Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY: The Outsiders Rebooting Our World by Mark Stevenson

WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY: The Outsiders Rebooting Our World by Mark Stevenson
08 May
2017
‘When the winds of change blow some people build walls, others build windmills,’ quotes Stevenson. ‘This is a book about the windmills.’

True to his word, in We Do Things Differently he investigates a series of global challenges, ranging from the rise of drug resistant diseases to a declining faith in democracy, and introduces us to the unlikely figures – including an Austrian basketball player-turned-engineer and a Brazilian former guerrilla – who are building metaphorical windmills in order to solve these crucial problems, and consequently change the world for the better.

It has the language and tone of a science book but, if you consider the huge global challenges the people within set out to solve (or did so accidentally, as occurred a few times), it also contains a distinct geographical edge. From significantly improving rice yields in India despite minimal water or fertilisers, to creating ‘liquid air’ as a source of low-carbon refrigeration, to turning derelict housing into urban farms in the ‘food desert’ of Detroit, it’s a positive set of stories for anyone feeling particularly negative about humanity’s prospects in the coming years.

The book is in a way a victim of its own success; the large numbers of subjects contained within mean that it is necessary to skip quickly from one issue to the next, without the opportunity to delve into each one in as much detail as perhaps we might wish. It makes you wonder how much more to each story we could be missing out on.

Nevertheless, Stevenson’s ability to cover such a wide range of challenges should be applauded, and perhaps be seen as a starting point for independently researching the issues we each find most engaging. Combined with his engaging commentary, this certainly has the ability to restore your faith in human ingenuity in the face of adversity.

Click here to purchase We Do Things Differently: The Outsiders Rebooting Our World by Mark Stevenson

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe to Geographical!

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    The green dragon awakens
    China has achieved remarkable economic success following the principle of developing first and cleaning up later. But now the country with the world's...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

by Alanna Mitchell • Oneworld • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Christopher J Preston • The MIT Press • £20.95…

Books

by Jamal Mahjoub • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)

Books

by Joanna Kafarowski • Dundurn Press • 15.99 (hardback)

Books

by Peter Dauvergne • Polity Books • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Mary Beard and David Olusoga • Profile Books •…

Exhibitions

It’s hard to imagine life without the visual world upfront…

Books

by Patrick Winn • Icon Books • £14.99 (paperback)

Books

by Mark Nelson • UA Press • £21.99 (paperback)

Books

by Ed Douglas and John Beatty • Vertebrate Publishing •…

Books

by Tristan Gooley • Sceptre Books • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Weymouth • Particular Books • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by David Runciman • Profile Books • £14.99 (hardback)

Films

Blockbuster dinosaur sequel asks probing questions about humans’ ethical responsibilities…

Films

Are kangaroos a great icon for Australia? Or a natural…

Exhibitions

New exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery by photojournalist Lizzie Sadin,…

Books

by Tim Marshall • Elliott & Thompson • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Inara Verzemnieks • Pushkin Press • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Andy Kirkpatrick • Vertebrate Publishing • £24 (hardback)

Books

edited by Paul Hawken • Penguin • £16.99 (paperback)