Community-adjacent book recommendations?

I’ve been reading Free, Fair, and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons, and feeling really excited about what I’m learning. It’s about the concept of “commons” more generally — lots of examples of successful/sustainable commons projects and what traits they share; and the shifts in our worldview, language, and ways of thinking that help make commons possible.

If anyone has read this book or wants to read it, I would love to talk about it!

I’m also curious what other books folks recommend that are about topics adjacent to intentional community?


Thanks for the tip elsbeth - This sounds like a great book and I just bought it. Book club on the forum? Anyone else want to join?

I just took the FIC’s Becoming a Communitarian and there were tons of books that were mentioned there - let me see if I can figure out how to share a list.


I’d definitely be interested in joining a book group! When Covid started, the library book group I was a part of at first used Slack, and I thought it went really well. We would have three weeks to read the book, and once a day during the last week, the librarian would post questions, and we’d all write in our thoughts. And we could also post our own questions for the group. I loved it. It later went on to Zoom, and that was okay, but like most Zoom meetings, not everyone has a chance to talk.

I think this new FIC forum would work out great!


I just checked out the book, Free, Fair, and Alive, to take a look. The other book I’ve wanted to discuss in a book club setting is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.


I’d be into reading and discussing Braiding Sweetgrass! I have that on my Kindle, but haven’t read it yet.
Would you want to do the whole book at once? Or split it into thirds?

It’s also available in the Apple store. The audiobook is nearly $20 (not including any tax).

Maybe discuss by chapters?

I’ve started reading Free, Fair and Alive, but haven’t made a lot of progress. I’ve also ordered my own copy of Braiding Sweetgrass since I returned the copy I read to the library. We can discuss either in a couple of weeks.

Sounds great! Let me know when you’re ready to start!

FYI — we just got several new books added to the Communities Bookstore — including classics like Dianna Leafe Christian’s Creating a Life Together and Finding Community. Lots to explore!

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I find that I don’t have the energy to read the book again just now. Maybe as the seasons change that will change also. And maybe another person will be ready to join us.

I just picked up Governing the Commons by Elinor Ostrom. Definitely more academic then practical but does layout a theoretical framework for collective governance and soundly refuted the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ paradigm.

May be an unpopular opinion but I think books like “the art of frugal hedonism” are pretty good reads for intentionally-minded people. These books show you what you can and can’t control and how to enjoy life regardless of wealth or control. I think it’s a good exercise in reducing ego, which can be deadly to community if over-inflated.

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I’d strongly reccomend Diana Leafe Christian’s Creating A Life Together. It was an extraordinarily useful text to read together and workshop from when we were creating our IC, Sunflower River, back in 2006-07. We are still going 15 years later so some of that advice must have been good!

Back to the “commons” idea - any thing from Jug End, at Great Barrington, MA (Shumacher Society, New Economy) covers that topic W I D E & deep and has done so for 50 + yrs.
May B the ones who coined that phrase as it is where I 1st heard it early '80s. Murry Bookchin is a fav of mine, the Diggers, the Feminist Reconstruction or Feminist Commons Movement, Barry Commoner, Henery George (some communitarians claim him as assisting their community get started), Vadana Shiva and more. Book clubs R great as ppl can state their ideas from the reading, hear others and develop understanding. Too busy myself tho~