Music pioneer Brian Eno is also a founding member of the Long Now Foundation, a San Francisco non-profit aimed at promoting slower and smarter thinking. One of its most recent projects is the Manual for Civilization, a collaborative collection of books most needed to sustain or rebuild civilization. Eno contributed 20 titles to the project, including da Vinci’s Notebooks, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and other works exploring consciousness, capitalism, art, and the human condition.

Read on for Brian Eno’s book recommendations for the apocalypse, and complement with the reading lists of David Bowie and David Lynch.


Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott

The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art by David Lewis-Williams

Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti

The Wheels of Commerce by Fernand Braudel

Keeping Together in Time by William McNeill 

Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich

Roll Jordan Roll by Eugene Genovese

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander et al

The Face of Battle by John Keegan

A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor 

Contingency, Irony and Solidarity by Richard Rorty

The Notebooks by Leonardo da Vinci

The Confidence Trap by David Runciman

The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin

Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection by Sarah Hrdy

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (also rec’d by Bob Dylan, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King Jr. & Nelson Mandela)

The Cambridge World History of Food (2-Volume Set) by Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas

The Illustrated Flora of Britain and Northern Europe by Marjorie Blamey and Christopher Grey Wilson

Printing and the Mind of Man by John Carter and Percy Muir

Peter the Great: His Life and World by Richard Massie

(via Brain Pickings)

Categories: Artists Musicians

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