My year got off to a zippy start when Ralph Nader named my new book – due out in February – as #1 in his list of “Ten Books to Provoke Conversation in the New Year.” Thanks, Ralph!
Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons is my attempt to introduce the commons to the lay reader and concerned citizen. I wanted to explain the commons in simple but not simplistic language while pointing toward the many deep and complicated aspects of the commons, and to the diverse points of entry to the subject. My publisher is New Society Publishers, known for its environmental and activist-minded books.
Think Like a Commoner is my best effort to provide a succinct, lucid overview of the commons. In relatively short chapters, I discuss its history, academic scholarship and many cultural variations. I explore the political and economic implications of the commons and dozens of activist fronts and working projects. I also look at the international commons movement and provide a list of further reading and other resources.
It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s taken me fifteen years to write this book! While Silent Theft, my first foray into commons research and scholarship, came out in 2002, I’ve had quite an odyssey of reading, debate, conference-going and reflection over the past decade. I decided it was important to circle back on myself to try to make better sense of the commons, ten years later, and to try to communicate it more clearly.
Now it's on to the public outreach / marketing stage of the book. For that, I'm grateful to climate change activist Bill McKibben for his supportive blurb: “The Commons is among the most important and hopeful concepts of our time, and once you've read this book you'll understand why!”