David George Haskell's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books David George Haskell recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of David George Haskell's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Chuang Tzu

The Inner Chapters

Revered for millennia in the Chinese spiritual tradition, Chuang Tzu stands alongside the Tao Te Ching as a founding classic of Taoism. The Inner Chapters are the only sustained section of this text widely believed to be the work of Chuang Tzu himself, dating to the fourth century B.C.E. Witty and engaging, spiced with the lyricism of poetry, Chuang Tzu's Taoist insights are timely and eternal, profoundly concerned with spiritual ecology. Indeed, the Tao of Chuang Tzu was a wholesale rejection of a human-centered approach. Zen traces its sources back to these Taoist roots —... more
Recommended by David George Haskell, and 1 others.

David George HaskellTrees are not symbols or allegories in this foundational Taoist text. Rather, they’re examples of the true nature of life. (Source)

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In 1664, the horticulturist and diarist John Evelyn wrote Sylva, the first comprehensive study of British trees. It was also the world's earliest forestry book, and the first book ever published by the Royal Society. Evelyn's elegant prose has a lot to tell us today, but the world has changed dramatically since his day. Now authors Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet, taking inspiration from the original work, have masterfully created a contemporary version – The New Sylva. The result is a fabulous resource that describes all of the most important species of tree that populate our landscape. more
Recommended by David George Haskell, and 1 others.

David George HaskellI chose this book first and foremost for Sarah Simblet’s spectacular ink drawings. (Source)

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The Handbook of Nature Study

'A matchless handbook for decades, this classic has been the natural history bible of countless teachers and others who seek information about their natural environment. Written originally for those elementary school teachers who knew little of common plants and animals, and even less about earth beneath their feet and the skies overhead, this book is for the most part as valid and helpful to day as it was when first written in 1911. less
Recommended by David George Haskell, and 1 others.

David George HaskellComstock’s book is important because she changed the course of education in the US, making the case for what we’d now call ‘environmental education.’ (Source)

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Recommended by David George Haskell, and 1 others.

David George HaskellIn telling her stories, she unfolds the many cultural, ecological, ethical, and personal layers of our relationships to trees and ecological communities. (Source)

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The Botany of Desire

A Plant's-Eye View of the World

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan... more
Recommended by David George Haskell, Kenneth Cox, and 2 others.

David George HaskellThrough the stories of four familiar plant species–apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes–he demolishes the erroneous impression that we’re in charge. (Source)

Kenneth CoxYou can’t fail to be fascinated by this exposition of the motivations of plants to cuddle up to humans. One of several excellent Michael Pollan books, it’s a fun read. (Source)

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