Taking inspiration from National Read a Book Day on September 6th, we decided to put together some of our favourite recent reads for Read a New Book Month.
Our team selected a number of engaging texts spanning environment and sustainability, urban planning and architecture, health and wellbeing, design, strategic innovation, and material culture.
Environment and Sustainability
Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn and selected by Richie Jermyn.
This book explores animal agriculture; its impact on life and earth and the environmental community’s willingness to ignore and hide it. This book reconnects us to the stark realities of choice and sustainability.
Give it a go with an open mind. Scrutinise it and do your own research too. We simply cannot ignore the devastating environmental impacts of our diet.
Written by Richard Louv and selected by Ruth Doyle.
This book was read long before I had children of my own as I was seeking to understand how we can motivate people to take action to protect the environment. Richard Louv presents a range of evidence to back up his diagnosis of “nature deficit disorder” amongst our children, who are “the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world”. Helicopter parenting, less access to green space, high exposure to electronic devices and security concerns means today’s children have little contact with nature. The consequences range from attention disorders to compromised physical and emotional development. It also means that we don’t develop a connection to nature and an appreciation of its intrinsic value – both of which are necessary to develop a more altruistic and environmentally motivated population. It’s the reason why I always try to dodge playgrounds over running wild and free in nature with my own kids!
Written by Todd Miller and selected by Alex Calder.
This book takes you deep into the often-obscured borderlands of the United States, revealing a fraught militarised landscape riven with the tension of a jittery administration, an increasingly powerful border guard apparatus, and the desperation of climate-ravaged communities. Miller highlights the widening disparity between rich and poor in their ability to respond to climate challenges, and how border zone flash-points allow us a glimpse into the future of international and national conflict as we retreat into a more dangerous, insular, warming world, fuelled by the politics of fear. There’s a glimmer of hope in people Miller meets, who are making extraordinary efforts to build resilience into their small and embattled communities. A useful primer for anyone concerned with how climate change will impact life as we know it in ways we might not have expected.
Urban Planning and Architecture
Written by Hugh Barton, Marcus Grant and Richard Guise and selected by Dara Carroll.
Marrying the gap between urban planning and healthcare,
Shaping Neighbourhoods presents an in-depth guide to equipping planners, designers and developers with the skills to shape urban environments in order to reduce the burden of disease and support better health outcomes.
The text encompasses a variety of areas from multi-sectoral co-operation, integrated development, sustainable communities and the underlying principles for healthy neighbourhoods and towns.
Motti Ruimy and Paul Kearns and selected by Jordan Terence Brannigan.
Seamless Neighbourhood shares many perspectives when it comes to two things: boundaries and landscapes. Discussing their time in Tel Aviv, the space within the city, and their experience of some destinations far beyond it, the authors consider how defined boundaries often may not represent clean cut transitions of geographies, landscapes, and experience. In light of this, striking maps are used to illustrate their discussions on topics ranging from the future of Tel Aviv, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, politics, and to challenge some of the narratives surrounding these topics and more. All in all, it is a book that prompts you to consider the human dimension when it comes to landscapes, and how places can have influence throughout, and far beyond, any bounds we assign to them.
Health and Well-being
Aoife McElwain and selected by Angel Cullinane.
A remedy to the hyperactive modern-day generation, Aoife McElwain explores how to work less, achieve more and regain balance in an always-on world in her debut novel,
Slow at Work. A creative planner, food writer and event manager; McElwain experienced the impact of burnout when she put her back out and was forced to learn boundaries in order to recover. The book prescribes a host of solutions to always-on culture by interviewing and reviewing gurus and experts including a Buddhist Monk and Blindboy Boatclub from the Rubber Bandits.
Design and Strategic Innovation
Written by Idris Mootee and selected by Jane Gleeson
A step-by-step guide to incorporating design thinking skills into a new or existing business, combining creative examples with analytical exercises. The text explores eight common challenges encountered by businesses to form the basis of eight case studies. Each complex challenge is solved simply using activities and resources used in design thinking. The book is comprehensive and informative, allowing the reader to consider the end user in brand development and creation, which is beneficial for project planning and strategy.
Written by Roger L. Martin and selected by Eva Sunderland
Roger L. Martin provides rich insights into the business of design thinking by highlighting examples from leading organisations like Procter & Gamble, Cirque du Soleil and RIM who have perfected market analysis, by establishing and maintaining edge over their competitors. When regular companies rely on analytical thinking, these business leaders have exceeded the status quo by using design thinking to produce the most profitable results and to stand out in today’s economy.
Katie Treggiden and selected by Marian Weymes.
As someone who partakes in weaving as a form of creative expression, I very much look forward to escaping into the history of an age-old craft with the launch of Katie Treggiden’s latest book
Weaving – Contemporary Makers on the Loom. The book surveys and documents historical references right through to the revival of contemporary craft and design, influenced by migration, emancipation and disruptive new technologies.