"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Zembla AUTUMN 2004 - by Brian Eno
MIND-CHANGING BOOKS: BRIAN ENO'S TOP 18
1. Brain Of The Firm - Stafford Beer
The most approachable book about the self-organising nature of complex systems.
2. Silence - John Cage
Music as philosophy (with lots of Zen wit).
3. The Evolution Of Cooperation - Robert Axelrod
How time changes relationships: a message of hope.
4. The Clock Of The Long Now - Stewart Brand
Why we need to think long.
5. Managing The Commons - Garrett Hardin and John Baden
Structural observations about shared resources.
6. A New Kind Of Science - Stephen Wolfram
Controversial and exciting new approach to the genesis of complex systems.
7. Grooming, Gossip And The Evolution Of Language - Robin Dunbar
The origins and limits of human community.
8. The Mystery Of Capital - Hernando de Soto
Why capitalism can't be planted just anywhere.
9. Labyrinths - Jorge Luis Borges
The ultimate "what if?" book.
10. Africa: A Biography Of The Continent - John Reader
The story of Africa beginning four billion BC.
11. Animal Architecture - Karl von Frisch
One of the best "beauty of nature" books, academic jaw-dropper.
12. Contingency, Irony, And Solidarity - Richard Rorty
A great work of modern pragmatism: the antidote to Derrida.
13. Peter The Great - Robert K. Massie
Superb biography of a giant located somewhere between Ghengis Khan, Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Stalin.
14. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World The Slaves Made - Eugene D. Genovese
The unexpected richness and lasting importance of slave culture in America.
15. Folk Song Style And Culture - Alan Lomax
An extraordinary theory that singing style is indicative of social structure by the pioneer collector of world music.
16. The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins
Even if you think you know what this is about it's worth reading. The atheist's defence.
17. Democracy In America - Alexis de Tocqueville
He guessed at the best of it, warned of the worst of it, and was right on both counts.
18. Guns, Germs, And Steel - Jared Diamond
Compelling account of the physical factors shaping world history.