Reading List

The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future

Andrew Pickering

Exploring the forgotten history of british cybernetics. What underpins this fascinating history, Pickering contends, is a shared but unconventional vision of the world as ultimately unknowable, a place where genuine novelty is always emerging. And thus, Pickering avers, the history of cybernetics provides us with an imaginative model of open-ended experimentation in stark opposition to the modern urge to achieve domination over nature and each other.

Designing Freedom

Stafford Beer

Distinguished cyberneticist Stafford Beer states the case for a new science of systems theory and cybernetics, examining such issues as A Liberty Machine in Prototype, Science in the Service of Man, and The Free Man in a Cybernetic World.

Brain of the Firm

Stafford Beer

Brain of the Firm develops an account of the firm based upon insights derived from the study of the human nervous system, and is a basic text from the author’s theory of viable systems.

Transforming Technology

Andrew Feenberg

Rethinks the relationships between technology, rationality, and democracy, arguing that the degradation of labor–as well as of many environmental, educational, and political systems–is rooted in the social values that preside over technological development.

Peer-to-Peer: A Commons Manifesto

Michel Bauwens, Vasilis Kostakis, Alex Pazaitis

Peer to peer is a type of social relations in human networks, as well as a technological infrastructure that makes the generalization and scaling up of such relations possible. Thus, peer to peer enables a new mode of production and creates the potential for a transition to a commons-oriented economy.

Loomio Co-Op Handbook

With the right collaborative process, groups generate better ideas, decisions and actions than any individual would by themselves. The Loomio Co-operative aims to break down the barriers to participation in decision-making at every level: in neighbourhoods, community organisations, businesses, social movements, and local and national governance.

Platform Capitalism

Nick Srnicek

This book critically examines these new business forms, tracing their genesis from the long downturn of the 1970s to the boom and bust of the 1990s and the aftershocks of the 2008 crisis. It shows how the fundamental foundations of the economy are rapidly being carved up among a small number of monopolistic platforms, and how the platform introduces new tendencies within capitalism that pose significant challenges to any vision of a post-capitalist future.

Better Work Together

Enspiral Foundation

A collection of real stories and tools from the front lines of the future of working together.

Organizing for Power: Stealing Fire From the Gods

Amelia Davenport

Amelia Davenport argues for leftist organizers to reclaim the ideas of Taylor’s Scientific Management, making a broader argument for the relevance of cybernetics, cultural revolution in the workers’ movement, and a Promethean vision of socialism.

The Mushroom at the End of the World

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

By investigating one of the world’s most sought-after fungi, The Mushroom at the End of the World presents an original examination into the relation between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.

Design, When Everybody Designs

Ezio Manzini

An essential read for all those that are engaged in or are affected by design and design processes—in other words, all of us.