David Fleming’s Lean Logic and Surviving the Future

Peter Buffett4

I refer to Surviving the Future as my Bible, in that it brings me solace and helps me to understand the world and my place in it. I look through its passages and dog-eared pages and it explains to me why I’m thinking this way; why I feel this way. It’s loose, accessible and funny, and yet deeply true. It reminds me, through the language that is unique to David Fleming, why I’m really motivated, often, to get up in the morning. This work is so central to what I believe is necessary.

Peter Buffett, composer and author; co-president of the NoVo Foundation

Caroline Lucas2

Caroline Lucas2

David Fleming was an elder of the UK green movement and a key figure in the early Green Party. Drawing on the heritage of Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful, Fleming’s beautifully written and nourishing vision of a post-growth economics grounded in human-scale culture and community—rather than big finance—is both inspiring and ever more topical.

Caroline Lucas MP, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Roger Scruton

David Fleming predicts environmental catastrophe but also proposes a solution that stems from the real motives of people and not from some comprehensive political agenda. He writes lucidly and eloquently of the moral and spiritual qualities on which we might draw in our ‘descent’ to a Lean Economy. His highly poetic description of these qualities is neither gloomy nor self-deceived but tranquil and inspiring. All environmental activists should read him and learn to think in his cultivated and nuanced way.

Roger Scruton, writer and philosopher; author of over thirty books, including Green Philosophy

Rob Hopkins2

Rob Hopkins2

I would unreservedly go so far as to say that David Fleming was one of the most original, brilliant, urgently-needed, underrated, and ahead-of-his-time thinkers of the last 50 years. History will come to place him alongside Schumacher, Berry, Seymour, Cobbett, and those other brilliant souls who could not just imagine a more resilient world but who could paint a picture of it in such vivid colours. Step into the world of David Fleming; you'll be so glad you did.

Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Towns movement

19 October 2007- Vancouver, Canada - British poet Benjamin Zephaniah at the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival 2007. Photo Credit: Pascal Saez/Sipa Press/0805261625

Benjamin Zephaniah

It's just what I need right now. I think the 'dictionary' approach is brilliant. It's a great way of not only allowing the reader to dip in and out, but it helps dyslexics like me not feel guilty for reading how much we like when we like, and not feeling it's always about going cover to cover!

Benjamin Zephaniah, poet, novelist, playwright and musician

Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth

We need David Fleming's Lean Logic. It is one of my books of the year. This wonderfully idiosyncratic A-to-Z is anything but lean: at 500-plus pages it is overflowing with Fleming's lifelong philosophy of social and economic transformation. And it is wisdom waiting to be discovered.

Kate Raworth, economist and author of Doughnut Economics

Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Lean Logic is a powerful, complex and indispensable vision; the glorious achievement of a lifetime. I only wish I had discovered it earlier. In this day and age, where political imagination is in short supply ... this is a unique and enormously powerful view of the world in which we live, and the one we want to build. We have never seen anything like it. There is a warmth and inclusiveness in Fleming's prose that makes you want to continue the conversation forever.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen, author of numerous classics of anthropology

Mark Boyle

Why do some of the truly great books only emerge and exact their influence upon us after the death of their authors? Perhaps it takes a lifetime to accrue and refine the necessary wisdom. Or perhaps it simply takes the rest of us too long to catch up. Like Thoreau, Fleming's masterpiece brims not only with fresh insight into every nook and cranny of our culture and what it means to be human, but with such wit and humour that its challenging ideas and radical perspectives become a refreshing delight. If we’re to have a future worth surviving, these books demand to be read, re-read, and—ultimately—acted upon.

Mark Boyle, author of The Moneyless Manifesto and Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi

Andrew Simms

David Fleming was an iconoclast in a time when orthodox thinking reasserted suffocating control. When many major environmental voices had, in effect, decided to 'go with the flow', accept the mainstream economy, and do their best to make it greener, David Fleming went the other way. His analysis told him that nothing short of a paradigm shift could ensure our collective survival, and he said so, loudly, without fear of being marginalised. Thank goodness his analysis can now be shared more widely.

Andrew Simms, codirector, New Weather Institute; fellow, New Economics Foundation; author of Cancel the Apocalypse

Paul Kingsnorth

David Fleming’s eye was sharp, and his words had a way of getting right to the heart of the matter. Lean Logic is remarkable and scintillating; the product of a truly original mind.

Paul Kingsnorth, cofounder, the Dark Mountain Project; author of The Wake, Beast and Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist

Helena Norberg-Hodge

A splendid smorgasbord, Lean Logic provides rare insight into some of the key issues of our time! Fleming's underlying vision of a future founded in a reclaimed richness of community, culture, and conversation is both heartening and timely.

Helena Norberg-Hodge, author of Ancient Futures; director of The Economics of Happiness

Tim Jackson

Each time I encountered David Fleming, he left behind something whose value I was a little too slow to recognise. A sketch for Tradable Energy Quotas. A critique of the nuclear fuel cycle. And clearest in my memory: a slim working paper entitled The Lean Economy. It took me nearly a decade to respond properly to its call. In Surviving the Future, Fleming has left behind his greatest gift: a remarkable clarity of vision—a way of seeing the world not just for what it is, but for what it might be. Hopefully, this time I’m ready for it.

Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development, University of Surrey; author of Prosperity without Growth

Jeremy Leggett2

Jeremy Leggett2

‘The end is nigh’ messages are a dime a dozen these days. Fleming’s work doesn’t shy away from that, but it’s his vision of what could come next—and the potential richness, carnival, and culture of it—that I think is so rare and precious in these books. Less what we stand to lose and more what we've lost already and stand to regain if we do things right.

Jeremy Leggett, founder, Solarcentury and SolarAid; author of The Winning of the Carbon War

Stephan Harding

David Fleming was a walking encyclopaedia of ecological knowledge and wisdom. His brilliance, good humour, and deep insight were legendary and unforgettable. His writing, too, was of the highest calibre—witty, entertaining, profound, informative, and transformative. These books of his give us the opportunity to savour the great treasure that was his mind. To read them is to gain a superb education in ecology from one of the greatest masters in the field.

Dr. Stephan Harding, resident ecologist, Schumacher College; author of Animate Earth

John Michael Greer

A monumental achievement, David Fleming’s Lean Logic is an encyclopedic guide to the crisis of industrial civilization. I challenge anyone to read so much as a page of it without finding at least one insight worth serious reflection. Individuals, families, and communities will find it invaluable as a guide to navigating the troubled waters of the future. It's one of the very few things in recent years I'd place on the same shelf as William Catton's Overshoot or EF Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful.

John Michael Greer, author of The Long Descent and After Progress

Lean Logic and Surviving the Future

Information on the books

Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival
and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy

Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future
and How to Survive It

Forthcoming events

Click through for details of forthcoming events,
plus interviews and footage from past ones

Order the books, with free postage worldwide

Surviving the Future
(also now available as audiobook or eBook, or in Spanish)

Lean Logic
(also now available in searchable, interactive format at LeanLogic.online)

1st Place Awards from the New York Book Show,
New England Book Show and PubWest National Awards

Lean Logic book awards

Tasters from the film about Fleming’s legacy and vision:
“The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?”


The tasters have now been viewed over five million times on social media!
Visit the film’s webpage and blog for footage of the March 16th 2020 film launch – with Caroline Lucas MP and stars of the film Kate Raworth, Rob Hopkins and Shaun Chamberlin – to offer your thoughts, or to see the full film.

Published reviews of the books

Breaking the System: A Review of Surviving the Future
Resilience.org, 28 July 2016
“This thought-provoking book is well worth a read … Fleming’s view of the future is refreshingly different … I am grateful for his evenhanded view of the pluralist and capitalist world that’s now passing away.”

‘Encounter’ – A definition, by David Fleming
Kosmos Journal, 9 August 2016
Lean Logic is neither a policy manifesto nor a dry technical guide. It’s an incredibly nourishing cultural and scientific treasure trove.”

Interview on David Fleming, music and hippos!
Chelsea Green Publishing, 21 August 2016
“Fleming’s vision is of a culture built around what we love, and entries such as “Carnival” explain beautifully how essential such pleasures are to a healthy society … His definition of wisdom is telling, I think: “Intelligence drenched in culture”.”

Flight Path – On reading David Fleming’s ‘Surviving the Future’
Dark Mountain Project, 29 August 2016
“The future is a fraught place for those of us who have realised over the last decade we are boarded on the Titanic and heading for a mighty reality check … I reach out to pick several large raspberries and realise that it was Fleming’s ideas about community resilience that had entirely forged my own … This book is compelling in ways you do not expect … brings space and intelligence and wit to areas normally written about in lumbering opinionated prose … his words come like a fresh breeze.”

Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It
The Design Observer Group, 30 August 2016
“Half encyclopedia, half commonplace book, half a secular bible, half survival guide, half… yes, that’s a lot of halves, but I hope you get the picture. I have never encountered a book that is so hard to characterise yet so hard, despite its weight, to put down … Its pages span ethics, science, culture, art, and history. The book’s greatest strength, for this mesmerized reader, is the lightness with which it draws on knowledge from earlier periods of history, and from other cultures.”

David Fleming’s ‘Lean Logic’ and ‘Surviving the Future’, and why they’re important
LowImpact.org, 23 September 2016
“Not only do I endorse his vision for how society could be, I’d like to help make it happen … The lean economy is exactly what we need. I couldn’t be more certain of anything … lots of things that he’s saying, I’ve been saying for years – just not in such a succinct and persuasive way.”

A Review of David Fleming’s ‘Lean Logic’ (and Resilience)
Naked Capitalism, 2 October 2016
“I’m a sucker for beautiful books, and Lean Logic is a beautiful book. But I’m also a sucker for the particular kind of beauty — see especially Christopher Alexander’s books on pattern languages — that comes from breaking down a topic that is not amenable to narrative treatment into entries, and then cross-linking the entries…”

Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future
Local Futures / Economics of Happiness, 11 November 2016
“Words to live by in these troubled times.”

Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy (part 2 of review here)
Permaculture magazine, Winter 2016
“A slim book graced with humour and gravitas … the most realistic, sober, frightening and yet strangely comforting disquisition into our current state of affairs. Eminently readable, Fleming’s tone and approach is neither shrill nor righteous, but avuncular, accessible and at times playful … Brilliant.”

Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It
Permaculture magazine, Winter 2016
“Not a book that I would have thought of buying, but … a candidate for the half dozen or so physical books that I would consider likely to be extremely valuable in a post oil, post internet future scenario … The entries are marked by great clarity of thought [and] a good sense of humour, which keeps it all from becoming too heavy going … The dictionary has grown a small thicket of bookmarks reminding me what to follow up next.”

Waiting for the climacteric: or, the return of the greentard
Small Farm Future, 2 December 2016
“The first acquaintance is, sadly, dead, yet so ebullient that his thought is setting tongues a-wagging in environmental circles even now. I refer to the late David Fleming, whose book Lean Logic has recently been published thanks to the excellent editorship of Shaun Chamberlin, and is garnering all sorts of critical plaudits.”

Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It
Royal Geographical Society, 5 December 2016
“In many ways one of the most enthralling books I’ve read in a very long time … It’s far from certain that you’ll be convinced by every word the late Fleming had to say, but you’ll envy his optimism and respect his obvious learning across so many topics. He defines ‘well-being’ as ‘accomplishment, laughter and the love of friends’. The cause is also helped by someone writing this mad-cap, passionate book that reminded me very much of those compendia of knowledge pulled together by Renaissance polymaths who didn’t care a jot about convention. Those were the days.”

David Fleming & Dark Optimism
Radio Ecoshock, 7 December 2016
“The thrilling part of David Fleming’s logic, well captured in this interview, is this plan does not require us to beg governments or protest against them. Fleming shows us how the future we want really is up to us. He’s an alternative economist, who has seen it all, so Fleming isn’t just offering a fake future. His vision could really work, and is already beginning to work in the first Transition Towns and community-building efforts in many parts of the world.”

Lean Logic
The Lean Enterprise Institute, 8 December 2016
“Please take my word that this huge resource is a gem, and deserves the type of rabid fans who cherish the books of someone like Christopher Alexander … Think of it as a mashup of The Timeless Way of Being, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, The Whole Earth Catalog, and the writings of Taiichi Ohno … and yet to pick out pieces of this great fabric of thought truly does a disservice to Lean Logic. I highly recommend this book … It’s a vital resource.”

Lean Logic: Surviving the Future
Clean Slate magazine, Winter 2016
A tour de force, providing an astute analysis of how we got to where we are today, and a vision for how we might create a more resilient society.”

Lean Logic and Surviving the Future: A Review
Mud City Press, 22 December 2016
“These two books by one of the preeminent environmental authors of recent times contain many treasures … there is so much more to them than could possibly be hinted at in a review. Surviving the Future is an ideal first foray into Fleming’s work … laudable for the poetry with which it distils Lean Logic down to its essence, while the latter is as absorbing as it is massive.”

Books of the Year 2016
Kate Raworth, Times Higher Education, 22 December 2016
“This wonderfully idiosyncratic A-to-Z is anything but lean: at 500-plus pages Lean Logic is overflowing with Fleming’s lifelong philosophy of social and economic transformation. And it is wisdom waiting to be discovered.”

The 6 best sustainability books of 2016
GreenBiz, 31 December 2016
Surviving the Future: A nuanced comparison of the case for scale vs. the prediction that the future will be marked by a return to smaller, more localized solutions.”

Surviving the Aftermath of the Market Economy
Chris Martenson, PeakProsperity.com, 8 January 2017
“A fascinating book that lays out a compelling vision of a powerfully-different new economics for a post-growth world.”

Review: Surviving the Future
STIR magazine, Winter 2017
“Few books on economics and politics would foreground arguments for ‘a strong culture’, claim that ‘laughter creates insight and solidarity’ and advise that you should always ‘start with a party’. But David Fleming’s Surviving the Future, edited by Shaun Chamberlin, makes the case that political change will only come through a ‘rediscovery of community’ … Economics here is about relationships, not objects … calling to the potential of imagination, not instruction, and suggesting building a culture to ‘activate citizen’s intelligence’, not a legislative path towards ‘green authoritarianism’ … For Fleming, localisation lies ‘at the limits of practical possibility’, but he claims that ‘it has the decisive argument in its favour that there will be no alternative’.”

Lean Logic and Surviving the Future: Reviews by Mark Garavan
Feasta, 14 January 2017
“An effort to express ideas and ways of living on our shared planet outside the familiar framework of free-market economics … In Lean Logic we encounter directly a genuinely original thinker … stimulating and always provocative … quite profound and philosophically subversive to a deeply rooted humanist, anthropocentric culture such as ours … The sheer vitality and interrelatedness of Fleming’s thinking does not conform easily to simple categorisation … When the crash occurs we will need ideas, a horizon of hope and possibility, a viable social and economic blueprint. Fleming provides us with one such vision.”

Editors’ Picks for February
Choice, 16 February 2017
Lean Logic — thoughtfully edited by Fleming’s protégé Chamberlin — represents the distillation of a life’s work … Even though the book is laid out in a dictionary format, it is best viewed as a series of interconnected essays. The overall goal is to detail the self-destructiveness of the market economy’s dependence on sustained growth and at the same time paint a picture of a much less dynamic economy of the future … this is a welcome work with a distinctive and well-articulated point of view. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.”

Surviving the Future
The Compression Institute, 23 February 2017
“Fleming is a fun read. He contended that post-market economics had to include space for people to enjoy themselves, to put on local carnivals now and then. Pedal-to-metal efficiency isn’t life … He became a proponent of local economies that are much more self-sufficient than today and helped found the Transition Town movement for local self-help and self-sufficiency … But local economies depend on human trust, and Fleming noted three essentials: Reciprocal exchange. Obligations and duties that do not depend on money. And a sense of community, the glue of identity around which reciprocity forms.”

Food for Idle Thought
The Idler, 23 March 2017
“David Fleming, who died suddenly in 2010, was one of Britain’s most visionary thinkersLean Logic gathers together over 400 essay entries on the environment, economics and culture … In the face of a failing capitalist system, lean thinking seeks to rebuild a political economy grounded in ecology and local community; a path that offers both hope and practical solutions.”

Book of the Day: Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It
P2P Foundation, 8 May 2017
An extraordinary book … written over a thirty year period by the English ecologist David Fleming … Lean Logic does not sugar-coat the challenges we face: an economy that destroys the very foundations upon which it depends; climate weirdness; ecological systems under stress; shocks to community and culture. Neither does the book suggest that there are easy solutions to these dilemmas. As Fleming writes, “large scale problems do not require large-scale solutions – they require small-scale solutions within a large-scale framework”.”

Lean Logic
Chris Smaje, The Land, May 2017
“The late David Fleming was a maverick economist who left his imprint across British environmentalism … In Lean Logic, from the impressive but dysfunctional culture of contemporary capitalism, Fleming tries to discern … a diverse, locally-specific, spiritually-oriented future … not always in directions that I personally find persuasive, but always with integrity, thoughtfulness and a dash of humour. It’s an impressive achievement … he consistently asks good questions, with a combination of wit and wisdom that often makes his writing soar.”

A clash of paradigms
Eric Utne, Utne Reader, 19 May 2017
“David Fleming is the spiritual and conceptual godfather of the Transition Town movement … He believed that the global market economy is doomed, and he shouts “Good riddance!” from nearly every page. The market economy, with its energy hungry machines, and its imperative to get the lowest price, got us into the mess we’re in, Fleming says. It’s certainly not going to get us out. Instead, Fleming argues with clarity and wit that we need to segue now from the market economy to its sequel, i.e., much smaller scale, less energy-intensive, more localized communities of “reciprocity and freedom,” communities that prize food growing, knowledge-sharing, myth-making, musical celebrations, and convivial neighborliness … I’m all for Paul Hawken’s Project Drawdown. But I don’t believe it will “solve” the climate crisis. For that, I’ll see you at the pub.”

Environmentalism used to be about defending the wild – not any more
Mark Boyle, The Guardian, 22 May 2017
“The late David Fleming – one of the greatest thinkers you’ve probably never heard of – said in his posthumously published magnum opus, Lean Logic, that “localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility, but it has the decisive argument in its favour that there will be no alternative”. Such localisation need be no ordeal and, if anything, could enrich our lives if we embraced it. Falling in love again with our place and the natural world – living in a healthy relationship with it, supporting it, protecting it – could be our salvation. And environmentalism’s too.”

Surviving the Future in America
Erik Lindberg, Resilience.org, 26 December 2017
“The indispensable Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economysits on the top of my “must read” list for this year. As I was reading, my mind kept wandering back to my multiple trips to Europe as a child growing up in a Europhile academic family … Europe, for us, was, I believe, what Italy was for E.M. Forster in novels like A Room with a View and Where Angels Fear to Tread. What we might refer to as “charm” is, or was, the remaining vestiges what Fleming refers to as a slack economy, something that is all but non-existent in the United States.”

Footage from the book launch events

Further praise for the books

Retrotopia: The Far Off Sound of Guns (see note at end)
John Michael Greer, 20 July 2016
“David Fleming’s astonishing book Lean Logic is one of the very few things in recent years I’d place on the same shelf as William Catton’s Overshoot or EF Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful.”

Reasons for Resolve
Vivid, 14 August 2016
“Highly recommended. I think this is one everybody in the – what do we call it now? – sustainability? resilience? regenerativity? – anyway, whatever this ‘movement’ is, people in it should be and I think will be buzzing about Fleming’s notions … I’m something of a cynic, and yet even I feel a fresh sort of excitement coming off of these ideas.”

‘Lean Logic’, by David Fleming
Early Retirement Extreme, 9 September 2016
“I wanted to give everyone a heads-up on this book since I’d never heard of the author before, but it’s quite astounding … It looks like something I’ll be coming back to for years. Even the short ‘how to cheat in an argument’ section at the beginning that sums up a ton of argument fallacies has given me pause to rethink the way I debate.”

The Extraordinary Works of the Late, Great David Fleming
Jonathon Porritt, 26 September 2016
“David Fleming was one of the most important people in my early green life – perhaps the most important … David’s work is so important, so timely, so idiosyncratically different, and so unlike anything else that you’re likely to be urged to read between now and Christmas!”

Accessible, humorous and inspiring… choose your own adventure!
Amazon.com review, 3 October 2016
“This book reminds me of hours spent in front of encyclopedia as a kid. Instead of reading about space shuttles, birch bark and howitzers this dictionary draws one into the present need for new thinking about our culture and our role in the world. Fleming’s writing style is humorous and generous. He connects ideas and lets you explore what’s next … I would highly recommend the companion book ‘Surviving the Future’ as well.”

Casino Collapse and Economic Collapse Need Not be the Same
Towards a Convivial Economy, 9 October 2016
“Beauty and truth by master of convivial economics David Fleming … Lean Logic is at my bedside. It’s hard to hold hope, as things are, but this dictionary is a place I can duck into now and again, to re-find it.”

Lean Logic
Jacob Rask, 13 October 2016
Lean Logic is a complete masterpiece. Kept me up in the night for a week.”

Celebrating the life of Dr. David Fleming
Rob Hopkins, 13 October 2016
“His work was such a formative influence on the Transition movement … If you haven’t bought the books yet, they’re both utterly brilliant.”

The Archdruid Report
Comment by reader “Andrew”, 20 October 2016
“If any readers of the Archdruid Report are contemplating buying Lean Logic, do so. It is expensive but gives you the feeling we all know from reading this blog – when an insight just opens a window in your mind and the world looks different than it did a moment before – about every second page.”

For Hallowe’en this year, I’m dressing as the economy
openDemocracy, 26 October 2016
“The key challenge of today, for Fleming, is to repair the atrophied social structures on which most human cultures have been built; to rediscover how to rely on each other rather than on money alone … Fleming’s compelling, grounded vision of a post-growth world is rare in its ability to inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of human beings to nurse our economy, ecology and culture back to health.”

The incredible tube in my throat
Art of Climbing Trees, 5 November 2016
“It really is a beautiful book; old skool qualidy … One of the foundations of Lean Logic is ‘the informal economy’. Looking through this lens made me think that already, the NHS doesn’t stop at the walls of the hospital. I was collected by my good friend Leonie, and fed, and made to feel safe in her home while the anaesthetic was still stewing my brain; she was an informal economy nurse you might say. Our NHS would be less than half of what it is without the love of our communities. Lean Logic in this way makes the future with less resources and complexity look possible, and to some extent desirable. I highly recommend it.”

Lean Logic: The Work of David Fleming
Permaculture Podcast, 20 November 2016
“Without hyperbole I see these two volumes as among the most important recent texts for any permaculture practitioner … a bridge between the early work of permaculture in designing the landscape and the space now of creating the resilient communities that are necessary to survival … I was blown away by how much information is available in either one of these volumes … What does it mean to live here in this space, surrounded by these people, and what can we do together, to create resilience; how can we celebrate? Within the depths of David Fleming’s work I’m finding answers, and adapting them to my own experiences.”

Surviving the Future
Legalise Freedom, 5 December 2016
A masterpiece more than thirty years in the making … Examines the consequences of an economy that destroys the very foundations – ecological, economic, and cultural – upon which it is built … Fleming acknowledges, with honesty, the challenges we face. But rather than inducing despair, Lean Logic and Surviving the Future inspire optimism … to rediscover the importance of resilience, community, and culture.”

Comment by reader “JPL”, 14 December 2016
“Thanks for your recent link to the podcast with Shaun Chamberlin that talked about David Fleming’s posthumously published book Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive it. I picked up a copy at the library last evening and all I can say is I’ve never read anything like it. It really is a dictionary/encyclopedia. I will be buying a copy of this. It’s incredible.”

Lean Logic
Anthony Manrique, 19 December 2016
Completely lost in the labyrinth of my new cathedral, Lean Logic. Sleeping in its nooks & crannies rather than my bed. Tired, optimistic, happy.”

Doves of Peaceful Prosperity for a Post-Growth World
Andrew Durling, 9 January 2017
“A magnum opusI can’t rate this book highly enough: it is the most comprehensive, thorough, deeply researched, yet easily readable book on sustainability I’ve ever come across, full of practical suggestions and proposals for creating, right now, the lean society that can survive the difficult times ahead. Like the doves I saw today in the dovecote I walked past, peaceful thoughts of a thriving future fly through the mind after reading such a visionary book as this!”

Peak Prosperity
Comment by reader “Christopher H”, 9 January 2017
“These books exceeded my expectations in just about every way possible. David Fleming’s work isn’t about giving up the good things in life that make us human, it’s about rediscovering them … I cannot overstate the breadth AND depth of knowledge that Dr. Fleming possessed and transmitted on these pages … If I had to pick only one book to save and pass along to future generations, this would be that book … I literally have not been able to put it down since picking it up.”

A magical book from an intellectual giant
Amazon.co.uk review, 17 January 2017
Possibly the best non-fiction book I’ve ever read. This is a book written with such wit, compassion and humanity that you are completely drawn in. Many times I had to drag myself away to fact check some of its claims fearing I was under some sort of spell. After going through the book I find myself unable to disagree with any of it. It certainly puts Brexit and Trump into perspective. I will definitely be buying the larger dictionary version.”

A panoptic tutorial for human survival
Amazon.com review, 20 January 2017
“The breadth and depth of this work is as staggering as its importance. It’s a kind of panoptic tutorial of our past and future. I’m astounded to discover after just a couple hours of reading that much of the anger and turmoil in the world can be accounted for … Lean Logic makes a case for what many people are already experiencing and desire on both liberal and conservative sides of economic, cultural and religious thinking … opens up a space for thinking about the future in emotional and rational terms that I think everyone who cares about the future can support.”

Review of Lean Logic
Canadian Investment Network, 31 January 2017
“One gets the impression that a very well read and deep thinker is addressing each topic … I particularly enjoyed the caliber of writing and thinking skill on display in David’s writing … the concept of a “lean economy” is provocative and will, I predict, eventually enter into mainstream debate as an alternative view of how economies might operate either by choice or by necessity. This review is still quite superficial in its treatment of David’s ideas … I’ve read enough to know, however, that this is a book worth recommending (and I’m not alone).”

Settling Down and Marking Time
Roger Scruton, February 2017
“Like Wendell Berry, [Fleming] emphasizes the non-contractual side of human dealings: the relations of trust, gift and good will that thrive in local communities, just so long as a culture of belonging obtains there. This culture of belonging, they argue, is the real social capital, and it is vulnerable to dispersal and spoliation, just as soon as the market achieves its dominance, when all obligations — trust, piety and even love itself — are up for sale.”

The sacred, the profane and the fatal flaw in politics
Vivid, 12 February 2017
Unconventional and captivating reading … written with such charm and levity … it feels as natural and free as a Saturday morning … the style and shape of this magnificent creation maps naturally onto the non-linear, novelty-seeking, story-loving landscape of our minds while its wisdoms take root in the heart … Fleming was not afraid to mix erudition and authority with playfulness and conviviality, and did not shy away from giving love, music, art, dance and laughter — carnival — the same high priority as the nitty gritty of economic and political systems. This serves as an uplifting reminder that politics and its communiqués … can be spirited, diverse, enabling and connecting … something we recapture from its lofty conceptual realms, disarm, bring down to earth, and revive — in the process remaking ourselves and our world.”

Lean Logician
Astroplethorama, 22 March 2017
“That morning bird’s song seems a reminder to turn from the manifold evidence of the dysfunction of this time, and instead sing the praises of one who sang in prose of the elements of an enjoyable lean way of living … someone who described the characteristics of localization as the normative and inevitable level of social organization, that will resume once the anomaly of globalization plays itself out. Evidently, he possessed the personality, the temperament, of a happy warrior: one who conducts his battles with joy, knowing full well the magnitude, difficulty and inevitable losses of the struggle.”

Beneficial Technology In Permaculture – Earth Day & Lean Logic (podcast)
Co-Opera, 22 April 2017
“Today is Earth Day, an important day in my opinion. And we have a appropriate and worthwhile subject to cover – quite a remarkable book, titled Lean Logic, thirty years in the writing by a gentleman called David Fleming … It’s a dictionary, but a lot of the sections refer to other sections, making it almost like a website with hyperlinks between the entries. I’m going to get a lot out of this book in everything I do … It’s becoming more obvious as every day passes that civilisation as we know it is not going to carry on in this form for any meaningful length of time … this book will be an invaluable resource for me in my ongoing research.”

David Fleming’s ‘Surviving the Future’
David Bollier, 13 June 2017
“Critiquing problems is far easier than imagining credible alternative futures. That seems to be the biggest problem in our political culture today: a colossal failure of imagination. I was therefore pleased when a new friend introduced me to the writings of David Fleming … Fleming is exploring a radical shift in our economy [but] … Surviving the Future is no doctrinaire manifesto or doomsday prophecy. It is, rather, a calm analysis written with good humor and a sense of life’s mysteries, joys and tragedies … Fleming opens some doors that few economists, political leaders and advocacy organizations dare to walk through, but his thoughtful, humanistic approach is a welcome tonic and rich with insights. Surviving the Future certainly expanded my appreciation for a future that is already arriving.”

The future, and how to survive it (radio show)
Greening the Apocalypse, 18 July 2017
“Fleming thought the globalised market economy would, in the not too distant future, begin to fail, and said: “Localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility. But it has the decisive argument in its favour that there is no alternative.” His work explores how we can create rich local cultures and economies as an alternative to global capitalism.”

Beautiful and hopeful
Amazon.com review, 30 January 2018
“This is a genius narrative – a “smoke signal” of sorts around which to gather to build a regenerative and life-providing future! It is the most concrete and descriptive look into a post-capitalist future I have found. I’m sure this text will continue to play a needed role in building beautiful alternatives and getting out of our current, extractive system. The prose is accessible and the future Fleming paints is alluring.”

Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It
Goodreads.com review, 2 April 2018
David Fleming may be my favorite mind of the last century. The man is a true philosopher of gifted insight, balanced with a heart for the real subtle details of lived experience. This is a book to be cherished, and cannot truly be finished – every entry comes alive in a new light on any given day it is read. This book more than any other on its shelf is a treasure from our civilization to the future. Help carry it on, please.”

A powerful, complex and indispensable vision
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, 26 April 2018
“The glorious achievement of a lifetime; I only wish I had discovered it earlier … Fleming develops a holistic, unique vision of humanity and our contemporary world. At this day and age, where political imagination is in short supply, it fills a niche waiting to be discovered by the multitudes … Interdisciplinary? This is beyond disciplines … Fleming is scientifically informed, playful and consistent … this is a unique and enormously powerful view of the world in which we live, and the one we want to build. We have never seen anything like it. There is a warmth and inclusiveness in Fleming’s prose that makes you want to continue the conversation forever.”

A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It
Farming Association of Vermont, 10 September 2018
“Fleming’s writing, and thought, is comprehensive, nuanced and sprinkled with humor, courageously seeing the world for what it is, yet tranquil and inspiring. Carlo Petrini, who writes as if he and Fleming were brothers, insists, ‘though the premises are harrowing, it is joy that prevails: the joy of believing in revolutionary change and a new humanity’.”

A surprisingly readable critique of conventional economics
Amazon.co.uk review, 9 September 2019
“A fascinating read, with unexpected asides and insights … The author is always thought provoking to say the least. With a mischievous sense of humour that is also deadly serious, he describes the attitudes and resources we will need if we are to sustain community during the period of transition from an industrial to a post-industrial world. I was not expecting to find it so compelling, but for me it is a page turner!”

Bonus footage – the man himself, in 2009

(Further footage, including Fleming’s last interview, in November 2010, available here)

Schumacher College course on Fleming’s work, UK:
6th-10th February 2017

Community, Place and Play: A Post-Market Economics

Community, Place and Play: A Post-Market Economics
with Shaun Chamberlin, Rob Hopkins, Mark Boyle and Stephan Harding

Sterling College symposium on Fleming’s work, US:
1st-2nd December 2017

Surviving the Future symposium
with Peter Buffett, David Bollier, Margo Baldwin, Richard Heinberg, Chuck Collins and Matthew Derr

The European Parliament discusses Fleming’s TEQs system,
as described in Lean Logic

Molly Scott Cato MEP chairs discussion of David Fleming's TEQs system

The Guardian profiles one of the cities putting Fleming’s insights into practice, October 2019

Guardian headline - 'The US city preparing itself for the collapse of capitalism'

‘Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time’
online course – 250 enrollees from 25 countries, April-May 2020

Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time


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Mailing list, a few times a year

Stay connected with David Fleming’s inspirational work and related developments, including the film
The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?

(or take a peek at the previous updates first!)