Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book Review: Better Off

In his excellent book Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, Eric Brende, then a MIT grad student studying the costs and benefits of technology, undertook an 18 month experiment with his new wife to leave Boston and go live in a Mennonite community without electricity, gas, or modern conveniences. The book is well written and full of great stories that will be of particular interest to you if you are pursuing simple living.

The real strength of the book, in my opinion, is Brende's discussion of his thought processes on the philosophy of technology. His measured and throughtful approach is both insightful and piercing as he suggests new ways to think about the impact technology makes on our lives for good and bad. Brende concludes that technology is not inherently evil, but that in our day and age, technologies that are supposed to be making our lives easier are more often than not making them harder when you really consider the expenditure of resources, your stress and lack of true leisure, and so forth.

Better Off is a compelling and entertaining book, and I highly recommend it.

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