Brian Eno’s Selected Books for the Manual for Civilization

Posted on Friday, February 28th, 02014 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
link Categories: Book Lists, Long Now salon (Interval), Manual for Civilization, The Interval   chat 0 Comments

Brian Eno - Manual For Civilization
Brian Eno visited San Francisco to see the site where the Manual for Civilization shelves will be
Photo by Alexander Rose

Twenty books suggested by Long Now’s Founding Board Member Brian Eno form the first in a series of reports on additions to our Manual for Civilization collection. This library will eventually include 3,500 books you would most want to sustain or rebuild civilization. The Manual needs your help to get built!  Please make a donation so we can purchase these books and the shelves they go on.  The Manual will be a central feature of our new space that opens later this year. Here are Brian Eno’s recommendations:

We need your help to finish this library. There are only weeks left to finish our fund raising and we need to raise at least another $100,000. Please make a donation to support this project and get direct access to the book recommendation and voting engine for the Manual for Civilization.


Some of the other contributor lists we will be sharing soon include selections from Stewart Brand, Neal Stephenson, Violet Blue, Kevin Kelly, Danny Hillis, Megan and Rick Prelinger and many more.

Once the Salon is open we hope to have events where people can argue a new book in OR out of the collection.  It will be a living collection that evolves over time.  The Internet Archive has generously agreed to serve as the digital backup repository of the collection so that anyone with internet access can “check out” the books, or use the list to help create their version of the archive.

You can see more about this project on the original Manual for Civilization blog post.  Soon we will need to begin collecting the actual books for our shelves, and will be asking for book donations from our edited list.  We hope that we can get many of these books from our community so that we don’t have to purchase too many new books.



  • Evan Machugh

    Origin of The Species? I’d also suggest ” The Better Angels of our Nature” by Steven Pinker.

  • Stuart Sovatsky

    Advanced Spiritual Intimacy (Inner Traditions 2014) Stuart Sovatsky

  • Jeremy Si

    The Law by Bastiat

  • Jeremy Si

    On the Shoulders of Giants by Stephen Hawking. ” World-renowned physicist and bestselling author Stephen Hawking presents a revolutionary look at the momentous discoveries that changed our perception of the world with this first-ever compilation of seven classic works on physics and astronomy. His choice of landmark writings by some of the world’s great thinkers traces the brilliant evolution of modern science and shows how each figure built upon the genius of his predecessors. On the Shoulders of Giants includes, in their entirety, On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus; Principia by Sir Isaac Newton; The Principle of Relativity by Albert Einstein; Dialogues Concerning Two Sciences by Galileo Galilei with Alfonso De Salvio; plus Mystery of the Cosmos, Harmony of the World, and Rudolphine Tables by Johannes Kepler. It also includes five critical essays and a biography of each featured physicist, written by Hawking himself.” Amazon

  • handymatt

    What, no Pocket Ref?

  • Geertje Geertsma

    Anne Frank … to learn about love and compassion

  • Wpmarcy

    Animal Farm, for every government to come and the people who will live under them.

  • Alan Davies

    Richard Tarnas – Cosmos & Psyche

  • Marilia

    Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

  • Nelis Willers

    Meaning of life, Victor Franklin. Written during WWII in a Nazi concentration camp. Frankl shows us how to find significant meaning in the darkest of circumstances.

  • Riana Willers

    Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry which teaches us about love, friendship and responsibility.

  • CRBoiler

    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe to learn one needs to consider risks of unintended consequences before acting.

  • jojothepojo

    Maps of consciousness by Ralph Metzner

  • lslapiko

    The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois

  • Emmanuele Padilla

    Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

  • Ideas about long-term thinking as a manual for civilization? Brian Eno couldn’t have chosen better: Elias Canetti “Crowds and Power”.

  • Ideas about long-term thinking as a manual for civilization? Brian Eno couldn’t have chosen better: Elias Canetti “Crowds and Power”.

  • Kent Durvin

    It was traditionally considered wrong because you can’t do it in Latin. There is no good reason to prohibit it in English.

  • Nick W

    The Better Angels of our Nature is probably the book I recommend the most to anyone. I picked it up initially because the premise seemed very interesting, but as I kept reading, I was astonished at what I learned. Not only does it exhaustively argue its point so well that only the most hardened cynic would try to disagree, it culminates in what almost seems like a “how to guide” for humanity. Couldn’t think of a more relevant book for a collection with this goal. If it doesn’t make it into the collection, I would be surprised and disappointed.

  • concerned Buddhist

    Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translations of the Majjhima, Samyutta & Anguttara Nikayas, Maurice Walshe’s translation of the Digha Nikaya, all of the Pali Canon, the collections of the spoken word of the historical Buddha.

    This grand collection can teach man everything there is to know about morality, meditation and how to live a life free of inner turmoil.

  • Bubbo

    Or his “Passion of The Western Mind”

  • sigmaalgebra

    How about the best STEM field texts from middle school through Ph.D. qualifying exams?

  • daytripper

    A New Introduction to Bibliography by John Gaskell. If a future librarian needs to understand what books are, how they originated, how to assemble them from sheets of paper without electricity, how to cast type, how a simple press functions, how to determine if a book is complete and how to arrange the distributed pages of a damaged volume – then Gaskell provides the information in a compact form. Bibliography seems rote to the newly initiated, with many symbols and much jargon, but it’s essential for weeding out noise and consolidating what is essential in a civilization’s written voice. Gaskell summarizes the extensive work of Fredson Bowers who led modern efforts in the field.

  • MeatballsSpaghetti

    Culture of Critique by Kevin MacDonald.

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