Bob Russell's Reading List

As one of his final gifts to the community, Bob Russell offers a recommended reading list for understanding the concept of community resilience. Traverse City and the surrounding areas owe much to his civic engagement and leadership over more than 30 years, including one of the cleanest sewage disposal plants on the Great Lakes, preserving of the Barns and surrounding property for the public's use and management, and prevention of a shopping mall where today's Sara Hardy Farmer's Market enjoys such huge success. Much of Bob Russel's recent work has focused on creating the discussions needed to push resilience planning to the forefront here in the Traverse City region. Bob's battle with cancer has taken him away from public leadership. It is a big loss to our community.

Resilience, as applied to human communities, comes to us from an understanding of the fundamentals of the resilience we see in natural sytems all around us. Resilience thinking starts with a deep recognition that man-made communities are intimately connected to the eco-system, to Nature. Nature provides for us in the form of eco-system services: clean air, water, healthy soil and other resources of many kinds. Healthy eco-system services are the source of all wealth and sustainability for human communities. Yet, resilience is really about adaptability, not sustainability. We must plant the seeds of resilient strength in our communities, ready to adapt to a future of change that we cannot forecast but which promises to be far different from the past. Pick out a book and get started.Thumbnail


 Watch one of Bob's speeches here!



The Overstory: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 3rd, 2018

2018 Bob Russell Read

The Wealth of Nature: Economics as If Survival Mattered Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780865716735
Availability: Backordered
Published: New Society Publishers - New Society Publishe - June 1st, 2011

This is perhaps the most important and easily read book about economics one can choose. Modern day economic theory misses the eternal connection that bonds real wealth to the economic system services provided to us by our planet. Money is not wealth.

Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781605093109
Availability: Special Order
Published: Berrett-Koehler Publishers - June 4th, 2012

How do we make the future that will hapen be the future that needs to happen, if human societies are going to survive? What must we grasp first, in order to change our  behavor and consume less?

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594204210
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - April 23rd, 2013

From this book on the Authors series on food, our own health, and the health of our food system depends on this #1 rule: cook your own food!

The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780865717077
Availability: Out of Print
Published: New Society Publishers - New Society Publishe - June 12th, 2012

The essential reader for community resilience. Resilience is not about our ability to bounce back, it is about our ability to adapt to unpredictable change.

Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity (Community Resilience Guides) Cover Image
By Michael Shuman, Peter Buffett (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9781603583435
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Chelsea Green Publishing Company - February 20th, 2012

A must read and local favorite. The single biggest export that leaves every local community is the sum of its citizens' investment dollars. They are exported into a worldwide financial system which we all know is frail. Shuman tells us how we must learn to invest in Main St. and not Wall St.

For The Common Good: Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780807047057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press - April 1st, 1994

Our society has swung too far towards individualism, dismantling our sense of community membership. Only recognition of the common good can save us.

The Energy Reader: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth Cover Image
By Tom Butler (Editor), George Wuerthner (Editor), Daniel Lerch (Editor)
ISBN: 9780970950093
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Watershed Media - October 16th, 2012

Energy is the common factor in all we accomplish in life.  Lokked at this simply, there are real, earth-bound limits to the supply of easy energy in the future. Our future will be characterized by constrained energy supply with unavoidable limits to growth.

Thinking, Fast and Slow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374533557
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 2nd, 2013

Also a book about governance: how do we make governance decisions; how can we make it better; how do we engage effectivel

The Surprising Design of Market Economies Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780292717770
Availability: Out of Print
Published: University of Texas Press - September 1st, 2012

This is a very readable book, explaining that there really is no economic marketplace that runs itself rationally. Economic theories that talk of market forces and the "invisible hand of the market" are artificial and missing the truth.

What's the Economy For, Anyway?: Why It's Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781608195152
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Bloomsbury Press - October 2nd, 2012

We need to measure happiness as a metric for judging our societies success and dump GDP measurement We are not just consumers, we are complex human beings and citizens.

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis Cover Image
By Al Gore
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ISBN: 9781594867347
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Rodale Books - November 3rd, 2009

Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393344158
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 1st, 2012

Another powerful book from one of the most cogent thinkers of our time. The message might be scary: the geopolitics of our food supply makes it even more frail.

Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems (Community Resilience Guides) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781603584234
Availability: Backordered
Published: Chelsea Green Publishing Company - January 31st, 2013


The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future Cover Image
ISBN: 9780452297470
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Plume - October 25th, 2011

This is a fascinating read that simply extrapolates developements already taking place across the far northern hemisphere into the year 2050. What will we look like?