The Treehugger Reading List

A running list of books our staff has reviewed and loved

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Are you looking to learn more about sustainable living or climate change? Do you want an engrossing read about nature or design? 

The Treehugger team is always on the lookout for interesting books, both new and classic, that can help us better understand the environmental challenges we face and proposals for how to solve them. 

Here you’ll find a regularly updated list of books that have been reviewed by our staff.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

The Stranger in the Woods

Courtesy of Walmart

“Knight’s life is the bizarre yet fascinating subject of Michael Finkel’s latest book, “The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit” (Knopf, 2017). The book opens with Knight’s dramatic capture one late winter night in 2013 after police and local residents ramped up their search for the elusive “North Pond hermit.” Knight was caught in the act of raiding a summer camp pantry and tossed in jail for seven months before his fate was decided.”

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A Children's Bible

A Children's Bible book cover

Amazon

“What hit me hardest was the anger, bordering on disgust, that those children felt at their parents' complacency, lethargy, and ineptitude. Those kids had no choice but to forge onward, doing what they should never have had to do, while the parents chose the easy road out.” 

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Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide to Living an Intentional Life

Adventures in Opting Out

Courtesy of Barnes and Noble

“Have you ever felt like you just want to live life a bit differently from everyone around you? Maybe you self-identify as a "black sheep" in your family or friend circle and wish you knew someone else who felt the same way, so you could talk about the awkwardness of trying to fit into (or finding a way to exit) the path that everyone else appears to follow so willingly. 
If you can relate to any of these feelings—and who doesn't at some point in life?—then Cait Flanders' latest book is for you.”

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The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis

The Future We Choose book cover

via Amazon

“A new book hopes to pull people back from the brink of defeatism and put them on track toward constructive climate activism. "The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis" (Knopf, 2020) was written by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, architects and lead negotiators of the 2015 Paris Agreement. This follow-up book is a sort of layperson's version of the official agreement that 194 countries signed and most have ratified.” 

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101 Ways To Go Zero Waste

"101 Ways To Go Zero Waste" book cover

Amazon

“What's appealing about a book, as opposed to perusing a blog or a collection of informative Instagram posts, is that it pulls together important information into a single place and makes it easily accessible to readers. By reading the book cover to cover, you come away with knowledge that would take much longer to amass if doing piecemeal research.”

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The New Climate War

New Climate War

New Climate War

"Climate scientist Michael Mann is most famous for his hockey stick, which he used in 1998 to graphically present the rise in planetary temperatures over the centuries. He immediately came under attack by powerful forces that had a vested interest in denying climate change, and he has been dropping the gloves and using that hockey stick to crosscheck the opposition ever since. 
But climate denial is a harder sell than it was 20 years ago, and the hockey net is a moving target; instead of denial, the fossil fuel companies and the governments on their payroll are ragging the puck, in 'a multipronged offensive based on deception, distraction, and delay.' That's the subject of his latest book."

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All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Courtesy of Walmart

“Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist and policy expert from Brooklyn, and Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson, an author and teacher from Atlanta, the book is a beautiful assemblage of 41 reflections on the climate fight, written by an all-female group of scientists, journalists, lawyers, politicians, activists, innovators and more.”

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The Waste Makers

The Waste Makers

Courtesy of Walmart

“A reader recommended that I look at Vance Packard's The Waste Makers. Written in 1960, it followed Packard's hugely successful The Hidden Persuaders, which described how the advertising industry manipulates consumers to induce the desire for products. It was not his most popular book, but it may well be his most prescient.”

Goodbye Phone, Hello World

Cover of goodbye phone book

Courtesy of Chronicle Books

“It's not a philosophical treatise on the evils of technology, but a fairly short, succinct, and practical guide on how actually to live without a smartphone—namely, all the wonderful, amazing things you can do when you're not throwing away four hours per day (the American average) on a screen doing mostly useless things. It's upbeat, positive, and proactive.”

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The Art of Frugal Hedonism

The Art of Frugal Hedonism

Courtesy of Chelsea Green Publishing

“The book is based on the premise that frugality should not feel like deprivation. In fact, when you decouple pleasure from spending money, you tap into an endless world of fun and entertainment that vastly improves your quality of life while allowing your savings to grow.”

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Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale

Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale

Courtesy of Walmart

“Business journalist Adam Minter got thinking about this while cleaning out his deceased mother's home. Seeking reassurance that his mother's donated items would get used and not destroyed, Minter embarked on a journey that resulted in his latest book. 
After traveling extensively around the U.S., Mexico, Ghana, Malaysia, and Japan in search of answers, he found it to be a remarkably murky industry, with most governments lacking data on anything secondhand beyond cars, despite the crucial role that secondhand goods play in clothing, furnishing, and educating people worldwide.”

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Putting on the Dog: The Animal Origins of What We Wear

Putting on the Dog: The Animal Origins of What We Wear Kindle Edition

Courtesy of Amazon

“Kwasny is an award-winning writer and poet at the University of Montana, and her book is a fascinating and highly readable dive into the world of animal-based clothing production. She traveled from Mexico to Denmark to Japan, and lots of places in between, talking to growers, farmers, manufacturers, and artisans to learn about their work and shed light on processes that the general public tends to know little about.”

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The Less Waste No Fuss Kitchen

The Less Waste No Fuss Kitchen

Courtesy of Amazon

"The Less Waste No Fuss Kitchen has minimal philosophizing (well, none, in fact) and is more of a step-by-step guide for individuals wanting to change the way they buy and handle food on a daily basis. It contains a brief overview at the beginning about why food waste and plastic packaging are such serious problems and how each of us can make a difference by changing personal habits.”

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The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment

The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment

Courtesy of Amazon

“I have been reading the 1969 edition, and the message seemed as fresh as ever: We can't just throw technology and energy at a building anymore. The design for energy performance and comfort are inseparable from the architecture.”

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24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week

24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week

Courtesy of Walmart

“I was immediately hooked. I realized it was different from the other books I'd read and better suited to my own life as a busy working mother of three young kids. Instead of assuming that I should be able to go without technology for a prolonged period of time or weed it out of my life completely, Shlain's approach is refreshingly manageable.”

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