Zodiac Library

The Library is a collectively curated selection of texts related to decentralized governance. Ranging from books to hyperlinks, the library items are considered by the Zodiac ecosystem to be rich, informative, or historically important.


A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (opens in a new tab)
by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein (Oxford University Press, 1977)

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction is a 1977 book on architecture, urban design, and community livability. It was authored by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein of the Center for Environmental Structure of Berkeley, California, with writing credits also to Max Jacobson, Ingrid Fiksdahl-King and Shlomo Angel. Decades after its publication, it is still one of the best-selling books on architecture. (Wikipedia)

Images of Organization (opens in a new tab)
by Gareth Morgan (Sage Publications, 1986)

Images of Organization is a bestseller book by Gareth Morgan, professor of organizational behavior and industrial relations at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, which attempts to unveil organization via a number of metaphors. It was first published in 1986.

The book particularly describes the organization metaphorically as (1) machines, (2) organisms, (3) brains, (4) cultures, (5) political systems, (6) psychic prisons, (7) flux and transformation, and (8) instruments of domination. (Wikipedia)

Impact Networks: Create Connection, Spark Collaboration, and Catalyze Systemic Change (opens in a new tab)
by David Ehrlichman (Penguin, 2021)

The social and environmental challenges we face today are not only complex, they are also systemic and structural and have no obvious solutions. They require diverse combinations of people, organizations, and sectors to coordinate actions and work together even when the way forward is unclear. Even so, collaborative efforts often fail because they attempt to navigate complexity with traditional strategic plans, created by hierarchies that ignore the way people naturally connect.

By embracing a living-systems approach to organizing, impact networks bring people together to build relationships across boundaries; leverage the existing work, skills, and motivations of the group; and make progress amid unpredictable and ever-changing conditions. As a powerful and flexible organizing system that can span regions, organizations, and silos of all kinds, impact networks underlie some of the most impressive and large-scale efforts to create change across the globe.

David Ehrlichman draws on his experience as a network builder; interviews with dozens of network leaders; and insights from the fields of network science, community building, and systems thinking to provide a clear process for creating and developing impact networks. Given the increasing complexity of our society and the issues we face, our ability to form, grow, and work through networks has never been more essential.

Reinventing Organizations (opens in a new tab)
by Frederic Laloux (Nelson Parker, 2014)

Frederic Laloux's Reinventing Organizations is considered by many to be the most influential management book of the last decade. It has inspired thousands of organizations throughout the world to take a radical leap and adopt a whole different set of management principles and practices.

Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (opens in a new tab)
by Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger (Cambridge University Press, 1991)

In this important theoretical treatist, Jean Lave, anthropologist, and Etienne Wenger, computer scientist, push forward the notion of situated learning - that learning is fundamentally a social process. The authors maintain that learning viewed as situated activity has as its central defining characteristic a process they call legitimate peripheral participation (LPP). Learners participate in communities of practitioners, moving toward full participation in the sociocultural practices of a community. LPP provides a way to speak about crucial relations between newcomers and old-timers and about their activities, identities, artefacts, knowledge and practice. The communities discussed in the book are midwives, tailors, quartermasters, butchers, and recovering alcoholics, however, the process by which participants in those communities learn can be generalised to other social groups.

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (opens in a new tab)
by David Graeber, David Wengrow (Allen Lane, 2021)

A dramatically new understanding of human history, challenging our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution—from the development of agriculture and cities to the origins of the state, democracy, and inequality—and revealing new possibilities for human emancipation.

Tools for Conviviality (opens in a new tab)
by Ivan Illich (Harper & Row, 1973)

Ivan Illich argues for individual personal control over life, the tools and energy we use. A work of seminal importance. The conviviality for which noted social philosopher Ivan Illich is arguing is one in which the individual’s personal energies are under direct personal control and in which the use of tools is responsibly limited. A work of seminal importance, this book claims our attention for the urgency of its appeal, the stunning clarity of its logic and the overwhelmingly human note that it sounds.

Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice (opens in a new tab)
by Elinor Ostrom, Charlotte Hess (MIT Press, 2007)

Looking at knowledge as a shared resource: experts discuss how to define, protect, and build the knowledge commons in the digital age.

Knowledge in digital form offers unprecedented access to information through the Internet but at the same time is subject to ever-greater restrictions through intellectual property legislation, overpatenting, licensing, overpricing, and lack of preservation. Looking at knowledge as a commons—as a shared resource—allows us to understand both its limitless possibilities and what threatens it. In Understanding Knowledge as a Commons, experts from a range of disciplines discuss the knowledge commons in the digital era—how to conceptualize it, protect it, and build it. Contributors consider the concept of the commons historically and offer an analytical framework for understanding knowledge as a shared social-ecological system. They look at ways to guard against enclosure of the knowledge commons, considering, among other topics, the role of research libraries, the advantages of making scholarly material available outside the academy, and the problem of disappearing Web pages. They discuss the role of intellectual property in a new knowledge commons, the open access movement (including possible funding models for scholarly publications), the development of associational commons, the application of a free/open source framework to scientific knowledge, and the effect on scholarly communication of collaborative communities within academia, and offer a case study of EconPort, an open access, open source digital library for students and researchers in microeconomics. The essays clarify critical issues that arise within these new types of commons—and offer guideposts for future theory and practice.

Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (opens in a new tab)
by Marshall McLuhan (MIT Press, 1964)

Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man is a 1964 book by Marshall McLuhan, in which the author proposes that the media, not the content that they carry, should be the focus of study. He suggests that the medium affects the society in which it plays a role mainly by the characteristics of the medium rather than the content. The book is considered a pioneering study in media theory. (Wikipedia)