Subtitle: Imagination taking power

All the books I read in 2018

I did this last year and people seemed to really like it, so hey, why not, let’s do it again this year.  Here is my list of all the books I read this year, once again inspired by Shane Parish over at the Farnham Street blog.  I post it in the hope that it might act as inspiration to create more time in 2019 for the quiet focus of reading, for the thrill and delight of a good book.  Also because it gives you a sense of the kind of stuff I’m coming across in my search for insights on the imagination. And because hopefully you might have a few days off over Christmas and be looking for something to read.  I’ll probably add to it over the next few days as I remember things I’ve forgotten. So, here we go…

Patrick Reinsborough & Doyle Canning: Re:Imagining Change: how to use story-based strategy to win campaigns, build movements and change the world, PM Press, 2017.

Amy Seefeldt, Centring the Ecological Imagination, Schumacher College (MSc Dissertation), 2017.

Tom Hirons, Sometimes a Wild God, Hedgespoken Press, 2015.

David Holmgren: Retrosuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future.  Meliodora Publishing, 2018.

Rebecca Solnit: Men Explain Things to Me, Granta, 2014.

Norman Doige: The Brain that Changes Itself: stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of science, Penguin, 2007.

Graham Smith: Democratic Innovations: designing institutions for citizen participation, Cambridge University Press, 2009.

David Whyte (ed): How Corrupt is Britain? Pluto Press, 2015,

Annette Simmons: The Story Factor: inspiration, influence and persuasion through the art of storytelling, Basic Books, 2006.

Michael McCarthy, The Moth Snowstorm: nature and joy, John Murray, 2015.

Kim Brooks: Small Animals: parenthood in the age of fear, FlatIron Books, 2018.

Peter Kalmus: Being the Change: live well and spark a climate revolution, New Society, 2017.

Giles Smith, Lost in Music, Picador, 2000.

Alex Evans, The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough, Eden Project Books, 2017.

Marcin Gerwin, Citizens Assemblies: Guide to Democracy that Works,  Open Plan Foundation,

Sumon Basar, Douglas Coupland, Hans Ulrich Obrist, The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present, Penguin, 2015.

Diego Gambetta & Steffen Hertog, Engineers of Jihad: The Curious Connection Between Violent Extremism and Education, Princeton University Press, 2017.

Damon Young, The Art of Reading, Scribe, 2017.

P.F. Strawson, Freedom and Resentment and Other Essays, Tayor & Francis, 1976.

William Powers: Hamlet’s BlackBerry: a practical philosophy for building a good life in the digital age, Scribe, 2013.

Johann Hari: Lost Connections: uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions,  Bloomsbury Circus, 2018.

Stephen T. Asma: The Evolution of Imagination, University of Chicago Press, 2017.

Stuart Brown: Play: how it shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul, Avery, 2009.

Jay Griffiths: Kith, Penguin, 2014.

Tony Schwartz: The Way we’re working isn’t working: four forgotten needs that energise great performance, Simon & Schuster, 2011.

Guy J. Singer: British Transition Town Money and other alternative currencies, CuriousBankNotes, 2019.

Viv Albertine: Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys, Faber & Faber, 2014.

Anthony Brandt & David Eagleman: The Runaway Species: how human creativity remakes the world, Canongate, 2017.

Derrick de Kerckhove, The Skin of Culture: investigating the new electronic reality, Kogan Page, 1995.

Boel Westin: Tove Jansson – Life, Art, Words, Sort of Books, 2018.

Rob Young & Irmin Schmidt: Can: All Gates Open – the story of Can, Faber and Faber, 2018.

Leonard Mlodinow: Elastic: flexible thinking in a constantly changing world, Allen Lane, 2018.

Simon Baron-Cohen: Zero Degrees of Empathy: a new theory of human cruelty and kindness, Penguin, 2011.

Andrew Keen, The Internet is Not the Answer, Atlantic Books, 2015.

Tim Wu: The Attention Merchants: the epic struggle to get inside our heads. Atlantic Books, 2017.

Gillian Judson: Engaging Imagination in Ecological Education: Practical Strategies for Teachers, Pacific Educational Press, 2015.

Oli Mould, Against Creativity, Verso, 2018.

The Cultural Learning Alliance, Imagine Nation: the value of cultural learning, 2017,

Susan Clayton et al.: Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance, American Psychological Association/ecoAmerica, 2017.

Joan Lindsay: The Secret of Hanging Rock: ETT Imprint, 2016.

Caitline DeSilvey, Simon Naylor, Colin Sackett: Anticipatory History, Uniform Books, 2011.

James Bridle: New Dark Age: technology and the end of the future, Verso, 2018.

Ben Goldfarb: Eager: the surprising secret life of beavers and why they matter, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018.

Richard Barbrook, Imaginary Futures: from thinking machines to the global village, Pluto Press, 2007.

Ruth Levitas, Utopia as Method: the imaginary reconstitution of society, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Maggie Jackson, Distracted: the erosion of attention and the coming dark age, Prometheous Books, 2008.

Erik Kilinenberg, Palaces for the People: how to build a more equal and united society, The Bodley Head, 2018.

Paul Hawken (ed), Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming, Penguin, 2017.

Robert Paul Smith, “Where did you go?” “Out”. “What did you do?” “Nothing”. The World’s Work, 1958.

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett: The Inner Level: how more equal societies reduce stress, restore sanity and improve everyone’s well-being, Allen Lane, 2018.

Ivan Illych, Deschooling Society, Marion Boyars, 1970.

David Sax, The Revenge of Analog: real things and why they matter, Public Affairs, 2017.

Stephen Duncombe, Dream: re-imagining progressive politics in an age of fantasy, The New Press, 2007.

James Williams: Stand out of our light: freedom and resistance in the attention economy, Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Dominic Sandbrook: The Great British Dream Factory: the strange history of our national imagination, Allen Lane, 2015,

Keri Smith, The Imaginary World of … , Penguin, 2014.


  1. Tony Wrench
    December 17, 2018

    Great list. May I recommend ‘ 21 lessons for the 21st Century’ by Yuval Noah Hariri. It brought home very clearly to me how we have created so many stories/religions that we are then bound by and beholden to.

  2. phil moore
    December 18, 2018

    another great list. can i ask: how do you find the time to read? that is, when do you read? and do you have any tips on keeping focused and on carving out the time
    to read? what i love about these lists is seeing how an invisible thread connects and weaves authors and their ideas together,
    some of whom may never have been in conversation with one another but no doubts some how
    informed by the ideasosphere. i wonder what such a list would look like, animated, against the wider arc of history/key events. thanks again for sharing and the inspiration. some more titles to add to my ever increasing and expanding lists.

    • Rob Hopkins
      December 29, 2018

      Hi. Good question. The short answer is with great difficulty. I think you have to be really determined to make reading a habit. So you have to create a space for it, independent of distractions (i.e. phone elsewhere). Always have a book with you. Turn your phone into a ‘brick’ phone so in quiet moments when you would normally fiddle about online, out comes the book. It’s not easy though, our brains have been rewired over the last 5-10 years, often in ways we’re not aware of, until we sit down to read a book! Good luck with it, it’s worth the persverence. I would also say also to find a book that a friend might like to read and to read it in parallel and to meet regularly, say for breakfast, to discuss it. That can be great…

      • phil
        December 29, 2018

        hello. great stuff — thanks. and yes, always carry a book: a habit i formed before owning a smartphone. i guess i get distracted by the volume & newness of the many books/articles on my radar. a reading ‘account-a-billie-buddy’ is a great idea too. here’s to 2019 and taking one page at a time, one after the other and on and on… cheers.

  3. Greg Sedbrook
    December 21, 2018


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