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Reading list

8 books for me, my garden, and tomorrow

Talking about major dilemmas, should you continue to keep abreast of the upheavals in our lives, or remain blissfully ignorant of such information, so as to preserve your well-being and peace of mind? Here are some thoughts by biologists, mathematicians, economists, knowledge engineers, to think outside the box.

Antidote au culte de la performance: La robustesse du vivant

By Olivier Hamant Également Also author of La troisième voie du vivant (Odile Jacob 2022)
Gallimard 2023

“When threatened, nature becomes threatening: our excessive control has caused us to lose control. We are now going to have to live in a fluctuating world, i.e. invent a civilization of robustness, against performance.” Here are some fundamental thoughts on robustness, inspired by the living world and its long temporality, and arguments against the obsolete futures proffered by sustainable development theories.

Optimal Illusion

By Coco Krumme
Riverhead Books 2023

Optimization is the driving force of our modern world; it underpins everything, from airline schedules to matches on dating websites. Obsessed by optimal performance, we seek efficiency in our daily lives. How did a mathematical principle come to be an excessive cultural form? And what do lose when we gain efficiency? It limits our options and shrinks our perspectives. Let’s think again…

Beyond Disruption

By W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne
Harvard Business Review Press 2023

Did you enjoy their Blue Ocean Strategy? Beyond Disruption is along the same positive lines, applied to innovation: how to escape a Schumpeterian vision of disruptive innovation, which often has a heavy social and economic impact? How can innovation benefit all? An inspiring alternative to the frantic race for innovation at any cost.

Five Times Faster

By Simon Sharpe
Cambridge U. Press, 2023

Quiiiiick! Sharpe rings the alarm bell about the need to decarbonize the world economy five times faster this decade than has been achieved these past two decades if we want to meet our global warming goals. He suggests ways and means for scientists, economists and diplomats to help.

The Great Remobilization

By Olaf Groth, Mark Esposito and Terence Tse
MIT Press 2023

Tectonic… The authors address a new generation of “design activist leaders”. Focusing on the key tectonic shifts they call the Five Cs – COVID, the Cognitive economy, Cybersecurity, Carbon management, and China—they examine the implications that new forces and logics will have on countries, organizations, and individuals.

L’Hypothèse K

By Aurélien Barrau
Grasset 2023

Science may be essential to describe how exactly our world is crumbling (species and populations are collapsing, pollution and heat kill, etc.), yet it remains silent on which direction needs to be taken. If science is considered as a mere tool, it will do no more than contribute to a faster collapse. Barrau pleads for science to be deviant (and proudly so).

Peut-on encore croire au progrès ?

By Nicolas Bouzou, Cynthia Fleury, and al.
Ed. de l’Aube 2023

What is progress? A desire, a certainty? A vision of the world? Thinkers of our times, such as the economist Nicolas Bouzou, the philosopher and psychoanalyst Cynthia Fleury, the physicist Étienne Klein and the sociologists Jean Viart, share their outlook on an essential issue: progress and our society’s perception of progress. A MUST-READ!

Chroniques anticapitalistes

By David Harvey
Ed. Zulma 2023

The French translation of The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles has just been published. In 19 chronicles, Harvey denounces capitalism as “too big to fail, too monstrous to survive” and shows how it tries to avoid collapse by shoring up central banks, appropriating collective wealth through debt, and by allying with reactionaries and nationalists. Granted, not the cheeriest stocking-filler.

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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.