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

Living Within Limits

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  191 ratings  ·  18 reviews
We fail to mandate economic sanity, writes Garrett Hardin, because our brains are addled by...compassion. With such startling assertions, Hardin has cut a swathe through the field of ecology for decades, winning a reputation as a fearless and original thinker. A prominent biologist,
ecological philosopher, and keen student of human population control, Hardin now offers the
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1993)
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 Living Within Limits, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Living Within Limits

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  191 ratings  ·  18 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Living Within Limits
Richard Reese
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Garrett Hardin (1915-2003) was famous for an essay, The Tragedy of the Commons, written in 1968. He thought that folks who kept their cattle on common lands had little concern for the condition of the pasture, while private pastures befitted from the careful stewardship of wise ranchers. In 1998, in response to critics, he published The Tragedy of the Commons — Extension, in which admitted that a better title for his essay would have been The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons.

I was unsure of his
Samuel Peck
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting and, at times, strange book. Hardin asks some hard questions about some hard truths and does not shy away from societal taboos.

Hardin is/was a real multidisciplinary thinker who has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about overpopulation, one of the main causes, in my opinion, of many of today's problems which include environmental damage. Could see why Charlie Munger had recommended this book, given his support for multidisciplinary thinking.

The book is packed w
Edd Simmons
This was a complete book. And I don’t want to miss out on talking about any important points that were written. I think I’m becoming a well-rounded reader in the realm of #nonfiction for what I’m grabbing. #garretthardin writes likes a mystic and I like it. I think he was well ahead of his time for this book to be published in 1993. Phrases he uses to explain population, ecology, and economics are Gigo trash, Space Ecology, Cowboy Economics, Space Ship Earth and many others. Considering the topi ...more
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Presents a number of important ecological concpets as they relate to human populations. Several are rather obvious, while others are less so, but all ought to be learned to fluency.
James Petzke
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Lots of good here, but it's outdated, gets a lot of things wrong, and isn't well focused. ...more
Apr 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is an engaging, iconoclastic, and well-written book. Even when I did not agree with Hardin's position, I still appreciated the vigor of his argument. To get a sense how this argument runs, here are excerpts from a summary of the book I am writing for one of my urban planning classes.


Hardin argues that four centuries of technological progress have blinded us to resource limits. ...

Hardin cites perpetual motion machines and compound interest as examples of this faith. Inventor after inv
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hardin vezette be az okologia koceptumjat a kozgazdasag melle. Tulpopulaciorol ir, hogy nincsen szabadulas a foldrol tehat a problemat vagy mi oldjuk meg vagy pedig, mivel a populaciot negativ feed-back rendszer szabalyozza (amit o Malthusi demostatnak nevez) felprobal hivni a problema fontossagara es felelossegre szolit fel. Megoldast nem ad, mint mindenki o is leirja hogy vagy mi emberiseg jovunk egy megoldassal, vagy pedig a fold a sajar megoldasaival fogja megoldani a tulpopulaciot, azaz ehs ...more
Mark Gowan
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those who understand that overpopulation is the number one environmental threat, Garrett Hardin is author that they will eventually land upon to clarify their main arguments. Hardin is famous (or infamous depending upon your viewpoint) for his philosophical arguments concerning ecology, economy and population: the three go together. Hardin sums up what we all know either consciously or unconsciously. His book, while thorough and easy to read, is solid, leaving no ground unbroken.
Living Withi
Evan Gatchell
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: environmentalism
Perpetual motion machines will never exist.

Hardin highlights (albeit in rambling style) issues with the assumptions held in the West. Perpetual and exponential growth of both populations and economies is simply impossible in a physical world with limited resources, yet to bring up these logistical discrepancies today is considered a modern heresy. Written almost 30 years ago, his concerns about our inability to explore these obvious problems have proven to be prescient.
We used Living within Limits as a book in our virtual reading group.
Heath Ochroch
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Resources increase arithmetically, populations increase geometrically. This is a Big problem.

It is considered morally wrong to limit the amount of children one may have. This may sound like the way it has always been, but there has not always been a welfare system to feed every child born. In the 1700s, a woman was free to have 10 kids, but only two might actually survive to produce children of their own.

Population can be thought of like a thermostat. When populations get too high, wars, famine
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best under-the-radar books I've read. Makes me question why both Mr Hardin and his work isn't better known worldwide.
It's a truly rational and thoughtprovoking account on ecology; the effect overpopulation and poor human rationale has on the economy, politics, the environment, etc.
So much wisdom, should really be compulsory reading in schools worldwide.
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book belongs to the general subject of ecology and under the subheading of population studies. It seems to address the general readership with an interest in ecology, demography and economics. The book appeaes well paced and thoroughly indexed. It has insightful graphs and an enlightening anthology of literature of special relevance to the matter at hand. Highly recommended.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very challenging book to read in terms of content, but this is what I think makes it a great book. I personally found the flow of the chapters at the beginning difficult to follow due to the style of writing but this got better throughout the book.
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great book about the interdependency of ecology and economics!
Sep 01, 2009 marked it as to-read
By the author of that epic paper "The Tragedy of the Commons".

Roberto Yoed
Apr 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Neo-Malthusianism gibberish: not a profound analysis but rather a lazy one.
rated it it was amazing
Jul 28, 2015
Rocco Shicone
rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2008
Bolin Zhou
rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Feb 19, 2019
TΞΞL❍CK Mith!lesh
rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2021
Sakari Timonen
rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2017
Chuks Nwabineli
rated it really liked it
May 06, 2020
rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Aug 22, 2016
Caress Tayo
rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2014
Matt Backes
Interesting perspective from an ecologist's point of view. Do we have too many kids? Do we consume too many materials? Good questions to reflect and make personal answers. ...more
rated it it was amazing
May 13, 2011
Isaac Wang
rated it it was amazing
Mar 21, 2011
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Models of My Life
  • Of Wolves and Men
  • The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America
  • How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
  • Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant
  • The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business
  • Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind The Secret Plan To Steal America's Democracy
  • The Energy Paradox: What to Do When Your Get-Up-and-Go Has Got Up and Gone
  • Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters
  • Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  • Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
  • Only the Paranoid Survive. Lessons from the CEO of INTEL Corporation
  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
  • Men Explain Things to Me
  • The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
  • The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Garrett James Hardin was a leading and controversial ecologist from Dallas, Texas, who was most well known for his 1968 paper, The Tragedy of the Commons. He is also known for Hardin's First Law of Ecology, which states "You cannot do only one thing", and used the familiar phrase "Nice guys finish last" to sum up the "selfish gene" concept of life and evolution. ...more

News & Interviews

When it comes to writing, Jocelyn Johnson is about that life.    The Virginia native—born, bred, and wed—has had aspirations of being a...
13 likes · 0 comments
“The mathematics of biological reproduction is logically identical with the mathematics of usury. Money earns interest, animals have babies. In” 0 likes
“It is now widely believed (and, I think, correctly believed) that the survival of a nation under modern competitive conditions depends on broadening the electorate’s competency in numerate matters. Numeracy” 0 likes
More quotes…