Book Review: We Do Things Differently by Mark Stevenson

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Title: We Do Things Differently
Author: Mark Stevenson
Publication Date: January 5th 2017

Synopsis: "Our systems are failing. Old models - for education, healthcare and government, food production, energy supply - are creaking under the weight of modern challenges. As the world's population heads towards 10 billion, it is clear we need new approaches. Futurologist Mark Stevenson set out to find them, across four continents.

From Brazilian favelas to high tech Boston, from rural India to an unlikely shed inventor in England's home counties, Stevenson travels the world to find the advance guard rebooting our future. At each stop he meets innovators who have already succeeded in challenging the status quo, pioneering new ways to make our world more sustainable, equitable and humane.

Populated with extraordinary characters, We Do Things Differently paints an enthralling picture of what can be done to address the world's most pressing dilemmas, offering a much needed dose of down-to-earth optimism. It is a window on (and a roadmap to) a different and better future."

My thoughts: I think I could probably wax lyrical about this book and everything in it - I have told so many family members and friends about the techniques and stories contained within this book that it's a wonder I don't know it off by heart by now - so I am going to try and keep this review short and to the point.

We Do Things Differently explores exactly what it says on the tin - people around the world doing things differently and showing amazing results. In times like these, where everything seems to be in flux and some of our worst political and social nightmares are coming true, I feel like it is difficult to feel like there is a chance of positive change existing within the world. Stevenson sits you down, pulls no punches about telling you what is not working and why, and then introduces you to someone that is trying something new, and rocking it.

This book blew me away. Not only does Stevenson explain to you exactly what is going wrong with the current systems we have in place, he then shows you people who are creating entirely new systems that are working. So often I come across writing about systems not working, really basic rundowns of the stupidity of trying to retain systems that clearly don't work in modern times, but do not suggest alternatives or ways we can move on from them. This book actually gives me hope, and that is so very difficult to do at present.

From patients sharing their knowledge to assist with the trialling and development of new drugs, to scientists and farmers getting together to find new and better ways to grow crops, this book will leave you with a fuller heart and a brighter mind - which I think we could kind of use right now. Please go get yourself a copy if you can. And a note to Stevenson: please write more!

{I received a review copy of this book from Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!}

A favourite line from the book: "In my experience, many inside the political class confuse disenchantment with indifference, 'voter apathy' being an easier pill to swallow than the admission that our democracies are increasingly unfit for purpose."

You would like this book if: you want to read about new systems and feel like the world isn't imploding; you like sciencey/techy/awesome things!

Tea to drink while reading this book: perhaps an organic green tea to get those brain cells firing!

Rating:  10/10

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