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Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technologyby Eric Brende
Synopses & Reviews
What happens when a graduate of MIT, the bastion of technological advancement, and his bride move to a community so primitive in its technology that even Amish groups consider it antiquated?
Eric Brende conceives a real-life experiment: to see if, in fact, all our cell phones, wide-screen TVs, and SUVs have made life easier and better: or whether life would be preferable without them. By turns, the query narrows down to a single question: What is the least we need to achieve the most? With this in mind, the Brendes ditch their car, electric stove, refrigerator, running water, and everything else motorized or hooked to the grid and begin an eighteen-month trial run (one that dramatically changes the way they live) and proves entertaining and surprising to readers.
Better OFF is a smart, often comedic, and always riveting book that also mingles scientific analysis with the human story, demonstrating how a world free of technological excess can shrink stress, and waistlines, and expand happiness, health, and leisure. Our notion that technophobes are backward gets turned on its head as the Brendes realize that the crucial technological decisions of their adopted Minimite community are made more soberly and deliberately than in the surrounding culture, and the result is greater, not lesser, mastery over the conditions of human existence.
"It will give you a new perspective on your life and will be time well spent." Boston Globe
What is the least we need to achieve the most? With this question in mind, MIT graduate Eric Brende flipped the switch on technology. He and his wife, Mary, ditched their car, electric stove, refrigerator, running water, and everything else motorized or "hooked to the grid," and spent eighteen months living in a remote community so primitive in its technology that even the Amish consider it antiquated.
Better Off is the story of their real-life experiment to see whether our cell phones, wide-screen TVs, and SUVs have made life easier — or whether life would be preferable without them. This smart, funny, and enlightening book mingles scientific analysis with the human story to — and waistlines — and expand happiness, health, and leisure.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
On a mission to prove that modern technological advances make lives more inconvenient and less healthy, Brende and his wife lived for 12 months among an energy-free farming community.
About the Author
Eric Brende has degrees from Yale, Washburn University, and MIT, and has received a Citation of Excellence from the National Science Foundation and a graduate fellowship from the Mellon Foundation in the Humanities. At the insistence of his editor, he now has an e-mail account at the local library but continues to minimize modern technology for himself and his family. Eric and Mary Brende have recently relocated to an old-town section in St. Louis, where Eric makes his living as a rickshaw driver and a soap maker.
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