabilities. The Human Development Approach       by Martha C. Nussbaum

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Health and Social Justice      by Jennifer Prah Ruger