'Dead Things' by Becky Jollensten, winner of Viridian Contest #4 (Viridian Banner)




The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
A wondrous classic by a famous design curmudgeon that will forever change your understanding of faucets and doorknobs.
Things That Make Us Smart : Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine by Donald A. Norman
The redoubtable and always opinionated Norman tackles the morass of digital design.
Usability Engineering by Jakob Nielsen
After reading this book by Donald Norman's business partner and web-design guru, you will understand why software is so screwed-up, even if you can't figure out how to make it any better.
The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
Enlightening business-school work describing how technologies shape industries so intimately that even the best-run corporations tend to be blindsided by any genuinely novel tech development. Unlike most biz guru book, this one has documented case studies.
Rebuilding the Reichstag by Norman Foster and David Jenkins
Ferociously wonderful book by Lord Foster of Thames Bank describing how a hideous building that was a byword for genocidal cruelty has become the most ecologically advanced capitol building in the modern world, and one of the most "just plain beautiful" structures in Europe.

BOBOs in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There by David Brooks

This work of "comic sociology" by a right-wing pundit tells you maybe half... okay, maybe two-thirds of what you need to know about the new American elite class of "bourgeois bohemians." Worth it just for the close study of their consumption patterns: cellphones, coffee and sport utility vehicles.
Cute, Quaint, Hungry and Romantic: the Aesthetics of Consumerism by Daniel Harris

Loose, riffing, Oscar-Wildeian essays on what makes consumer goods jump of the wire racks, dwelling on hyped-up pseudo-qualities like "deliciousness" and the "all-natural." The spectacular chapter on "The Futuristic" may be the best thing ever written on science fiction aesthetics.
Industrial Design: Reflections of a Century edited by Jocelyn de Noblet.

A standout among end-of-the-century books, this design compendium by a wide variety of mostly European experts covers not 100 but the last 150 years. Big enough to break the coffee table, but copiously illustrated and full of fresh and interesting takes on the old stories.
Martin Johnson Heade by Theodore E., Jr. Stebbins, with contributions by Janet L. Comey, Karen E. Quinn and Jim Wright

Awe-inspiring coffee-table book about a Viridian darling, the 19th century American artist, Martin Johnson Heade. Heade was a nature painter (specializing in storms and swamps) whose self-educated palette always makes his meticulous landscapes seem remarkably uncanny.
The Art of Albert Paley: Iron, Bronze, Steel by Edward Lucie-Smith, Albert Paley

Stunningly beautiful book about the phantasmagoric metalwork of Albert Paley, who is far and away the greatest metals artist ever to come out of Rochester New York.
   Engineering a New Architecture by Tony Robbin

Remarkably interesting academic work about lightweight structures supported with shells, cables and membranes. A good place to go if you want to live in a concrete egg carton that thrums like a drumhead.

Inconspicuous Consumption: An Obsessive Look at the Stuff We Take for Granted, from the Everyday to the Obscure by Paul Lukas (1997)

It's mostly outtakes from Lukas's design-hobbyist fanzine, "BEER FRAMES, the Journal of Inconspicuous Consumption." Lukas is the kind of guy who gets whimsically obsessed with knicknacks like cat toys, animal-cracker packaging and canned sauerkraut juice. Enlivening, funny, and with a nice eye for graphic and engineering detail.

Henry Dreyfuss: Industrial Designer, the Man in the Brown Suit by Russell

This is the best biography of a designer I've ever read. This may be because Dreyfuss was nowhere near so kinky and multivalent a figure as Tibor Kalman. Respectful yet frank, the book brings home its thesis that Dreyfuss, through concentration, integrity and hard work, transcended mere professionalism to become a major 20th century cultural figure. Lavishly and effectively illustrated; the before-and-after shots of cramped, backward products receiving the modernist Dreyfuss treatment are well-nigh mind-boggling.

Malaparte: A House Like Me by Michael McDonough

Architecture history by Viridian fellow-traveller Michael McDonough. A cranky Fascist/Futurist novelist/journalist builds a weird all-natural tank of a house on a crag in Capri. The book is a "portfolio of unique insights into the controversial artist and his provocative home." Many valuable life-lessons here for cranky novelist-journalists with grandiose design schemes.

Objects of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750 by Adrian Forty (1986).

Top-flight scholarly work on the interplay of designers, manufacturers and advertising in Britain. I especially admire the eye-opening chapters on "scientifically efficient" office furniture and "home labor-saving" products. Very lucidly written with 272 marvellous period illustrations. A classic.

When Things Start to Think by Neil Gershenfeld, 1999

Best book I've ever seen out of the MIT Media Lab. Thin on handwaving, ruthless toward megahype, it's chock-a-block with provocative techie ideas. If you're the kind of guy who wants to power your laptop with your ductile piezoelectric shoe-soles, you've found your guru in Neil Gershenfeld. Especially good are the dizzying chapters on "The Personal Fabricator" and "Smart Money."

The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization by Thomas L. Friedman

Don't let the fact that it's a New York Times bestseller fool you. The guy is the Foreign Affairs columnist for the New York Times, after all. A very thoughtful, profusely anecdotal work on the real-life meaning and consequences of global capitalism. The chapter on "Globalution" demolishes more foreign -affairs cliches than I can count.

Theory and Design in the First Machine Age by Reyner Banham, 1960.

It's not for everybody. In fact, I don't know who the hell this book is for, except maybe Philip Johnson, who blurbed it. It's a brutally detailed history of Modernist architectural doctrine. It's like having your preconceptions crushed with a reinforced-concrete Bauhaus I-beam. I found this book so painfully engrossing that I missed a flight in the Denver airport.

The Sun, The Genome, and the Internet: Tools of Scientific Revolutions by Freeman J. Dyson, 1999

As Freeman Dyson gets older, and keeps being proven right when everybody else in the sciences has no idea what they're doing, Freeman Dyson writes ever more simply and limpidly. This book is about the arcane depths of science policy, space exploration, Internet bandwidth, solar power, and genetics. A ten-year -old whose second language was English ought to be able to parse every sentence. And will people do it the way Freeman Dyson wisely recommends? No. And twenty years from now, will it be dead obvious that this is the way we should have done it? Yes.

Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy by Dave Hickey, 1997

Erudite essays on contemporary aesthetics just don't get any more rockin' than Dave Hickey. He's a bohemian Texan art gallerist somehow turned Las Vegas academic. This book reads like Flaubert and Lester Bangs celebrating the triumph of chaos theory in a post-consumerized low-rider Cadillac. "The presumption of art's essential goodness is nothing more than a political fiction that we employ to solicit taxpayers' money for public art education." That's tellin' em, Professor Hickey!

Robert Dawson and Gray Brechin's Farewell, Promised Land: Waking From The
California Dream
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

Recommended by Julia Witwer (jlwitwer@uci.edu)

"It's a chronicle of the destruction of California ecosystems and indigenous populations, with a collection of archival images and recent photographs taken by Dawson. It is not straight Viridian green, I think. There is a measure of nostalgia here that might cause impatience, for one thing. And a somewhat short-sighted focus, occasionally, on the lost "beauties" of CA. Oddly enough, though, considering the history it lays out, the book isn't (or isn't just) elegiac; it's unsettling.

The pictures embody (for me) that unheimlich energy of the classic "Viridian Disaster." One definition of the uncanny is the abrupt appearance of an absence--ghosts, but also rifts, gaps, and breaks. FAREWELL, PROMISED LAND has a lot of this, a catalogue of undistinguished and chilling monuments to lost people and things. The other side of the unheimlich is here too, the appearance of a haunting "excess" that destabilizes the specious orderliness of "business as usual".

"Unhomely": not just the alien, but the alien hanging out in the living
room. The manmade "lunar" landscape of the motherlode. The empty swimming pool at the edge of the Salton sea."

The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski. Hardcover, paperback.

Engineering guru Petroski talks very lucidly and practically forever about the tiny, almost invisible incremental improvements in forks, paper clips and zippers. Worth the price of the book just to change your intimate relationship with forks.

Designing Modernity: The Arts of Reform and Persuasion 1885-1945, selections from the Wolfsonian design museum, edited by Wendy Kaplan, Thames and Hudson Press, 1995.

This book was the prize in the first Viridian design contest. A fine compendium of twentieth-century posters, furnishings and gizmos, many of them with blatant political and ideological leanings. Valuable historical material here, for it's hard to find other compendiums of Italian fascist finery. As totalitarian dictators go, the Duce had some rather gifted designers.

Hot Designers Make Cool Fonts by Allan Haley, Rockport Publishers

This book was the prize in the second Viridian Design contest.

Typography is one of those geeky, nitpicking lines of creative work that can become painfully fascinating. I don't advise buying a typography book unless you're already a typography victim. Like me.

Nine Nations of North America, by Joel Garreau

A little dated now, but one of the best works of American culture theory and American geography. A very original premise that is carried out very convincingly.

Publications by Andy Goldsworthy:

Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature

Wood, by Andy Goldsworthy.

Andy Goldsworthy is a sui generis environmental artist who rearranges the landscape with his bare hands and then takes arty photographs of the results. This book favors his extensive work with bark, twigs, and branches. This art is vastly more effective than any mere description would suggest.

Stone, by Andy Goldsworthy.

The inimitable British artist does astonishing and otherworldly things with boulders, ice, sand, and pebbles.

How to Break Into Product Design, by Pamela Williams.

We Viridians like to spend our time imagining cool devices that we might buy, but if you actually want to be in the business of making and selling things, you should have a look at this book first, and get some sense of what you're up against in the new global gizmo market.

Recommendations from our readers!

We recently asked subscribers to the Viridian Email List to recommend books for our growing bookstore; here's the first round of recommendations.

Proceeds from our participation in the Amazon Associates Program will fund the development of cool Viridian swag, which we'll sell in order to support the development of even more cool Viridian swag!

New! - A couple of emails received 6/8/99:

From Mike Stone, Managing Editor of Whole Earth Review:

You might be interested in Cool Companies: How the Best Companies Boost Profits and Productivity by Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions ," a new book from Island Press by Joseph J. Romm. See http://www.islandpress.com/books/bookdata/coolcompanies.html, which is the sum of what I know about the book.

From Cassandra Thomas, catnhat:

Bill Mollison's Permaculture: A Practical Guide for a Sustainable Future. [Note from Jon L.: What we found at Amazon was a Mollison book called Permaculture: A Designer's Manual .] Every Viridan should read this book. It is a practical guide to how we can maintain a high standard of living while being part of a planetary system instead of stomping on it.

Joel Garreau recommends (er, shameless plug) HIS OWN BOOKS!

Sez Joel:

I think Edge City: Life on the New Frontier , is a Viridian book because it explores as its central theme the idea that we humans are creating the biggest change in 150 years in the ways we build cities because we at core want to take the forces of the city, bring them out to the edge, and combine them with nature, to produce a garden. I demonstrate that for all our grievous errors, as often as not we are succeeding, albeit in our usual cockeyed ad hoc way. I am criticized for being guardedly optimistic that this is at all possible. But that too is Viridian. And meanwhile, I especially commend the last two chapters of the book to Viridians. These would be the San Francisco chapter on "Soul", and the Washington chapter on "The Land." I really poured my heart into those, and I believe them intensely Viridian in aspiration. So there.

My earlier book, The Nine Nations of North America , is more widely understood as Viridian, in that it celebrates the way North America operates as if it were nine separate civilizations or economies, regardless of political boundaries. This effort, chockablock with interviews with real people, literally works from the ground up to establish who we are, how we got that way, where we're headed, and what we value.

Recommended by Cosma Shalizi: http://www.santafe.edu/~shalizi/

Boy, check these out. Wow. I've gotta buy every one of them, except the ones I've already got. A viridian bonanza! -- Bruce S.

Philip Ball, The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature (Oxford University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-19-850244-3).

No better place for budding techno-organicists to start understanding self-organization, and how to make things that pull themselves together. ( Long, boring review .)

Reyner Banham, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (MIT Press, 1981, ISBN 0262520583).

What was really going on in the Modernist design movement: corporate sponsors, industrial policy, unacknowledge sources of inspiration, etc., etc.

Stephen Budiansky, Nature's Keepers: The New Science of Nature Management (Free Press, 1995, IBSN 0-02-904915-6).

Compelling case for tossing out all the cuddly bits of ecology --- harmonious ecosystems, self-regulating populations, balance of nature, etc., etc. --- while re-emphasizing the importance of actually understanding ecosystems. Good on re-engineering ecosystems. Doesn't think large enough. ( Long, boring review .)

Joshua M. Epstein and Robert Axtell, Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up (MIT Press, 1996, ISBN 0-262-55025-3).

A kind of guide to building your own SimEarth for technically-savvy social scientists. We can use this to craft physical-social simulations which combine fascination with awe-inspiring dread of what we're doing to the planet.

Gary William Flake, The Computational Beauty of Nature. (MIT Press, 1998, ISBN ).

Serious but accessible guide to constructing computational models, especially of chaotic, fractal, & adaptive systems. Almost certainly useful to designers who want to replace the physical with the informational. ( Long, boring review .)

Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914--1991 (Vintage Books, 1994, ISBN 0679730052).

The nightmare from which we are trying to awake.

Philip Morrison and Kosta Tsipis, Reason Enough to Hope (MIT Press, 1998, ISBN 0-262-13344-X).

Philip Morrison is one of the wisest and most humane scientists alive; also one of the inventors of the atom bomb. This is his eminently sensible, if not yet sufficiently Viridian, advice on how to keep from blowing ourselves up, or making most of the species so miserable it would welcome that as a relief. ( Long review. .)

Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism (Routledge, 1957, ISBN 0415065690).

How to avoid wasting your time trying to predict the future, define your terms, and re-build society from scratch, when you could be figuring out how to make things work and change them for the better.

Herbert Simon, The Sciences of the Artificial (MIT Press, 1996/1969, ISBN 0-262-69191-4).

A few hundred years from now, this will be one of the few books they'll pick out to show what was good and important in 20th century thought --- if anyone still reads books a few hundred years from now. Essential reading for anyone who cares about design, or thought, or the thinking that goes on in design, including social design.

Dan Sperber, Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach (Blackwell, 1996, ISBN 0-631-20045-2).

The result of mating Richard Dawkins's ``memes'' with some actual knowledge of cultural anthropology and cognitive psychology. A must for people who want their ideas to take over the world. ( Long, boring review .)

D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, On Growth and Form (Dover Books, 1992, ISBN 0486671356 but 2nd ed. dates to 1942).

Classic on the mechanical design of organisms, and using very simply physical-chemical mechanisms to get adaptive, elegant, functional forms. Plus the man wrote like an angel.

Yi-Fu Tuan, Escapism (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999, ISBN 0801859263), Cosmos and Hearth (U. Minnesota Press, 1996, ISBN 0816627312), Passing Strange and Wonderful (Island Press, 1993, Kodansha 1995, ISBN 1568360673) Morality and Imagination: Paradoxes of Progress (U. Wisconsin Press, 1989, ISBN 0299120643), The Good Life (U. Wisconsin Press, 1986, ISBN 0299105407)

Beautifully-written, impeccably-researched books about the interface between nature and culture, and the refashioning of nature by culture.

Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Graphics Press, ISBN 096139210X) Envisioning Information (Graphics Press, 1990, ISBN 0961392118) Visual Explanations (Graphics Press, 1997, ISBN 0961392126)

Maybe the best books ever written about how to make visual displays which are at once useful and compelling. I'd really like to see an interface to global climate models built along Tuftean lines.

(((Bruce Sterling concurs: this Tufte guy really is something special. Probably the greatest antidote ever to the "circus-poster effect" typical of hasty cut-and-paste-style digital design.)))

The World Bank, World Development Report 1998--1999: Knowledge for Development. (Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-19-521118-9).

Appalling lumpentechnocrat prose, but _lots_ of interesting stuff about bringing information, knowledge and electronic communications (not always clearly distinguished) to the poor, using IT in poverty-reduction schemes, controlling pollution through public pressure and disseminating information, etc. Also the best available statistics on the world's distribution of wealth, resources, information, health, etc., etc.

[End of Cosma's recommendations!]

Ted Byfield recommends: "Wolfgang Schivelbusch's Disenchanted Night: the Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century is pretty short (definitely a Viridian virtue) and excellent."

(((Bruce Sterling remarks: "Disenchanted Night" has some very interesting material on the European history of energy and lighting practices. Another Schivelbusch book, The Railway Journey is even better. I'm stuck in the middle of the most recent Schivelbusch book, on the history of drugs and spices .)))

Ted Byfield recommends: "Pierre Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance: Against the Tyranny of the Market (nyc: new press, 1998) also weighs in at a whole 108 numbered pages and calls a spade a spade."

Ted Byfield recommends: Pierre Bourdieu, On Television (nyc: new press, 1998), a hefty 104 pages, pins the tail on the arsehole.

Edited by Ted Byfield (and a vast cast of nine other people):

Readme! Filtered by Nettime. ASCII Culture and the Revenge of Knowledge, from Autonomedia

(((bruces remarks: "Nettime" is a mailing list for anarcho, Euro-lefty, digital-arts people. Nettime is what WIRED would be if WIRED came out of a squat in East Berlin, and had no funding, no ads, no paper and no ink. I've been on the nettime list for years now; my 1996 science fiction novel HOLY FIRE is a kind of valentine to nettime, and ISEA, Ars Electronica, and their many related, opaque, delightful, Eurocybercultural concerns.

((Nettime is one of the few Internet lists that could generate a book worth reading. Much of this book is frankly inexplicable -- imagine cyberfeminists whose first language is Latvian discussing why Deleuze and Guattari made them start an interactive website -- but there are many gems amid the murk, and frankly, I rather enjoy a good postmodern wallow in murk-for-murk's-sake. Among the many rants included in this bulging volume is "The Manifesto of January 3, 2000," which was my first rehearsal for the founding of the Viridian List. Many nettimers are also in the Viridian List. The publisher, Autonomedia, deserves support for their unflinching devotion to zero-commercial-potential nosebleed postmodernism.)))

The Tribes of Palos Verdes ( St. Martin's Press, 1998 ) This novel was written by Viridian list member Joy Nicholson ( silverlake@ibm.net)

Bob Morris recommends: Ecology of Fear - Mike Davis - Metropolitan Books

With a chapter titled "The Case for Letting Malibu Burn" ( since we, in effect subsidize the wealthy to continually rebuild in Malibu after fires ), one could assume the real estate interests in L.A. would attack Davis unrelentingly. And they have. About the worst they've proven is that some of his facts are wrong. His ideas though, are provoking. Mass mindless boosterism has created an L.A. that is an environmental disaster waiting to happen with a mindset that ignores nature. (((bruces remarks: it's a fun book to read and William Gibson is major devotee of this Davis guy. For the record, however, I must proclaim that it is extremely unViridian to get your facts wrong.)))

Bob Morris recommends: The More You Watch The Less You Know - Danny Schechter - Seven Stories Press.

The title say it all, in this analysis of mass media and mass news, from someone who has been in alternative and mainstream media for thirty years.

Bob Morris recommends: Eat The Rich - P.J. O'Rourke - Atlantic Monthly Press

Why is Tanzania, with huge resources, desperately poor, while Hong Kong, with zero resources, quite wealthy? Why did Albania's capitalism blow up? Why does Sweden's socialism work? And why does Shanghai have the worst of both worlds? O'Rourke explores economics throughout the world in this well-written and sometimes quite funny book. Useful even if you aren't a right-wing Libertarian.

Robert G. Kennedy III recommends: Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel . Having won the 1998 Pulitzer for Nonfiction, it probably doesn't need any plugs, but I'm going to plug it anyway. I'm not even finished reading, and it has changed my worldview. It will change yours, too. It's very Viridian, beings about germs, death, and the impermanence of institutions.

Adam Lipscomb recommends: David Brin The Transparent Society While I don't agree with all of his thesis, there are some interesting points raised re: corporate privacy that might be useful in preparing the Viridian "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" next century.

(((bruces remarks: never trust anything any science fiction writer tells you about anything, especially when he's got some kind of big cranky burr under his saddle.)))

Adam Lipscomb recommends: Gregory Benford Deep Time - A look at the concept of building/thinking in long range terms, as well as some fascinating proposals for global warming fixes.

(((The warning about not trusting science fiction writers goes double for this Benford guy.)))

Warren Ellis is on the Viridian list, and he writes, uhm, scripts for, er, "comic books."

Warren Ellis remarks: Not only are my books "dull, irrelevant and stupid," but worse; they're graphic novels. They do, however, seem to sell quite well, and the referral fees might make you a few pennies.


Written and created by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Darick Robertson

Best Graphic Novel: International Horror Guild Best New Comic (International): British National Comics Week Awards

The first collected edition of TRANSMETROPOLITAN, a sf comics series published by Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics Inc. "Outlaw journalist" Spider Jerusalem has been living up a goddamn mountain for five years now, cheerfully hiding from life in general. Terrible legal pressures, however, force him off his mountaintop and down into The City, the one place he hates the most in all the world... and the only place where he can write.

Blasted stone bald by an overeager bathroom and surrounded by household appliances crazed by cheap drug emulators, Spider finds himself immersed in the City and surrounded by people warping themselves into alien bodies using fashion DNA templates sold by a collapsing ET enclave somewhere in Poland...

"Brilliant future-shock commentary"



Written and created by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Darick Robertson

"If you loved me, you'd all kill yourselves today."

The second and most recent collected edition, wherein Spider Jerusalem watches someone turn into fog as a lifestyle choice, learns everything he needs to know from television, becomes Jesus, and is found to have a kid with no head. Which doesn't surprise anyone.

"In TRANSMETROPOLITAN Warren Ellis has put passion and commitment back into adult graphic SF. With righteous anger, compelling action and a tasty touch of modern cyberpunk sensibility, TRANSMETROPOLITAN reminds us of what SF and the Fourth Estate should be about -- and does it!"

-- Michael Moorcock

Warren Ellis remarks: This one is a work-for-hire job I did on a corporate-owned character, thrown in because it might make you a few dollars, featuring as it does the popular X-MEN character WOLVERINE.


Written by Warren Ellis, illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu

It starts in Hong Kong in the 1970's, with the best killer in the world; the collapsing Scots assassin McLeish, who cannot murder without drinking four bottles of Scotch first. It ends a day later, with a fireball in Hong Kong Harbour -- it was believed. Now the man who lit that fireball is in New York... Logan, the enigmatic soldier who haunts the 20th Century. And there's a dead body in his bed with a chunk of explosive stuck to it along with a calling card. The sign of McLeish, who should be a twenty years'-soaked piece of filth on the bottom of Hong Kong Harbour...

THE ART OF THE LONG VIEW by Peter Schwartz

(((bruces remarks: Running a corporate futurist scenario can be as useless as telling a Tarot. It can be as gruelling and phoney as encounter-therapy. However, scenario-modelling works at least as well or better than any other fortune-telling technique, and if you have the right people involved, it can break your deadening sense of habit and dogma, defeat your sense of despair, and give you a useful, heartening feeling that you have got a genuine grip on the driving forces of your destiny. Many foggy, useless books have been written on the subject of corporate futurism, but if you want just one, and a good one, THE ART OF THE LONG VIEW is the one to have. (((I once had a conversation in an Austin restaurant with Peter Schwartz, and a middle-aged couple at the next table interrupted their meal to come over to abjectly beg Peter Schwartz to tell them who he was, and how come he knew so much, and why he talked so brilliantly.)))

How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand

(((bruces remarks: This is the only book I've ever read that talks convincingly about what happens to buildings after their architects and builders are long dead and buried. A rare classic of the Viridian "Embrace Decay" principle. )))

Jude Milhon is on the Viridian list. She writes books.

"I have two books that may not all be pulped yet:"

How to Mutate and Take Over the World
The Real Cyberpunk Fakebook

Stefan Jones recommends: The Existential Pleasures of Engineering by Samuel C. Florman

"Informed, literate, passionate book, urging engineers themselves to become more informed, literate, and passionate. Florman, a Civil Engineer himself, skewers "anti technologists" like Dubos and Rifkin, and attacks the common intellectual disdain for engineers and their work; then, he just as skillfully takes on engineers for failing to recognize the harm their creations can do when they do not take full responsibility for their design and use. Florman's ideal engineer would fit right into the Viridian movement." (((bruces remarks: I read Florman with great attention and can only concur with Stefan's wise remarks.)))

The Immense Journey by Loren C. Eiseley

Stefan Jones remarks: "A four star general visits a particle accelerator installation. After the tour through the heart of the giant mechanism is over, the chief physicist asks the officer for his impression. "Yes, yes, very impressive. But what does it do for the defense of the country?" "Nothing," replies the scientist, "but it makes the country *worth* defending." There's little "Viridian" in Eiseley's essays about animals, evolution, humans and humanity. But they are a wonderful way to learn *why* we should give a damn about the environment, and a bracing and effective solvent for the goo that comes to clogs one's sensibilities after too many years of reading technocratic-libertarian tracts. Some of these essays have more sense of wonder than entire science fiction novels. (((bruces remarks: unfortunately, that feat isn't difficult.)))

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