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Permaculture: A Designers' Manual

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  1,561 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agric ...more
Hardcover, 574 pages
Published December 31st 1988 by Tagari Publications (first published 1988)
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Dec 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Everything you ever wanted to know about Permaculture but didn't have a week to hear the explanation. Check this out at the library. The damned thing costs somewhere around eighty bucks. It's very good, but not that good.

Readers who have become isolated from nature will feel as though they've been hit upside the head with this five pound hardcover. Mollison teaches us that working with nature means learning to see frugality as beautiful. Don't just water your plants, plant them so the water poo
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: permaculture
“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”
― Bill Mollison
Tom Winkler
May 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've read this whole thing now, it took one year. All I can say is that this is all damn good common sense and this book is the real foundation work articulating Permaculture design. It is a masterpiece.

We can conciously design our future reality, one that works and provides for us much better than we're currently heading for. We can look at it this way on any scale. Its about how we can learn to make gardens superseed most of 'primary industry' as modern idustrial agriculture meets its inevitab
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Worked through this book as part of a PDC course with Geoff Lawton. Permaculture is changing the world from the ground up(literally), and this book changed how I view the world. The final chapter on building an alternative nation is amazing.
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This has got to be the "bible" of permaculture books. It is quite thorough, filled with diagrams and examples. It is a book that is not only about learning to garden by imitating the strengths observed in nature, but it is also about a philosophy of life that I find attractive in many ways. Ultimately, I think we are all going to have to chose to live in either a permaculture-partnership world, or in a command-and-control/new feudalism world. I'm for permaculture-partnership. ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
just found this! woo hoo. this is one of the books that will make you say holy shit why am i working for the man when i could be living. you know. just living. and enjoying and watching the clouds come by and seeing how everything is completely connected and feeling that connection.
Greg Jalbert
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Authoritative and encyclopedic, well illustrated, this fascinating and useful book is what we need to move forward out of the wretched mess of unsustainable industrialization and the robotic behavior it causes in society. It details permanent sustainable agriculture techniques for a huge range of bioregional situations of flora, climate, landforms, precipitation, and other elements of nature.
Jack Stephens
Read this to experience a profound shift in perspective, from consumer to producer. Many new books have been written on the subject, but this one is still considered the foundation of the philosophy and practice of permaculture.
Woody Debris
Nov 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
what have i learned from this book? the only things worth knowing...
Sheldon Frith
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book contains many questionable concepts, outdated information, and information that is just plain wrong, but I still give it four stars just for the staggering, overwhelming number of ideas presented. Almost every sentence seems like it could be the topic of an entire book. It is EXCELLENT, unparralelled, for getting the creative juices flowing... but when it comes time to actually implement your ideas you should consult other sources.
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Even if you're not a gardener, if you work with systems at all (and if you're living, you do), this is THE book on how they work and how to be an effective part. And while you're applying the contents metaphorically, you'll be learning all about how the planet you live on operates. Welcome to Earth! ...more
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Honestly? Bill is just a rambler with a lot of big ideas. There's much better books on the topic out there that will actually inform the reader and make them feel smart, not stupid. It does have a lot of rad pictures though. ...more
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've only read a couple chapters so far, but this book is amazing. It could become my bible. ...more
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The manual on permaculture. Mollison's opus reads like a spiritual textbook for the secular humanist. Drawings alone are worth the hefty price tag. ...more
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
There is a lot of practical wisdom in this book for a variety of geographical and climatic locations. Some of Mollison's systems are pure practical genius. ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
I love Bill's message but his delivery didn't match my style (especially given the book's price). I will continue looking for permaculture books, specifically ones that are more straight to the point and actionable. ...more
Samson Blackwell
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
THE canon. Enough said.
Roy Hendriks
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very long read, took me some time to finish and comprehend but it's really interesting, full of knowledge. ...more
Joshua Smith
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The original Permaculture Manual. Great book for all permaculture designers to keep handy and reference.
May 25, 2020 marked it as we-were-on-a-break
Shelves: undisclosed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Tinea by: Permaculture designer's course

3 Ethics:
1) Care for the earth.
2) Care for people.
3) Fair share.

12 Principles: * Observe and interact. * Catch and store energy. * Obtain a yield. * Apply self-regulation and accept feedback. * Use and value renewable resources and services. * Produce no waste. * Design from patterns to details. * Integrate rather than segregate. * Use small and slow solutions. * Use and value diversity. * Use edges and value the marginal. * Creatively use and respond to change.
David Koblos
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Mollison's Big Book on everything related to Permaculture, which is essentially everything under the sun. After a thorough discussion of the principles, it look at every climatic zone, goes in depth into soil and water, buildings, plants, animals, and not least humans, including invisible, that is social and legal structures. A very thorough introduction to Permaculture, with many many facts that one will have to come back to as the design is set up. ...more
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Broad textbook on integrated long-term design of agricultural & living sites in concert with nature and natural cycles. Wonderful balance of high-level philosophies and design principles with practical details, from the water capture capacities of tree cover to the Spanish Mondragon cooperatives political model. Probably 4 stars if I didn't have my own site to consider the application of these ideas, and in that light I skipped the chapter on arid conditions, but devoured the rest in a day. ...more
Michael Marchal
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The bible of Permaculture or how to connect every living things and create a more sustainable society. Bill Mollison with David Holgrem are the first to coin the term Permaculture. Today millions of people follow the Permaculture principle. But I will say that is an hard book to read about the subject it will be better to start by reading Gaia's Garden who is also a really great book and much easier to grasp. ...more
Nick Woodall
Well....I really wanted to like this book. It does have some great ideas, thoughts, and practical advice on nature, land, and the environment. I could have done without the preaching, liberal environmentalism, and sophistry. He should have stuck to the facts of what he knows, NOT what he wants his readers to believe.
May 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: gardeners, farmers, ecologists, planners, and politicians
a.k.a. The Permaculture Bible

This is not light reading by any means - definitely more of a text book than a sit-down-and-read-it book. It's jam packed with information and ideas.

I thin most everyone should read about permaculture, but this isn't the book to introduce them to the idea.
Dec 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Extremely thorough and informative book. In fact, I couldn't even get through the whole thing because it was so incredibly detailed. I will have to check it out again sometime when I have more time to peruse through it. ...more
Jun 13, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is filled with great ideas and keen observations. The writing is encyclopedic in style and the editing is poor. Despite the good content, this book is only for dedicated farmers, gardeners, environmentalists, and thinkers.
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read this many years ago when living in Tasmania> The "Bible" of the permaculture revolution, as it was known then. Great book with some terrific ideas about the way we grow our food and design our natural living space. ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sorta-read
This is an epic. I've only been able to dip my toes in it and it's had a massive influence on me. Really, Mollison is one of the least generally known of the great systems design theorists. Just remember that it can be speculative and you'll be fine. ...more
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Founder and director of the Permaculture Institute, Bill was the most experienced Permaculture teacher and designe. He taught and developed projects from the Arctic through Sub-tropics and Equatorial regions of the planet. There are few countries left in the world where he has not personally planted the seeds of Permaculture. The Peoples of the Pacific, South East Asia, South Africa and seven Amaz ...more

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