Read: “Waste” by Tristram Stuart

24 Mar 2010

This was one of the most captivating books I’ve read in a while—and it’s not because of the writing. It’s because the story is so astonishing. The sheer scale of waste, and the idea that we could reduce a lot of the pressure on the planet and feed the starving, simply by avoiding so much waste, is really appealing to me.

I thought I knew a lot about the food system and humanity’s impacts on the planet, but none had made it clear how big of a contributor food waste is. Reading this book was like watching a slow-motion train wreck: you see metal and bodies flying, and it’s painful to watch, but you can’t look away.

About the writing… Stuart doesn’t seem to have a good grasp of how many numbers and figures to throw at readers. He puts in way too many numbers, enough to make my eyes glaze over sometimes—and I’m a numbers guy, with a Bachelor’s in physics!

But still, if you excuse problems like that, and cherish the fun details about how he raises his pigs, or feeds himself and his friends out of grocery store bins, and things like that, then you’ll learn a lot about how the food system is today—and why it really doesn’t have to be that way.

Buy the book from IndieBound, by clicking on the cover above, or their logo.


books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Mason's favorite books »