The Lifeboat Bookshelf

We’ve been asked a few times to recommend reading lists to people so I thought it was about time we listed a few of our favourite books. We read a lot and this list are the ones we think are the most informative, inspiring or plain useful. I’ll add more books to the shelf as I think of them and get the time.

You can visit the Lifeboat Bookshelf here.


  1. PeterNZ Says :
    3 February, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Cool idea. Some good reading in this list. Although I miss Pat Coleby’s “Natural Farming”. It was an eye opener for me.

    Keep it up!


  2. John Says :
    3 February, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks Peter – I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  3. Caroline Says :
    21 April, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Hey John,

    Woohoo a book list!!!! Looking forward to getting through a few of these :)

    Thanks again for an amazing week, definitely a highlight of my trip, and with a lasting effect. I have moved, though not quite out of the city yet (Rabbit has another year to work here), off to the country next year. We do however have a garden and have started a veggie patch, and I am remembering all the tips you gave me…

    I hope Sookie is thriving and the little pigs are a bit more tame (did they manage to escape a 3rd time? hahaha). Have you got a dog yet??

    I am hoping to go to another farm during my winter break, in Australia this time, I wonder what the next adventures will be!

    We also got a pasta (manual!) machine, as I loved Karen’s recipe!

    I hope to see you both again on my next trip to NZ, hopefully this time with Rabbit.

    Until then, I will be keeping up with your blog!

    Best of luck to you all,


    PS Awesome garlic plaits! I remember the smell of the living room when you harvested it, hehe….

  4. Royden Says :
    12 June, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Hey buddy, randomly checking in. I trust everything is well.

    I reckon a great addition to the bookshelf is John Seymour’s “The new complete book of self-sufficiency”. An enclyclopaedic font of useful info on a massive aray of subjects. Nothing in detail, but a good macro view of almost everything.

  5. John Says :
    23 June, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Hey Royden – all good here

    I looked at Seymour’s book but we ended up having books in more detail on most of the topics – but it looks like a good starting point. I hope all’s well with you.

  6. Royden Says :
    19 July, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Hey John, you are right, it is pretty high level. I love it because it sort of joins everything together, and there is so much in there it is always giving me ideas for new stuff to do.

    Hey by the way, I just pulled out our old bathub and thought, hmm maybe some worms, Googled ‘Bathtub worm farm’ and yours was number 5 in the list, and by my reckoning the best page of the bunch. – Just thought you might like to know.

    On a more bookish note, I have just finished reading “The Barefoot Beekeeper” by P.J Chandler. I have some old Totara posts I am keen to make into low cost, natural beehives, have joined the Auckland Bee Club and am now trying to find somewhere close by to keep my (still to be built) hives.

    Check out, he has free plans for building a hive and a bunch of other stuff.

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