I’ve tried to organize the following books, websites, and videos in some kind of logical order based on topic. There are some here that I’ve read that for one reason or another didn’t make it into Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth. This is my way of giving credit to those authors who I haven’t mentioned, as well as those I have. I recommend every book, website, and video on this list. If I didn’t think they were worth reading or watching I wouldn’t have put them here. Some of them I have reviewed for Goodreads. If so, I’ve linked the entry to my review so that you can see what I thought about it before you buy it.
General Tolkien Books and Resources
Tolkien reading and singing: There is a recording out there of him reading, and singing key sections from LOTR. I once found it in the local library. There is a segment on Spotify as well. These recordings are some of the most amazing things you’re ever going to hear. Trust me on that one.
TheOneRing.net: If you want to know about Tolkien, his books, the movies, and join the largest community of fans on the web, this is it. These guys rock.
The Happy Hobbit: This is the home of the biggest Tolkien fans on Earth. Check out Kili and Fili, for a ton of dorky, fun, happy Hobbity videos, recipes, stories, advice, and laughs. These two sisters are big contributors to TheOneRing.net and have interviewed many of the stars from the movies. Plus, they’re nuts, and cute.
Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth on Facebook:Don’t forget to ‘like’ the official page for the book for updates on the Hobbit Revolution, recipes, Hobbity projects, photos, events, etc.
Patrick Curry, Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien: Myth and Modernity. Curry examines Tolkien’s work to find spiritual and ethical lessons for our modern world. At the same time he examines Tolkien’s view on ecology and the environment.
John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth. Excellent and fascinating examination of Tolkien’s war years and how those experiences influenced the creation of Middle Earth and the story of the War of the Ring.
Being a Hobbit: The Inner Journey
The following are books, articles, and videos about our inner psychology. This is probably the most important stuff on the list. These books have been indispensable to me, and will continue to be so. If you are struggling with anxiety, anger, depression, or just a negative story, like me, then this is the starting point.
The Path We Take: This new site, created by high school teacher, Andrew Jones, a personal friend of mine from Anchor, is dedicated to collecting answers to life’s biggest and smallest problems and questions, questions posed by high school students and young adults. Soon, it will also be a mobile app, that kids, parents, and anyone can download, for free, to help with problems from “what life skill should everyone learn?” to “How do I deal with domestic violence?” One of the most Hobbity, and important projects going on today. Please consider helping out! Join Andrew and myself on Anchor, too! You can help answer questions on there, every day!
Jim Carrey’s full graduation speech at Maharishi University of Management. This might be the most inspirational speech ever given. I’m not kidding you. If you don’t weep, you’re wearing toe-tags and lying in a freezer on a sliding tray. Any time I need an uplift, I watch this, and the next one on the list.
Matt Harding, Where the Hell is Matt? If there was ever a modern Hobbit, it is Matt Harding. He has literally been ‘There and Back Again” several times, and wherever he goes he spreads goodwill, happiness, and his kick-ass dance moves. He should be given a Noble Peace Prize. Watch’em! It will revive your faith in our shared humanity.
Andrea Balt, 30 Questions you should answer before you die. After the videos, START HERE! Don’t be afraid, Frodo. I dare ya! This list of question is the reason you have my book in your hand. You’ll be amazed what happens when you answer them.
Daniel Quinn, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit. Read everything he’s written after that. Without this book my book would never have been written. Period. Quinn is a Gandalf and a Zen Master Monk.
Jim Loehr, The Power of Story : Rewrite Your Destiny in Business and in Life.Loehr is one of the pioneers of sports psychology, and this book is a perfect follow up to the 30 Questions. Read it and discover your life’s purpose. Without that? You have nothing.
Martin E.P. Seligman, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being.Seligman is a pioneer in the field of positive psychology and there are some effective strategies in his book that dovetail nicely with Loehr’s, and can help you in the process of rewriting your negative story.
Brigid Schulte, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. Don’t have time to change your life, or save the Earth? Brigid’s book will reveal why we don’t have that time, and give you some hints at how to fix that. This is a very valuable book for workaholics, which it turns out, is most of us. READ THIS BOOK!
S.J. Scott’s 23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to Stop Being Lazy and Get Results in Your Life. S. J.’s book helped me to get organized so that I could write a 500 page book about saving the Earth. Without it, I doubt I would have been able to do it. This is a short book, unlike mine, but indispensable.
Tom Shadyac, Life’s Operating Manual: With the Fear and Truth Dialogues. Director of many films, including Bruce Almighty, and another Daniel Quinn fan, like me. I didn’t mention his book in the text—I don’t think—but the story of how he was exposed to the Ring—Quinn’s thesis—is a fun read.
The Shire Revolution
The following books, articles deal with the pieces and parts of what I call the Shire Revolution which is already in motion. The more you read from this list, the more you will see that Hobbits are on the move, all around you. We just need to start linking them all together.
Russell Brand, Revolution.If you want to read an on point rant about what’s wrong with the planet, and why, this is the book to read. Plus you’ll laugh your ass off. Russell will tell you that the revolution is already happening and that all we need to accomplish it is to believe we can. He’s right. He’s more Dwarf than Hobbit, but that’s why I like him; so am I.
Ron Finley’s TED Talk video.This Hobbit is the master gardener of the inner city. He is leading a revolution of community gardening, and you absolutely must watch his video, then follow him on Facebook, Twitter, his website.
Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. One of the most important books on how movements and revolutions begin. Gladwell demonstrates that we only need a small percentage of the population to switch to a sustainable, Hobbit-like mentality in order to tip the entire planet that way. Read his book, then let’s get going!
James Wallman, Stuffocation: How We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Why You Need Experience More than Ever.Wallman is an expert in the business world at predicting future trends. He says the future is in Experientialism. He’s right. Read it. It will give you some hope for the future, and some ideas on how you can help to save the planet.
Rachel Botsman, What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption Botsman argues that a new economic revolution has already begun, and that it is based on cooperation, and shared ownership. Indispensable for Hobbits and Hobbit business people.
Lisa Gansky, The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing Gansky lays out the new business model for the 21st Century, and it’s not some huggy-wuggy, theoretical model either; businesses all over the world are making millions following the new way. If you want to run a Shire-minded business, you need her book.
Gar Alperovitz, What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution. Gar’s book is dark because the situation in American politics is nasty. He lays out some possible solutions, which includes a bottom up, local approach.
Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer, The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government. Written by an ex-presidential speech writer (Liu) and a dot.com billionaire (Hanauer/Amazon), Gardens of Democracy lays out their plan for a new, or revised, form of American democracy that promises to solve the crises that now face the United States and the world at large. Their proposal is mostly top-down, but their ‘ends’ are very interesting reading, and their insight into the 1% is enlightening.
Robert David Steele, The Open Source Everything: Transparency, Truth and Trust. Steele argues that the new revolution must come from the bottom-up, a peaceful grass-roots change of mind about how we govern and organize ourselves. Instead of focusing on secret intelligence, like governments, militaries, and corporations have been doing forever, he argues that we need Open Source Intelligence, on every aspect of life, from government to business, food production to technology, in order to tap into the most effective resource available to us: the collective human brain (all 7 billion of them).
Jane McGonigal’s site, Games to Change the World: http://janemcgonigal.com/play-me/ and her book, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. They’re not just about games, but about why the real world is not what it should be, and then, how games can fix that. Not just fix it, but literally ‘change the world.’ Read it if you love games. If you don’t love games, then you should be duct-taped to a chair and forced to read it.
Enlītānment Studios, LLC. My brother, Tim’s computer game company. He’s really just getting started but he has some very interesting ideas about creating fun games that will also help to make the world a better place. Please check it out and make sure to like the page and keep an eye on his projects! If you’re interested in helping him, and me, develop a Hobbity-Shire-y game based on the ideas in this book, please contact us!
David Bollier, Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons. Bollier reveals how the corporate world has been encroaching and usurping the resources that were once held in Common by the citizens of Earth. If you want to know how the Sarumans operate, this is a good book for you. Also, he gives us hope by showing how modern Hobbits are resisting these efforts and creating new commons. A very good read.
Cat Johnson, “How To Convert a Business into a Worker-owned Cooperative.”
Joseph Parent’s, Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game. The great Bullroarer Took would have killed to have this book in his Hobbit-hole. If you’re a fan of the game, and want to know how playing it can make your life better? This is the book. Hint: It’s not really about golf. Well, not really.
Cleaning Up the Hobbit-hole, the Shire and the Earth
The following are resources to help you with the details of cleaning up your homes, farms, communities, and governments.
Allan Savory, The Grazing Revolution: A Radical Plan to Save the Earth Savory, a South African scientist with decades of research into the phenomenon of desertification, has found a way to reverse that process, and the solution will blow your mind, as well as feed millions of people.
Bea Johnson, Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste An essential guide for modern Hobbits to cut your waste impact, and save money.
Beth Terry, Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too Best guide out there when you get ready to rid your Hobbit-hole of orcish plastics.
H.C. Flores, Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden And Your Neighborhood into a Community Are you tired of mowing your lawn, pulling dandelions, spraying it with toxic chemicals, feeding it with artificial fertilizers that kill our rivers and oceans, and paying the water bill to keep it from turning brown every summer? If not, don’t read this book. If so, then you really SHOULD read it, because Ms. Flores will tell you why you should get rid of all that worthless grass, and plant food instead.
Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance And excellent look at the corruption and greed that runs America, from the inside by one of the only —dare I say—honest politicians on Earth. If you’re into politics and solving things from the top down, read her book. If she runs for president, vote for her.
Lansing Shepard, Daniel Imhoff, Paula Westmoreland, Mark Ritchie, This Perennial Land: Third Crops, Blue Earth, and the Road to a Restorative Agriculture Lays out the problems of modern agriculture, mono-crops, cultivating marginal lands, chemical runnoff, water pollution, and how some farms in Minnesota are working to restore the land to a more sustainable form of agriculture.
Linda Sue Park, A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story Via a true story, examines the plight of children in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the girls, who have to carry water for miles.
Our Burning Shire
These are some of the books I read during my binge before writing Be a Hobbit. If you really want to know more about what’s wrong with our planet and the way we are treating it, proceed. But do it with caution. I warn you, the picture is even bleaker than I had time to reveal in the book. Make sure to have some bourbon handy.
The World Watch Institute, State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? If you want the hard truth about the state of the world, this is it. Warning, it isn’t pretty, but you need to know it. The articles aren’t written by journalists, either, but by the scientists and academics who are studying these topics, every day. I disagree with some of their arguments, especially that the only real solutions to the problems can come from big government. On that one, I strongly disagree. But their assessments of what is wrong? Dead on, I’m afraid.
David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years This book, written by an anthropologist, will kick you right in the balls. If you want to know why everyone on Earth is in debt, Graeber will tell you. This is an excellent book on the evils of uncontrolled corporate capitalism, and how it came to be.
Thom Hartmann, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It’s Too Late Hartmann paints a bleak picture of our Earth as we run up to the end of fossil fuels, and makes a plea to abandon them before it’s too late.
Alfred W. Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900Examines the factors that allowed Europeans to imperialize some areas of the globe while failing to do so in others.