Book Of the Month – July

This month I read ‘Better Off’ by Eric Brende

I SO enjoyed this book. The book is a social/technology experiment that the author tried on himself and his new wife as they attempted to live without any technology for 18 months.

The author was doing a degree in the impacts of technology on our lives and the way that the things we have in our lives that are so touted to make life easier and more convenient/relaxing/enjoyable can actually be doing the very opposite.

In order to try this out they lived in a community somewhere in the United States (location deliberately not shared by the author) that is considered extreme even by the Amish in terms of its stance on technology.

I found this book compelling to read it is challenging in terms of the impact no technology had on their lives – more leisure time, the manner in which relationships and community develops and the skills that are required. Brende says in the book our attitudes about people who live in these communities or in places in the world without technology is that the people will be unskilled labourers forced into a life of hard physical work. His experience was very much the opposite.

This book is gentle in its encouragement and attitude. There is no feeling of pious condemnation on those who use technology but it definitely challenged me about our cultural life values and how much we work and are enslaved by debt, money and the inability to provide our own needs without technology, mass-production, convenience stores….

In all this though it made me feel hopeful and excited about what we can do for ourselves when we exercise conscious choice about HOW we live in all areas of our lives.

The book is very easy – diary like – to read and I would thoroughly recommend it. I got my copy out  from the local library. Regardless of how you feel about the need for technology or otherwise it is a great glimpse into the lives and lifestyles of those who deliberately choose to live without it.

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