Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Introduction to Permaculture” as Want to Read:
Introduction to Permaculture
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Introduction to Permaculture

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,187 ratings  ·  57 reviews
1995 Reprint, New Edition, Tagari. 216-page Softcover.

Introduction to Permaculture is an updated and revised version of the first two permaculture books, Permaculture One (Mollison and Holmgren, 1978) and Permaculture Two (Mollison, 1979), and replaces them. New material by Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay has been inserted, along with excerpts from Permaculture: A Designer
Paperback, 216 pages
Published November 1st 1997 by Tagari Publications (first published 1991)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Introduction to Permaculture, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jim Sara Devitt, I would first introduce myself as one seeking the same answer. As I research these principles and find that permaculture incompasses more…moreSara Devitt, I would first introduce myself as one seeking the same answer. As I research these principles and find that permaculture incompasses more than the nutritional needs of people it requires the mindset that many are going to need to change ways of thinking away from past thought and methods which have forthemost part not been sustainable. For example monoculture gardening/farming and the need to kill all "pest", which means that learning to live with what once was called a pest. Should now be viewed has having equally as muchr right to be there as we do. Not every weed is a "weed" yet some have other function. Get the big picture one seed or plant at a time. But into play some new idea one way or another.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,187 ratings  ·  57 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Introduction to Permaculture
Jan 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I dipped into this classic several years ago, then returned it to the library. Despite the wonderful illustrations, there wasn't enough information on any one topic to grab me during those early days.

However, with several more years of permaculture experimentation under my belt, Introduction to Permaculture strikes me as a definite classic --- I can't quite figure out why it's out of print. You have to read the book for what it is, an idea book full of hundreds of great thoughts to send you rese
Stephie Jane Rexroth
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"After many years as a scientist with the CSIRO Wildlife Survey Section and with the Tasmanian Island Fisheries Department, I began to protest against the political and industrial systems I saw were killing us and the world around us. But I soon decided that it was no good persisting with opposition that in the end achieved nothing. I withdrew from society for two years; I did not want to oppose anything ever again and waste my time. I wanted to come back only with something very positive, somet ...more
Jan 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great book to begin wrapping one's thought process around Permaculture; I think this is something that should be required reading in the school system. It would make for an interesting change in the way things are done in the world. ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I found this easier to read/more practical than the other books Bill wrote. A must buy!
Nick Grammos
Nov 23, 2020 added it
Shelves: gardening
Halfway between gardening and agriculture is permaculture, the belief in the small, the manageable, the endlessly adaptable force of the human interacting with its other - nature.

Even if we immerse ourselves in nature, we are still not part of it. We have evolved to exist over it, around it and cleverly tell ourselves we can jump in and out of it as we please. We garden, hike, swim, sail and immerse ourselves in forests once in a while to get a refresher on our ancient DNA.

Still, working with
Nathanael Coyne
Dec 16, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting book with lots of ideas and information about permaculture, although very prescriptive with little theory or evidence (although I'm hoping to get that from David Holmgren's book Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability which is sitting next to me). But my main issue for not giving this book a higher rating is that Bill Mollison just isn't a good writer. I didn't feel inspired about permaculture like I did with Toby Hemenway's book Gaia's Garden (which I read at th ...more
Jan 05, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Introduction to Permaculture reminds me of an intro-level college class: it covers a little bit of everything in enough detail to give you the idea and provides you with some other resources for further study. It covers more than you’ll want to know. For example, guides for building energy efficient houses/buildings is more useful if you don’t already have a house/barn/greenhouse/etc. Or, the practices for tropical environments aren’t as interesting for a person living in a temperate climate. Th ...more
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A lot of the concepts are familiar to me from reading other permaculture books, but it was really rewarding to go straight to the source and read a permaculture book from its founder. This book is so well written, with numerous illustrations to demonstrate concepts. It follows a great logical flow and is peppered with the author's humour. While titled as just an introduction, this book is so information rich that familiarising with its contents is enough to leave you well prepared to imp
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary book by an extraordinary person.

In starting this book, I expected to find lots of instruction, technique, information, dull stuff. What I didn't expect is a strong voice for hope, change, and philosophy.

I expected to learn how-to, but I didn't expect the wisdom.

For example, after unsuccessfully protesting the degregation of the environment for two years, he vowed never to waste his time opposing anything ever again. Instead, he created a way of living that leaves the land heal
David Koblos
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Seeing that this Introduction book was actually a collection of pamphlets, which in turn was a transcript of a Permaculture course back in 1981, I thought I might skim through it before putting it away. Boy was I wrong! It is filled with interesting ideas, making one want to try them. Mollison is a genius, and now I feel like attending one of his courses in person.
Audrey Friday G.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great way to start learning about permaculture. It has been many years since I read this book cover-to-cover, but I use it as a reference frequently. After spending a lot of time and money on "professional" permaculture classes, I've discovered that really, everything you need to know is in this book with the assistance of Google searches and deep thinking. ...more
Peach Blossom
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must for anyone wanting to get the basics of Bill Mollisons permaculture practices without having to read the full 559-page 'Permaculture, a designers' manual'. It has everything you need, with good descriptions and principles that are easy to follow. I love this book and refer to it often during my studies. ...more
May 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very educational and inspirational book at the same time .. just opens your mind to totally different realms and ideas. Should be included in several curriculums including agriculture, civil engineering, law, economics, environmental studies and many others. Simply AMAZING!!!
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great resource for providing models of thought regarding efficient production of human-use and animal-use products, that is self-supporting, sustainable, and scientific in its approach.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Permaculture gets hydrology and building community right; the rest, well...
William Horvath
[PFDC] M3. Concept Design --> Infrastructure

Dwight Walker
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very good review of permaculture including many good diagrams of gardens using permaculture and a good list of plants in back.
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In my humble opinion, permaculture is the ultimate in intelligent sustainable living. In this introduction, Bill Mollison explains that permaculture is 98% observation and 2% action (hope I got those numbers right). If the whole planet lived by such a recipe, we would be on the road to solving the serious planetary problems which are moving us rapidly toward disaster.
I took a class in permaculture a few years back, in Boulder, CO (down the road from where I live). Ever since, I have longed to b
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diy-and-projects
Wow! Give me a million dollars and several acres of land and I'm following this book to the t! Ok, it does have advice on sustainability and permaculture for the less extravagant as well. The book covers efficiency in the most basic forms but in ways I hadn't thought of. Several times while reading it I would stop and think - yes! that's brilliant!

Topics include arranging your living environment, your garden, and your home to minimize waste and maximize resources.

In simple terms - it's living
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a highly technical, and awesome way to view our relationship to the land. It involves a view for the function of each building, each resting area, east growing area, each forestland or prairie that you might be responsible for and how it all fits together. It is very comprehensive and surely expanded my attitude toward the whole of what I'd be working with. I will wait to read this completely until I'm actually on my land. Although it can be applied toward a small house and backyard, the ...more
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great (and not overwhelming) introduction to the subject overall. I'm sure I'll be looking back through tables, appendices, and drawings many times.

A few minor complaints: may be a suited a little more for tropical/subtropical climates, could have been clearer in a few areas (patterns/forms, for example), and some of the drawings are not explained very well. Again, these issues are minor.

Feels like a good starting point for me. Cleared up a lot of general questions I had and has made me exci
Jena Buckwell
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I tried to read this about a year ago when I first introduced to Permaculture and felt completely overwhelmed and gave up on it. Fortunately, I came back to it after from hands-on experience and more time talking to others about Permaculture and really, really enjoyed (and understood) the entire book. Even though this is meant to be an introduction, I would recommend reading this after a bit of time getting your feet wet with Permaculture principals and maybe after reading Gaia's Garden, which I ...more
K Lugliani
Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
1/3 done (12/15/08)

how to interact with and organize all your land components (soil, wind, light, slope, vegetation, water) into multiple,
positive feedback, interactive spheres. PRAGMATICALLY. by the father of the concept, Bill Mollison. a clear, wise book. to be read by all serious about living sustainably, interested in elements of homesteading / survival.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: environment
This book offers a great introduction to sustainable yard design. While many of the ideas are more practical for rural settings or large yards, there are certainly concepts included that would improve a smaller piece of land. If nothing else, Mollison gets the reader to begin thinking about the relationships between humans and plants, and how they can be made more efficient and practical.
Denis Farley
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Found this in a library in Santa Maria, CA. So I had a limited amount of time to get through it. That added to having also checked out the 2nd edition of Gaia's Garden with the updated urban sections, and, another book on bamboo. Bill's knowledge & insights are worth having both this & his Designer's Manual, on a nearby shelf for ready reference.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
this book is much more than an introduction to permaculture. It explains how to build and transform homes into ecological sustainable machines! I loved it and applied many of its concepts to a cabin in the woods :P You do need property and space to pull this off... not practical unless you build and plan a home yourself or have freedom to adapt one. Great book
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This book gave a fantastic overview of several permaculture techniques, however on its own it doesn't give enough information to implement them without either further reading or lots of experimentation.

I'd recommend if you've a basic understanding of permaculture and want to see some other applications. This is a book that shows you how much you don't know.
Alex M
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
The authors rushed through each topic without going into very much detail, but I believe that it was intentionally written that way. They have written more extensive practical guides, and I hope that I can find copies that I am able to afford. Until then, this was a good overview of permaculture with a spattering of handy ideas.
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This has been the most educational and instructional book I've read since college, maybe ever. So enlightening with simple to understand concepts and ways to implement permaculture in a wide variety of situations. This book has inspired me to learn more about permaculture and I am so excited to use what I've already learned! ...more
Aug 19, 2008 added it
Shelves: i-cannot
i just wasn't able to plow through the textbook. and it REALLY is a teeeeeeeeeeexty text-book, strange graphs notwithstanding. since i was planting cover crops and feeding chickens anyway at the time, i allowed myself a gimme. ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Restoration Agriculture
  • Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability
  • Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture
  • Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening
  • Edible Forest Gardens, Volume 1: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture
  • The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country
  • Practical Permaculture: for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth
  • An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management
  • It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk
  • The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener
  • Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy
  • Journey to the Alcarria: Travels through the Spanish Countryside
  • Outbreak (Dr. Marissa Blumenthal, #1)
  • The Nature of Alexander
  • A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album
  • Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art
  • The Water-Method Man
  • La colmena
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

News & Interviews

  Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people love books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts through...
3 likes · 0 comments
“Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos.” 13 likes
More quotes…