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Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century
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Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  760 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Worldchanging is poised to be the Whole Earth Catalog for this millennium. Written by leading new thinkers who believe that the means for building a better future lie all around us, Worldchanging is packed with the information, resources, reviews, and ideas that give readers the tools they need to make a difference. Brought together by Alex Steffen, co-founder of the popul ...more
Hardcover, 600 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2006)
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Tim Gannon
Feb 01, 2010 Tim Gannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
as the back of the book says "we need a generation of everyday heroes . . . this book belongs in the library of every person who aspires to be part of that generation." It contains 536 pages of potential solutions for dealing with our world's problems. From consuming responsibly, buying better food, alternative fuel sources, nanotechnology, open source software, fighting poverty and government corruption, to getting rid of landmines, building a green home, etc . . . It touches on a huge variety ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it
love the theme of the book, but needs more intellectual rigor; could use 1) more rigor in justifying a techno-optimistic (and consumerist) way out of unsustainability, and 2) some boring physicists, engineers, and lifecycle-accounting-types to better evaluate how much of an impact each innovation discussed in the book might have, likely costs, etc
Jun 22, 2010 Morgan rated it it was amazing
Excellent, highly comprehensive overview of the main issues that will be at the front of the 21st century. Highly recommended- each topic is supplemented with a "resources" section which allows you to explore whatever sparks your interest in greater depth.
Virginia Jacobs
Feb 13, 2013 Virginia Jacobs rated it it was ok
Shelves: i-own
This book was written like a website, which makes sense because it IS a website. However, that does not make for very enjoyable reading, at least for me. It is not the sort of book you read cover to cover, which is why it took me FOREVER to read. Also, given the topic, it seems like a silly thing to turn into a book because environmental information, and pretty much anything else that belongs in "A User's Guide for the 21st Century" is constantly changing.

That being said, I do have some notes (o
May 10, 2008 Willy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: hopeful people
This compendium of ideas presents many suggestions for changing and improving our planet. At over 600 pages there are many contributors to this volume. Divided into logical chapters to include Stuff, Shelter, Cities, Community, Business, Building, Politics, and Planet. I would have preferred that Food be a separate chapter since I am very interested in food sovereignty. As is the nature of this type of book, the various tones set by the authors alternate between preaching to the choir and just ...more
Jun 14, 2008 Manderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Absolutely imperative read for those keeping abreast of environmental and social causes. Great both as a reference guide to amazing organizations, websites, and books, or simply just to read and soak up its positive energy. Refreshingly optimistic and clearsighted perspectives throughout, and well-organized. It essentially just acts to compile and touch upon all aspects of sustainable and progressive activities, and it does a commendable job in being as inclusive as it could possibly be. For ...more
Dec 24, 2011 Megan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who cares about the planet - especially Danelle...
This is an amazing book! While it weighs about eight tons, it's full of useful information. It's topics range from how to identify a good-green product (beware - boca burgers are bad - Phillip-Morris!), where to buy them, how to better understand product design and it's impact on our planet, why Wal-Mart is so evil, why smart architecture and community planning is good, and the list goes on. The title says it all: it's anything you might want to know about how to live in the 21st century, and ...more
Oct 21, 2007 Brian rated it liked it
This book is a huge tome with a zillion little articles grouped into seven main categories (stuff, shelter, cities, community, business, politics, planet). Most of the focus is the environment, but there is also a bit on human rights and social issues and things that have broad implications for the future of humanity. The tone is mostly informative: a description of lots of important issues and various clever ways people are making progress (both through technology as well as just ...more
Jun 10, 2008 Ashley rated it liked it
Recommends it for: "the light green,"
Recommended to Ashley by: blogs
Shelves: diy-and-green
I wanted to love this book and it just kind of fell flat for me. A lot of the information wasn't new or is already dated. Also, I found that there was just not enough detail to make each entry really instructive.

The book is a nice over-view of trends in the recent green movement but left me wanting a lot more. For someone unfamiliar with "going green" this is a good book to start with or would make a good gift since it is a beautiful book. However, for detailed information I'd go elsewhere.
Sep 09, 2009 Nora rated it it was ok
From browsing through, the book seems more focused on tech/engineering/economics than I personally would have liked. I wanted more balance; what little there is on arts and activism is more what I'm interested in...Still, it's a decent concept; the book as network & resource...but I'm glad I got it as a publisher's overstock for $8 instead of full cover price. Better for people interested in the green technology and sustainable economics fields. In other words, I'll be essentialist about it ...more
Sep 12, 2007 Denise rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is feeling hopeless about the current state of the world.
Hopeful and invigorating. A progressive book on social and environmental change. Instead of dragging the reader through a state of desolate fear and self-hatred, this environmental book takes a different approach. Every article is full of inspirational ideas, movements, and changes real people are making in their local and global communities.
I may be slighlty biased; my good friend Jer contributed to this book. Nonetheless, I was impressed.

For more articles that did not make it into the book, c
Thomas Vree
May 15, 2012 Thomas Vree rated it really liked it
Great primer on a variety of topics. Short but good introduction to a host of topics - environmental issues, urban planning, alternative energies, transportation, agriculture, sustainable food, population pressures, conservation, refugees, disaster response, water, sustainable communities, socially responsible investment, biomimicry, micro-lending, disaster relief, etc., etc. - with some recommended books or websites to check out if you want to go more in depth. Big long list of books written ...more
Holy smokes. This was wicked awesome. An encyclopedia of stuff to educate oneself on environmental and sustainable issues, trends, technologies, etc. The sections are divided nicely so you can find what you're most interested in (Stuff, Shelter, Cities, Community, Business, Politics and Planet). The entries are succint but chock full of real information. Plus, it gives all kinds of references for further study on anything that particularly floats your boat. And you know what else? It's really ...more
Aug 03, 2008 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will definitely inspire your inner idealist. I bought the book thinking it would be like those "1 Million Simple Things You Can Do to Rock the World." Instead, this anthology recounts major projects and dreams going on to green our planet, to promote justice everywhere, and to build sustainable communities. So the scope is pretty large. A great resource for finding ordinary and extraordinary ways of helping our world.
Tom Gromak
Jun 19, 2009 Tom Gromak rated it it was amazing
Featuring practical ideas for sustainable use of our planet, each topic and personal story helps me feel a bit less helpless about our fate ... and prods me to do something about it.

I've used this with my Middle School students, and find that it's great to pick up and read a bit at a time to get your brain moving in a different direction and let yourself be inspired by the work of others.
There is no better collection of world-changing ideas for the radical optimist. Moving from the micro to the macro (stuff, shelter, cities, community, business, politics, planet), Worldchanging collects the smartest and best ideas for designing a sustainable "bright green" future for all, and for dealing with disruptive consequences of our present course.
I mostly agree with it's bright green urban politics. This book was already dated information the day it was printed. Follow the blog instead:
Also good is and
I also share what I like best from those blogs on my reader under the "eco" tag:
Sep 04, 2009 Kerry rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Although I'm just beginning to get through this book, I'm learning so much that I can apply directly to my lifestyle! I have somany convictions that I speak of to friends, but when they ask me why I don't always know how to explain... this book is giving me answers to use to help convice others to make important changed in their lives.
Oct 25, 2009 Louis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book on how to change our ways of living, eating, shopping to a more earth-friendly style.Each chapter also lists other books and websites for further learning. I have already put a few of these practices into work. A bargain as I was able to get it at my local Chapters store for only 9.99 in the cheapie section.Recommended to all who want to make our planet a better place to live.
Rohan Mehta
Dec 15, 2008 Rohan Mehta is currently reading it
advertised to be "a user's guide to the 21st century"
this book is packed full of neat ideas from Good Business start ups to Green ass kicking.
a very big book with lots of stuff i will probably be "currently reading" this for a while. recommend to everyone
Sep 17, 2007 Jane rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who cares about the future
Shelves: big-ideas
This is an amazing catalog of practical ideas that just might change the world. While occasionally disorganized (thus 4 stars instead of 5), this book is very inspiring and guaranteed to spur your own ideas.
Nov 12, 2012 Lara rated it really liked it
A really in-depth book about everything to do with sustainability in every form from tourism to non-violent riots. Very well organised with short profiles and links to current studies or projects in every chapter.
Jun 09, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
I know that this was only meant to give a very very topical treatment to a wide variety of topics, but I was still somewhat underwhelmed with the content of this book. I had hoped for more, honestly.
Jun 04, 2007 Helen rated it it was amazing
Totally biased reader of this one, but I think it is an important book and is gifted at making someone feel like if you care about urban planning you also care about nanotechnology or social entrepreneurship and architectural design for the poor. Really splendid.
Mar 08, 2010 R.Friend rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, design
Admittedly, the fact that it was designed by Sagmeister appealed to me more than the subject matter, but it's a most interesting read nonetheless. And I suspect the more I read, the more I'm going to like it.
Encylopedia of ideas and information to enlighten as well as help innovate (i.e. get our creative juices flowing) the changes we need to make to live greener and not kill our earth to death. Extremely interesting and very motivating.
Cindy Frewen Wuellner
Among my favorites, the updated version contains substantial updates, although not as astonishing and original since I was already acclimated. I use it as a reference and also assign readings for a grad course in social change.
Bret Richmond
May 27, 2007 Bret Richmond rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
Shelves: environmental
I loved this book (actually still have a little ways to go through it), because it gives a lot of great ideas about how to approach many of our social and environmental problems today. Many of the approaches are less about technology and more about community building, which I really appreciate.
Oct 16, 2007 Michele rated it liked it
Recommends it for: activists and upstarts
This is more an encyclopedia than something you read cover to cover (at least I couldn't) since the amount of information is enormous.
Jan 21, 2008 Bray rated it really liked it
I love to just open this book up to some random page - and find inspiration on making the world a better place.
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