Full blurbs for Whole Earth Discipline


PAUL HAWKEN (co-author of Natural Capitalism):

Stewart Brand defines iconoclastic, and has now raised the bar with the most important work of his lifetime, likely one of the most original and important books of the century.  As the title connotes, the writing is about disciplined thinking.  Shibboleths, ideological cant, and green fetishes are put to the side with the clarity and expertise gained by years of research and forethought, a mindbending exploration of what humankind can and must do to retain the mantle of civilization.  The highest compliment one can give a book is “it changed my mind.”  It changed mine and I am grateful.

JAMES LOVELOCK (author of The Vanishing Face of Gaia):

Stewart Brand’s timely and down-to-Earth new book gives me hope that his wisdom will help us prevent the Earth system breaking as the economic system has done.  The last things we need are more theoretical models or visionary hi-tech.  This book is truly important and a joy to read.  It is a practical guide to damage limitation and a sustainable retreat to a far more efficient society.

EDWARD O. WILSON (author of The Future of Life; Biophilia; The Ants):

This is a very scary book by a very bright man, offering a picture of humanity’s future that is both ominous and exhilarating.  I believe the world must have, and soon, a series of debates on the many inconvenient challenges facing us, employing a small number of intelligent, provocative texts at the core; and this should be one of them.

IAN McEWAN (author of Atonement, Saturday, and Solar):

This brilliant, elegant treatise by a veteran defender of the Earth’s health will be a challenge to those parts of the environmental movement that loathe nuclear power, believe that cities are wasteful and dehumanising, distrust GM agriculture and technological ‘fixes’ in general.  But anyone with an open mind and a free spirit will be deeply stirred by Brand’s passionate realism and measured optimism.  There isn’t much time, climate science keeps telling us.  If that is the case, one urgent priority would be to read this deeply engaging book and be prepared to do some serious re-thinking.

PAUL ROMER (economist):

If you care about future of the planet or about the contest between dispassionate discourse and crusading zeal, read this book from cover to cover and get ready to join the fierce debate it will spark.

KEVIN KELLY (author of Out of Control):

This is a short course on how to change your mind intelligently.  Stewart Brand is the master guru of following the early warning signals of first adopters and the rough edges of science wherever it might lead.  In this book he reveals how this discipline has landed him at the very front of cultural change once again.

WADE DAVIS (author of One River):

Orthodoxy is the enemy of invention. Despair an insult to the imagination. In this extraordinary manifesto, Stewart Brand charts a way forward that shatters conventional thinking, and yet leaves one brimming with hope. It has been years since I have read a book that in so many ways changed the way I think about so many fundamental issues.

RICHARD RHODES (author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb):

After spreading the gospel of self-sufficiency with his inimitable Whole Earth Catalog, Stewart Brand now embraces science and engineering as the disciplines that will see us through the fast-approaching crisis of global warming.  Brand’s new book is like the man himself: smart, practical, wise and full of goodwill.

WITOLD RYBCZYNSKI (author of Home):

Like the Whole Earth Catalog, this book is densely packed with useful, interesting, and iconoclastic information. And, as in the Catalog, Brand’s sane, pragmatic voice resonates throughout.

PETER NABOKOV (author of Where the Lightining Strikes):

Rebutting received wisdoms on such hot-button issues as modified corn, nuclear power, population control, Brand’s bravery in going against the grain is never bravado: an ace networker among the world’s brightest edge-thinkers and brilliant explicator of their scientific breakthroughs has dispatched this in-your-face series of bulletins because Brand is persuaded that now is our earth’s 11th hour. Through his stripped-down, aphoristic, breakneck prose, magnificent compilation of quotes, masterly selection of essential facts, persuasive cascade of core environmental issues, one’s nervous system resonates with Brand’s conclusion that planetary survival is in the balance. How to redeem our birthright takes a weathered radical’s idealism whipped into shape by earth-rooted conservatism and hard-nosed science. Brand’s long been the prophet for such a mix—he was onto Internet Democracy, Appropriate Technology, Ecological Realism way before anybody. Self-made professional gadfly and individualistic innovator, here he gifts us with a superbly orchestrated medley of lean arguments that amount to one pioneering, tough-minded humanist’s take on the positions and programs we must follow if we are to save our global household. A Paul Revere for our times—heed the man’s call, read the news with fresh eyes, garden and recycle, live with rather than on, pass the word, clamor, agitate, and get to work.

PAUL EHRLICH (co-author of The Dominant Animal):

Often right, sometimes wrong, always provocative -- the “Whole Earth Futurist” Stewart Brand does it again.  Buy it and think!

JESSE AUSUBEL (Director of Program for the Human Environment, Rockefeller University):

America’s smartest search engine, Stewart Brand startles, entertains, and encourages with his 21st century scan of the whole Earth.

NEAL STEPHENSON (author of Anathem):

I found your book so interesting that I immediately gave it to someone else and now I don’t know where it is.  Does that work as a blurb?

ROGER KENNEDY (former director of National Park Service and of the National Museum of American History):

Stewart Brand has become our secular Jonathan Swift—epigrammatic, sardonic as necessary, unimpressed by conventional wisdom unless it survives rethinking, confronting the fatuous and feckless even when parlayed by the famous—and profoundly humane.   Brand is, however, funnier than Swift, wider in his interests, and more hopeful.  He has a genius for compressing truth in biting brevity, energized by the conviction that if we understand we may act, and by acting alter outcomes for the better.  He does not waste words nor other people’s time.  Seldom has good thinking and good citizenship been put to such good use with such brio.  Whole Earth Discipline is a delightful yet profound work of scholarship and incitement.  It may be used as directed—with good results. 

STEPHEN SCHNEIDER (climatologist; co-author of Climate Change Policy):

Stewart Brand has been an out-of-the-box Whole Earth thinker for over three decades, and Whole Earth Discipline is the latest addition. He takes on the climate change problem with his usual wit, clarity and controversy. In this no-holds-barred work he excoriates the deniers, chides the can’t-do environmental pessimists, and proposes a host of solutions from conventional to politically incorrect. Bound to generate controversy, Brand never claims he speaks from truth, but from a frustration at inaction in the face of crisis. His latest should certainly stir up a pot that has been sitting idly for way too long.

OLIVER MORTON (News and features editor, Nature magazine):

When someone brings wide knowledge and deep wisdom to bear on absolutely vital issues, unbeholden to any interests or agenda other than his own sense of what might work best for the world and its inhabitants, and does it all in a particularly accessible way, what possible reason can you have for not paying attention?

PAUL COLLIER (author of The Bottom Billion):

Brand confronts the lazy illusions of fundamentalists.  His messages are vital: reconciling the protection of the global environment with the reasonable aspirations of poor countries will require tough thinking.

ALAN WEISMAN (author of The World Without Us):

Yet again, in a single book Stewart Brand provides us a clear catalogue of everything important on Earth.

LARRY  BRILLIANT (President, Skoll Urgent Threats Fund; founding director, Google.org):

This is an absolutely seminal work, extraordinarily well written, a tour de force of so many interconnected worlds and lives and studies.  It could be one of the most important books of the decade.

MATT RIDLEY (author of Genome and Nature via Nurture):

I adored this book.  Even the few parts I disagreed with.  Stewart Brand’s mind is exhilaratingly clear, rational and passionate. His pen is, too.

BRIAN ENO, musician, artist:

This extraordinary and provocative book resets the terms for the discussion about climate change.  It’s clever, concise and clear—a pleasure to read—but perhaps its greatest achievement will be to reframe this global crisis as an opportunity for civilisational regeneration.

SIR GORDON CONWAY (former president, Rockefeller Foundation; author of The Doubly Green Revolution):

Cities are Green.  Nuclear energy is Green.  Genetic engineering is Green. Don’t believe it?  Read the book and be convinced.  Stewart Brand’s pragmatism could save the planet and us.