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Members of the Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) were recently surveyed about their career paths in landscape architecture. Responses were varied and had many insightful comments and suggestions, which will be shared and discussed with everyone here over the next few months.

As summer winds down and Labor Day weekend fast approaches, you may be looking for one last beach read-why not make it one of the titles selected by PPN members when they were asked to name a book that should be required reading for all landscape architects. Though many of these are classics you may have already read, we hope you find a few titles to add to your must-read (or must re-read) list.


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The top 5 books, in order of popularity, were:
  1. Design with Nature, by Ian McHarg
  2. A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold
  3. Landscape Architecture, by John Simonds
  4. The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs
  5. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr, Hon. ASLA

A few authors were mentioned for multiple works, including Kevin Lynch for three different books (The Image of the City, Site Planning, and What Time is This Place?) and Julie Moir Messervy for two (The Inward Garden and Contemplative Gardens). Other popular choices, each selected by four or more respondents, were:

  • Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv
  • A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander
  • The Image of the City, by Kevin Lynch
  • The Landscape of Man, by Geoffrey Alan Jellicoe
  • Bringing Nature Home, by Douglas Tallamy and Rick Darke
  • Design on the Land, by Norman Newton
  • Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards, by Leonard Hopper, FASLA
  • Site Engineering for Landscape Architects, by Steven Strom, Kurt Nathan, and Jake Woland
  • Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture, by Charles Harris, FASLA, and Nicholas Dines, FASLA
  • The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson

If you are looking for a particular genre or topic, here are a few more titles that were mentioned:

Biographies

  • A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century, by Witold Rybczynski
  • Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, by Justin Martin
  • Apostle of Taste: A Biography of Andrew Jackson Downing, 1815-1852, by David Schuyler

Ecology & the Environment

  • Design for Ecological Democracy, by Randolph T. Hester, Jr., FASLA
  • Win-Win Ecology: How the Earth's Species Can Survive in the Midst of Human Enterprise, by Michael Rosenzweig
  • Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
  • Design for Human Ecosystems, by John Lyle and Joan Woodward, FASLA
  • Futures by Design: The Practice of Ecological Planning, by Doug Aberley
  • Flight of the Hummingbird: A Parable for the Environment, by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
  • Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams

Gardens

  • Gardening with Nature, by James van Sweden
  • Gardens Are For People, by Thomas Church The Education of a Gardener, by Russell Page
  • The Brother Gardeners: A Generation of Gentlemen Naturalists and the Birth of an Obsession, by Andrea Wulf
  • The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design, by Anne Spirn

Business, Leadership, & Management Guides

  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't, by Jim Collins
  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek 
  • Project Management for Design Professionals, by William Ramroth
  • Ready, Set, Practice: Elements of Landscape Architecture Professional Practice, by Bruce Sharky, FASLA
  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton
  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen

  Novels, Drama, & Poetry

  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper
  • War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
  • Dune, by Frank Herbert
  • The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
  • Plum Island, by Nelson DeMille
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Arcadia: A Play, by Tom Stoppard
  • Robert Frost's poems


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