I'm thrilled to announce the publication of my new book, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons (New Society Publishers). Unlike so many of my previous books on the commons – which explored some specific aspect of the commons (culture, copyright, ecological commons) or were aimed at academic readers – Think Like a Commoner is a general overview of the commons written for the general reader.
It’s my attempt to reach the not-necessarily-political layperson to introduce the commons paradigm in an accessible, non-academic way, but without dumbing things down. The book provides a succinct overview of the great diversity of commons in the world and the many pernicious enclosures now being fought. It describes the logic, worldview and ethics of the commons, and the burgeoning international movement of commoners, especially in Europe and the global South.
I’ve created a special website for the book – www.Think LikeACommoner.com – for those who want to keep track of the reviews and my upcoming appearances. I’ve also included an extensive set of citations, keyed to page numbers in the book, which amount to footnotes and recommendations for further reading. I didn’t want to burden a book intended for general readers with all the scholarly hoohah of notes, but of course some people do want to inquire further into certain aspects of the commons. Hence the web-based notes.
At the end of the book, I include a number of short references: the statement, "The Commons, Short and Sweet"; Silke Helfrich’s chart, “The Logic of the Commons and the Market”; a select bibliography of further readings on the commons; and a listing of leading websites on the commons.
I’m grateful for the glowing endorsements that the book has received from Bill McKibben, Ralph Nader, Maude Barlow, David Korten, Michel Bauwens and Peter Barnes. You can read those at the book website.
If you'd prefer to read the book in French or Polish, there are translations already available. My thanks to the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for its support for the book (and the French translation), and to FreeLab, the translators of the Polish edition, and the publisher, the social cooperative Faktoria.
Here's the contents page of the English edition:
1. The Rediscovery of the Commons
2. The Tyranny of the “Tragedy” Myth
3. Enclosure and the Commons
4. Enclosures of Public Spaces and Infrastructure
5. Enclosures of Knowledge and Culture
6. The Eclipsed History of the Commons
7. The Empire of Private Property
8. The Rise of Digital Commons
9. Many Galaxies of Commons
10. The Commons as a Different Way of Seeing and Being
11. The Future of the Commons
* * *
The Commons, Short and Sweet
The Logic of the Market & Commons
Further Reading on the Commons
Leading Websites on the Commons
About the Author
In the coming weeks and months, I’m hoping to do a number of book events and media venues to spread the word about the commons and my book. If you have any suggestions for me, please get in touch!