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The Uncommon Knowledge of Elinor Ostrom: Essential Lessons for Collective Action
(2021, Island Press)

Featured in Science magazine’s Summer Reading 2021

“An intriguing exploration of pioneering research in natural resource management and the economist who led it.” ― Kirkus Reviews

“A fascinating overview of the groundbreaking ideas about the governance of the commons developed by Elinor Ostrom, interspersed with a subtle, but enlightening narrative of her life and career …. It would appeal to those seeking a basic introduction to this great scholar, her novel and enduring ideas and the continued relevance they have for the many pressing challenges of resource governance we face today.”
  ― African Journal of Range and Forage Science

“Expertly researched and thoughtfully presented rendition of an intelligent, persevering, and insightful woman’s contribution to economic studies and behavioral science. Highly recommended, especially for public and college library collections.”
  ― Midwest Book Review

“Are humans destined to overrun our resources? Erik Nordman, channeling the work of the Nobel Prize-winner Elinor Ostrom, persuasively argues no. Nordman provides a framework for how we can overcome our encroaching environmental crises, and by drawing on real-world examples, he leaves the reader with an increasingly elusive attitude—optimism.” — Kendra Pierre-Louis, climate reporter, Gimlet Media’s How to Save a Planet podcast

“Part biography and part theoretical exposition, this book is an accessible, richly nuanced, and yes, entertaining account of Lin Ostrom’s life and research programs.” — Edella Schlager, professor, School of Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona

 “A scholarly life like Elinor Ostrom’s is not easily distilled into a single volume, but Erik Nordman does so ably. Reviewing key lessons gleaned from her work around the world, he makes Lin’s journey leap off the page through interviews, field work, and engaging first-person encounters.” — Scott Shackelford, executive director, Ostrom Workshop Program on Cybersecurity and Internet Governance


I study the social dimensions of the environment and natural resources, including economics and policy

Commons and collective action

Economic value of ecosystem services

Renewable energy

Keynote speaker

Nordman has delivered keynote addresses for industry, community, and academic events both in-person and virtually around the world. Contact him to see if he is available to speak at your next event.

Kilimanjaro at dawn
Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Grand Haven, Michigan