Alice Waters on Books that Changed Her Life



The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming

Masanobu Fukuoka

$15.95 $14.67

I read this book cover to cover. Fukuoka practiced a type of farming he referred to as “do-nothing farming;” I still can’t believe that it is possible to grow food in such a regenerative and effortless way.

Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

Michael Pollan

$18.00 $16.56

No one writes as evocatively and engrossingly as Michael Pollan. I love that in order to write this book, he himself became a gardener. He doesn’t merely observe from the outside, he immerses himself.

The Taste of Country Cooking: The 30th Anniversary Edition of a Great Southern Classic Cookbook

Edna Lewis

$26.95 $24.79

I had the good fortune to meet the legendary chef and author Edna Lewis early on, and she became a dear friend and mentor. This book opened my eyes to the tremendous biodiversity of Southern cooking.

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Eric Schlosser

$15.95 $14.67

I read this shortly after I started the Edible Schoolyard Project, and it made me think, “This is the entire reason we’re doing this project.” Eric is such an important and incisive muckraker, and his books should be required reading.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction

Christopher Alexander

$65.00 $59.80

This is about architecture and design and their deeper philosophies, asking profound questions about the ways we live our lives: How do you design a city? What does it mean to have a front porch, a window seat, natural light?

The Man Who Planted Trees

Jean Giono and Michael McCurdy

$10.00 $9.20

This simple little book is a beautiful parable for our time: a burnt-out landscape that can be brought back to life by individuals who plant seeds every day.

And the Pursuit of Happiness

Maira Kalman

$30.00 $27.60

Maira has a way of talking about universal values with levity; she’s never preaches, but instead makes me see things from another angle–or makes me laugh at my own foolishness. And her drawings make her books such a joy to read.

Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools

Jonathan Kozol

$17.00 $15.64

In the late 1980s, Jonathan Kozol embedded himself in American public schools, and painted a picture of a school system that is so undemocratic and often so cruel. He inspired my determination to help transform public schools.