I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns.
First of all, I would like to thank authors for letting me read a draft review copy and to share my experiences with this book.
I live in a cold climate, so this book is tailored exactly for my needs. I'm in a transition phase between corporate job and early retirement combined with homesteading, so it fits perfectly my situation. I was an avid reader of permies.com and Paul's writings for over six years, so after reading the table of contents I was pretty sure that "I know it all". I was wrong.
The book sums it up. It makes connections between separate topics I thought I knew, by providing metrics for each problem and solution. It is deeply rooted in original meaning of permaculture, it is positivistic and down to earth practical. The book encourages you to take action and to lead by example, which is exactly what I'm trying to do on my small scale. It gives you opportunity to see your score on the Wheaton Eco Scale, which is pretty good reality check of how "green" you are.
In the book everyone will find something that can be applied in own backyard or homestead. Arsenal of techniques is rich: hugels, trees, perennial, wind, polycultures, composting, lawn care, rotational grazing, animal care, fencing, bees, natural swimming pools and famous wofati - a truly ecological building. It even answers a fundamental question where to pee and introduces some diversity to this noble task.
The biggest surprise in this book is that, although it is 200 pages long, it actually never ends. For each concept presented in the book, a link is provided. The links make it very easy to find a reference to the particular concept in a jungle of posts on permies.com - the book can be expanded enormously by following the links! Whooping number of over 350 links! And if it is still not enough, you can ask for more information there, and nice folks will surely help you out.
After attempting to practice permaculture for a couple of years, I know that some things are not as simple, as the book describes them, and before trying to implement them in your own backyard, you'd better follow the links and learn more. This book content-forum content connection is precious and allows me to give this book the highest score. And it is so … permaculture.
I have cackled wildly at least once, with permission of the author :) Why? Read chapter 10. The Story of Gert was a life changer to me some time ago when it has appeared on permies.com for the first time, and I hope it will change way more lives (thanks Paul, I owe you).
As Conclusions chapter says, we have to "share the problems and a set of spiffy solutions that can be done at home." and that's exactly what this book is about. It is a book for eco-warrior, not for an unwitting eco-poser. As the book says "for nearly every global problem, there are solutions we can implement in our backyard that save us money and help us live more luxuriant lives." Let's do it now!