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Amazon Reviews

A refreshing, powerful read for anyone who is unable to bear the painful pessimism of modern world analysis

An Inspiring View of the Future
By Kathleen Bakewell on 4 January 2016
Thackara calmly and firmly peels back the curtain on our society’s technical optimism, metabolic rift, and reliance on infinite growth. He describes the world’s growing population of precariats – Guy Standing’s term for individuals for whom a precarious existence that is teetering on insecurity and relative poverty is the new normal. Rather than leave us in a state of gloom and despair he takes us down a path of transformation and hope, weaving in inspiring stories of interdependence among living systems.
This is also an impressive reference guide for ideas, individuals, organizations, and institutions that are doing the real work to reshape our relationships to one another and the planet. We learn about innovations in mobility, food, patterns of human settlement, product design, and even decision-making. Collectively, these examples demonstrate the power of commons-based economies, thriving on diverse and regenerative biocultural partnerships in a world composed increasingly of precariats.

By OJR on 2 Nov. 2015
I heard John deliver a speech on Bioregions in Bristol at the New Economy Summit. This 2 day conference was a great success but it was the term ‘bioregions’, a term I’d never heard before, that dominated my interest and sparked a commitment to read the book.

Once I started reading, I found it very difficult to put down. I’ve read many books highlighting the damage of our separation to the environment, the majority being harrowingly depressing, but this gem doesn’t fall in line with the others. How to Thrive in the Next Economy is full of hope, but it is not unrealistic and demanding a forced utopia. It outlines communities all over the world, stories highlighting resilience and centuries of knowledge, which range from the way we treat our elderly to our relationship with soil.

We are at a turning point of human psychological evolution, one that is essential to our survival and ability to thrive on this planet. The conclusion is powerful, but much simpler than you think. With such resonating wisdom, I’m left feeling confused as to why I’m the first person reviewing this book. It is a fantastic, well-written account of grassroots movements stripping down the complexities of the 21st century… and returning home.

A must read

By M. Evans on 8 Nov. 2015

Life changing, thought provoking and a sensible solution to fixing problems of a planet with finite resources. Only complaint is some of the terminology. Chapter 9 refers to a north south divide. Last I checked siberia and north Korea are not wealthy western entities. The only reason it’s not a 5 star review.

Eye-opening book that people should read.

By … on 2 Dec. 2015

Eye-opening book that people should read. It is not about eco-terrorism, it’s about hope in the future if we start taking action now


By joni Marie Gutierrez on November 9, 2015

Wow! What an inspiring & great book. Puts a real perspective on connectivity. Uses real life examples that can relate to hipsters of all ages. Those that are more traditionalists will revel in stories that help move us comfortably forward.

Thank you for writing this!!!


Review in FORM magazine
by Sarah Dorkenwald


Grassroots Directory

“Thackara looks at cultural and ecological systems at a broader and more connected level; the book is stacked full of examples and entry points that spark turnaround action”

Bristol New Economy Summit

“John Thackara inspired our international audience”
(Simone Osborn, Organiser, #BNE2015)

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
“Outstanding! Excellent insights communicated at many different levels.”
“Wow. Extremely motivating session and inspirational speaker. Bravo!”
“Fabulous! I left inspired and hopeful about the future of my profession and my business”

Konst/Ig Books

“Radical, relevant and accessible – this book promises to reignite mainstream discussions of sustainability in both theory and practice”

The Dirt

“a story that gives meaning and purpose to young people”

Stir To Action (interview)

“Does your city know where its lunch is coming from? And is that place healthy—or not?”


New Scientist; Bruce Sterling

“I share Thackara’s awareness that material poverty is a relative thing. If you’ve got a few thousand calories along with a dry spot to sleep, a backpacker’s simplicity is not as bad as bankers would have you believe”


San Francisco Book Review

Are there practical solutions to the many global challenges―climate change, poverty, insufficient healthcare―that threaten our way of life? Author John Thackara has spent a lifetime roving the globe in search of design that serves human needs. In this clear-eyed but ultimately optimistic book, he argues that, in our eagerness to find big technological solutions, we have all too often ignored the astonishing creativity generated when people work together and in harmony with the world around them [more]bookbuzz_logo

Behind the Seams, p 26. TRAID MAgazine

“Keep Your Stuff Alive.  John Thackara describes how communities the world over are creating real alternatives to global challenges – and how we can derive new pleasures from our clothes unshackled from consumption.”

Thackara "Traid Magazine", keep your stuff alive

An Interview with John Thackara




“Asking, ‘should a designer think like a machine, or like a forest?’, Thackara urged students to leave the world healthier, rather than sicker. Many left his talk newly inspired to take small-scale steps to effect large-scale change”.

Review from One Size Fits One

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#3 in Shareable’s Top 22 New Books for Winter

“Q: what piece of advice would you give your younger self if you were starting out? A: That it’s mainly about connection between people and places – and not much about concepts or plans”

Green Living

“A visionary yet practical guide to building a more sustainable future by one of the leading voices of the environmental movement today”

“an optimistic book without being naive or utopian – Thackara draws on an inspiring range of examples” (Abby Trow)

Publishers Weekly (USA)
“interesting view of a living economy (in which) the interdependence between healthy soils, living systems, and the ways we can help them regenerate, finally addresses the ‘why’ of economic activity that we’ve been lacking”


“We need a story that gives meaning and purpose to young people. It must be more than a story that is just something we tell to each other around a campfire, but grounds for action.” (Liz Camuti)

Teaching For Change
“Drawing on an inspiring range of examples, Thackara shows that below the radar of the mainstream media tglobal communities are creating a replacement economy- one that nurtures the earth and its inhabitants rather than jeopardizing its future”

In Brief (David Ing)
Review of John’s talk at #RSD3
talk at #RSD3

Systems Thinking and Design
Sketchnote by Patricia Kambitsch @Playthink


Abitare, Italy
Modelli alternativi che funzionano

“Alternative models that work: Thackara tells of a multitude of smnall actions that show how it is possible to craft a sysrem of relationships based on mutual aid and not on economic transactions alone”


Tweets about the book


.@JohnThackara on putting together one of the most optimistic guidebooks for the future: — Core77 (@core77) November 12, 2015