Looking back on 2021, one of the things we’re most grateful for is how Strong Towns advocates across the U.S. and Canada came together to launch Confessions of a Recovering Engineer into the world. Confessions of a Recovering Engineer: Transportation for a Strong Town is, as you know, the second book from Strong Towns Founder and President Chuck Marohn. It explains why North American transportation is ineffective, dangerous, and expensive—a bad combination. It also describes the Strong Towns approach to fixing it.
There are several reasons why producing a book on this topic is so important, but we want to highlight just two. One is that it helps position Strong Towns advocates like you as must-heed authorities on how to make our transportation better. The other is that a book like this helps grow the overall Strong Towns movement.
With your help, the book has been making an impact since it was released in September. Chuck has spoken to audiences in dozens of cities as part of the Confessions Book Tour. (The tour resumes in January.) It remains a bestseller across multiple categories. It has 76 reviews so far on Amazon, all but one of which are 4- or 5-star reviews. Planetizen named it one of the Top 10 urban planning books of 2021. It was also the book of the year for Streets Alive Yarra in Australia. (We think Chuck is hoping for an Australia leg of the book tour, maybe sometime in February, when the high is 90 degrees in Yarra and 19 in Brainerd.)
Best still is when we hear of local groups who are discussing the book together and putting it into action.
Since the book’s release, we’ve been compiling some of the media coverage around Confessions, including articles about the book, reviews, interviews with Chuck, and more. We’ve pulled out a few articles, reviews, and podcasts for you below. But if you haven’t visited the Confessions media page recently, you should check it out. We update it regularly.
“One of Marohn’s great strengths is his refusal to indulge in partisanship. Red meat for the extremes of the ideological spectrum is a proven way to sell books, but Marohn recognizes that transportation reform is or ought to be an issue that cuts across partisan lines at the local level. Conservatives will appreciate his insistence on attention to the bottom line and his appreciation of traditional urban design. Progressives will appreciate his sensitivity to questions of race and class.”
“While Confessions may cause a stir in the engineering profession, it is also an important book for the average American. That isn’t to say it’s an easy read. It is almost impossible to accept the sheer amount of slowly accumulated, hard-earned value that has been vaporized, and the sheer amount of inconvenience and suffering that has been inflicted, especially upon the most vulnerable, by the professions and systems that Marohn methodically exposes. It would be far easier, for those who were able before, to ignore it. If you read Confessions, you’ll no longer be able to.”