Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel


I come to excoriate the WorldChanging book not to review it, because to review it I would have to read it to the end and life is too short.

"Worldchanging: A Users Guide for the 21st Century is a groundbreaking compendium of the most innovative solutions, ideas and inventions emerging today for building a sustainable, livable, prosperous future." says their website.

"Like a coffee table book but without the pictures", says the weasel.

It has been compared to the Whole Earth Catalog, presumably by people who have never seen the Whole Earth Catlog or missed the point completely. "I've met Stewart Brand, and Sir, you're no Stewart Brand".

(I haven't met Stewart Brand, but you know what I mean)

Clearly, in these happy days of the web, a Post-Millennium Whole Earth Catalog would serve a different purpose from the pre-web versions, and would probably link to websites as much as books. But the real WEC went into detail about things and where appropriate challenged conventional wisdom. This does neither. I hate to use the phrase 'dumbing down', but most of the prose reads like it was written for one of those rather earnest 'Our World' style magazines with superficial articles aimed at bright twelve year olds.

There is also too much uncritical reporting of Green nostrums. A case in point (this was the point at which I gave up) is the case of Portland being used as an examplar of urban planning. There is certainly controversy about this - see http://www.amazon.com/Sprawl-Compact-History-Robert-Bruegmann/dp/0226076911 - I personally found Bregumann quite persuasive although if you look at the reviews on Amazon not everyone does.

I think there hearts are, in some sense, in the right place, but the execution is very poor.

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