Commonplace

My First Summer In The Sierra - John Muir

My First Summer In The Sierra - John Muir

John Muir can wax poetic about exploring a forest better than any writer I've read to date. When I am frazzled and frustrated (and can't go for a hike myself), reading this is the next best path to calm.

The Laws of Simplicity - John Maeda

The Laws of Simplicity - John Maeda

This shiny little book provides ten easily digestible guidelines around Maeda's philosophy of simplicity in product design. It serves as a great reminder (and loaner) for those of us who sometimes find it difficult to describe to others the beauty and benefits of simplicity. I've lent this to students more than any other book. (That is, I've had several copies.)

Simple Fly Fishing - Yvon Chouinard

Simple Fly Fishing - Yvon Chouinard

A comprehensive and accessible book on the subject of Tenkara fly fishing. Like the philosophy that underpins many of the books in this list, Tenkara celebrates the idea that "the more you know, the less you need." In this short text, Yvon Chouinard unpacks this simple fishing technique and the tools and techniques that make it beautiful. 

The Unsettling Of America — Wendell Berry

The Unsettling Of America — Wendell Berry

What is arguably the seminal work of one of our favorite writers Wendell Berry, this series of essays is as refreshingly clear-headed, needed, and relevant as it was when it was first published in 1977.

The Anarchist's Tool Chest — Christopher Schwarz

The Anarchist's Tool Chest — Christopher Schwarz

A tome on self-reliance as much as it is on woodworking, the Anarchist's Tool Chest, by Christopher Schwarz takes you from an enthusiast with no tools and no skills to a skilled user of traditional hand tools armed with knowledge borne of creating a chest to store them in.