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Feedback on proposed 99 book "Personal Bachelor in Permaculture" (PBP)

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Hello there! My first post.

I'm a British student currently close to finishing a bachelor degree in event management in Shanghai, China.

Before starting my university education, I committed to also reading this list by Josh Kaufman called the Personal MBA. It divides business up into 25 categories listing the several best books that cover the most relevant and crucial to know things. The final reading list topped at 99 books. The idea being that you shouldn't need to pay $100,000 for an MBA to know how to do great business.

Well, last month I finished the reading list and the overall effectiveness of the reading list was far greater than the university education was/is.

So, I got to thinking... I did the Personal MBA in my spare time, over a few years, and gained a HUGE amount of life changing knowledge... Why not do the same with other subjects?

In the summer, while traveling through Vietnam, I somehow ran across Permaculture and loved the idea and concept. I really want to go deep into this subject and feel that creating a kind of "Personal Bachelor in Permaculture" (or PBP) would be a really good way for me to do it (since I'm such a bookworm).

So, I've been poking around the community, trying to figure out what's important (other peoples reading lists were very helpful here) and doing a bit of pre-reading (read about 10 permie books so far), watching vids, taking online PDCs etc. And I think I've got a good feel for what a PBP might contain.

I'm looking for feedback from people who've already 'been-there-done-that' on what the really good books are in the different categories and which ones contain a lot of overlap (and if I've missed any important categories) .

I'm also slightly concerned about the lack of books on the list to do with fish.

Also, one last thing. If you suggest a book to add... could you also suggest a book to remove? Otherwise it's just going to end up as a HUGE list defeating the purpose of a small tight education.


- James

The PBP V 0.1


Geomatics engineering: A Practical Guide to Project Design - Clement A. Ogaja
Site Engineering for Landscape Architects - Steven Strom
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands (Vol. 1): Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life And Landscape - Brad Lancaster
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond (Vol. 2): Water-Harvesting Earthworks - Brad Lancaster
Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds for Domestic Supply, Fire and Emergency Use - Art Ludwig
Making Maps - A Visual Guide to Map Design For GIS - John Kruggier

Soil Science

Teaming with Microbes - Jeff Lowenfels
Adding Biology for Soil and Hydroponic Systems - Elaine Ingham
Earth Repair: A Grassroots Guide to Healing Toxic and Damaged Landscapes - Leila Darwish
Teaming with Nutrients - Jeff Lowenfels
Weeds and What they Tell - Ehrenfriend Pfeiffer
The Soul of Soil: A Soil-Building Guide for Master Gardeners and Farmers - Grace Gershuny
Ecology: Global Insights & Investigation - Peter Stiling


Edible Plants - Plants for a future and Trevor Pemberton
Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles
Stalking the wild Asparagus - Euell Gibbons
Stalking the Healthful Herbs - Euell Gibbons
Growing Fruit Trees - Jean Marie Lespinesse
Plants for a Future, Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World - Ken Fern


Gaia's Garden, Second Edition - Toby Hemingway
Permaculture: A Designer's Manual - Bill Mollison
The Ultimate Guide To Permaculture - Nicole Faires
The One-Straw Revolution - Masanobu Fukuoka
Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture - Sepp Holzer
Designing And Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally - Robert Kourik
The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach - Ben Falk


The Woodland Year - Ben Law
The Woodland Way - Ben Law
Woodland Management: A Practical Guide - Chris Starr
The Book of Bamboo: A Comprehensive Guide to This Remarkable Plant, Its Uses, and Its History - David Farrelly

Natural Construction

Building Green - Clarke Snell
The Hand-Sculpted House - Ianto Evans
Mortgage Free - off the Money Grid - Rob Roy
Timeless Way of Building - Christopher Alexander
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction - Christopher Alexander
The Sustainable Building Bible: An Insiders' Guide to eco-renovation & Newbuilding - Tim Pullen
Earth-Sheltered Houses - Rob Roy
The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book - Rob Roy


Right Way to Keep Chickens - Virginia Shirt
Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard - Jessi Bloom
Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, 2nd Edition: Breeds, Care, Health - Dave Holderread
Keeping Geese: Breeds and Management - Chris Ashton


Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits, 4th Edition - Bob Bennett
How to Raise Goats - Carol Amundson
Complete Horse Care Manual - Colin Vogel
Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook - Thomas Gore
What Every Horse Should Know - Cherry Hill
How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond - Cesar Millan
Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog - Brenda Aloff
The Dog Listener: Learn How to Communicate with Your Dog for Willing Cooperation - Jan Fennell
Practical Cattle Farming - Kat Bazeley
Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs: 3rd Edition by Kelly Klober
Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep, 4th Edition: Breeding, Care, Facilities - Carol Ekarius


Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together by Sylvia Bernstein


A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them - Sue Hubbell
Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture - Ross Conrad
Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America - Eric R. Eaton


Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmers Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving - Carol Deppe
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners - Suzanne Ashworth and Kent Whealy


All New Square Foot Gardening - Mel Bartholomew
Grass, the Forgiveness of Nature - Charles Walters
Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, Second Edition - Stephen R. Gliessman
Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres - Pam Dawling
The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist - Michael Phillips
What's Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?) by David Deardorff, Kathryn Wadsworth
The New Seed Starter's Handbook by Nancy Bubel

Reverse Desertification

Holistic Management Handbook: Healthy Land, Healthy Profits - Jody Butterfield , Sam Bingham, Allan Savory


High-yield Gardening - Marjorie Hunt
Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening - Riotte, Louise


Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms - Paul Stamets
Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World - Paul Stamets
Taming the Truffle: The History, Lore, and Science of the Ultimate Mushroom - Ian R. Hall

Organic Farming

How to Grow More Vegetables, Eighth Edition - Jeavons, John
The Winter Harvest Handbook - Eliot Coleman
Small-Scale Grain Raising - Gene Logsdon
Farmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan - F. H. King


Encyclopaedia for Country Living - Carla Emory
Backwoods Homes Magazine: Canning and Homesteading - Jackie Clay

Weed and Pest Control

Weeds: Control Without Poisons - Charles Walters

The Business of Farming

Making Your Small Farm Profitable
The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook - Richard Wiswall
Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered - Woody Tasch
Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture - Elizabeth Henderson
Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered - Schumacher, E.F. and Jonathan Porritt
Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation - Sharon Astyk
The Human-Powered Home: Choosing Muscles Over Motors - Tamara Dean
The Profitable Hobby Farm - Aubrey

Grey Water

The New Create an Oasis with Greywater: Choosing, Building, and Using Greywater Systems, Includes Branched Drains - Art Ludwig


Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants
No Work Garden Book - Ruth Stout
Humanaure Handbook - Joseph Jenkins
The Worm Book: The Complete Guide to Gardening and Composting with Worms by Loren Nancarrow, Janet Hogan Taylo


Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - Paul Wheaton (DVD) [I know its not a book but It seems to be the ONLY good source on rocket mass stoves that's up to date]
Microhydro: Clean Power from Water - Davis
Wind Power - Peter Musgrove
Forest Based Biomass Energy - Spellman


Four-Season Harvest - Eliot Coleman
Solar Gardening - Leandre and Gretchen Poisson
Microclimatic Landscape Design - Robert D. Brown

Food Forests

WoodLand Gardening - Plants for a Future
Forest Gardening - Robert Hart
How to Make a Forest Garden - Patrick Whitefield
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This is a great idea. I love books. I love collecting them and reading them.

One thing I've learned in my studies is that context is important. Because every work has to establish some level of credibility in the reader before they will engage with it, it could be useful to know the significance of each book in the list. You are interested in removing books from the list in order to make it less overwhelming, which is an attempt at this exact thing. If certain books are known to be filled with shoddy ideas and have been rejected by the community, that context is important. Likewise, books that have established a reputation as must-reads should be represented as such.

I am unfamiliar with most of the books on this list, but will keep this project in mind. Would you be able to provide any information about how you assembled the list? How was each book included? Getting that kind of information could give the list some very unique value. One of the reasons people go to universities, after all, is because they want to read texts that have been vetted by a professional group of scholars.
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Location: Rutland VT
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Edible Forest Gardens Vol 1 and 2 by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. They have a depth and detail that even Mollison's book did not achieve, IMO.

AND they have enough different books/studies/etc in their references to fill a library.
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Location: Augusta,Ks
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I did not know I was working on my bachelor degree! Damn, I just thought I was educating myself! Or wasting time, however you want to define it.

Lots of good books there, but so many that I haven't read, it's hard to comment. Also what is right for me, may not be right for you.

Like most, ignorance will not keep me from commenting though.


Recirculating Aquaculture- Timmons (get out your checkbook) hard to find and expensive, but excellent!


Barefoot Beekeeper P.J Chandler


The New Organic Grower- Elliot Coleman

How to grow more vegetable....- John Jeavons

Honestly, I would throw one out here. I am just not a big fan of the book square foot gardening. It is the same methods used in french intensive, except in a fake soil mixture, trying to be passed off as the author's own idea. It should be sub-titled "how to be really impressed with your self". It just turns me off. It does have some good advice/tables for people who recently discovered vegetables are grown, not actually made in grocery stores, but if you have ever seen a growing vegetable, not much of value.

I would also add

"Pastured Poultry Profits"- Salatin Good advice on raising meat birds, and the farming fo' mo'money aspect.

I could recommend a ton more, but honestly I have not read so many of your books, because I was not going for a degree, and had no interest in the subject. For example, I don't know if the duck and geese books are good, because I do not like ducks or geese.

Kinda a cool idea, though.

Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Cool idea. Would be cool to link to the book reviews if they exist.

Coleman's New Organic Grower over Four Season Garden if you have to choose.
Growing more Veg over Square Foot, if I'm choosing.
I'd add some more plant id - nominating one of my faves, Weeds of the West, but there are others I'm sure. Maybe it is a Chinese menu of certain books by region? Reserve 5 books for your local biota? Another one that I like for understanding our native ecosystem plant communities is Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Uplands but it's not one I'd put on a global list.

Is it just me? Every time I see this thread title in the topic list, I think it's about a book proposal for 99¢ memoir by a permie dude on the hunt for an earth goddess. Scratch that, it IS just me. Please don't change it-I need the laugh.
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Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Haha Ann. When I read the title I thought it was going to be about a gent that was writing a book about his journey to find his "earth goddess" as you call it.

This topic (books) is a great one, though. I love to read and have an ever growing stack of books to wade through. Another couple possible suggestions...

The Forager's Harvest - Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer
Nature's Garden - Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer
The Grafter's Handbook by R.J. Garner
The Permaculture Handbook by Peter Bane

I just cannot bring myself to read Permaculture: A Designer's Manual by Bill Mollison. I have tried, I mean really tried. I don't know if it is his writing style or what. I just glaze over when I start to read this and cannot focus. I started in the book reading group on here to try to force myself too. I made it one chapter and now I just look at the book, knowing I should keep going, but just cannot bring myself to pick it up. Don't get me wrong, I am sure the information is quite valuable, but for me, that one might be a "pick it up and spot read" for the applicable information I am learning at that time. It is not a sit and read from cover to cover for me. That is just my opinion, though.
Ann Torrence
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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You might read the (very short) ending summaries for Chapters 2-4 and then come back in to the read-along starting on Chapter 5. If it hadn't been my stupid idea, I would have dropped out too. I've worked through all of Edible Food Forests 1 and half of 2, so it's not diligence. Mollison's style is meandering. Perhaps he didn't realize he was making niches for so many other books on the topic.!
Jen Shrock
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Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Not a stupid idea at all Ann. It is great getting multiple perspectives on the same information. Stretches me to think beyond my own interpretation of the material. Sometimes there is even an ah-ha moment based on others comments. Thanks for the suggestion...I just might do that. Based on all of the books already mentioned in this thread, it looks like there are many more future candidates for future reading and group discussion. A good excuse for me to feed my book hoarding tendencies, too!
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Great idea to come up with this and sharing a very in depth book list. One thing I would add would be the Nature of Order by Christopher Alexander as I think it summarizes his other works better and helps the reader implement them into his/her community better. It would also be good to try and get opinions on how to formulate a test encompassing some key principles from each book. Carol Deppes book on how to breed your on vegetable is also a must read in my opinion. There are a few others like anything from Sir Albert Howard.
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