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. 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. The Paperback of the Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende at Barnes & Noble. FREE Shipping on $ or more!.

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Still, there were some really interesting points made about the roles of men and women. See 1 question about Better Off…. Reproduction of material from any Godspy pages without written permission is strictly prohibited. Aug 02, Jes rated it really liked it. Refresh and try again.

For example, they considered installing a community phone bettre use in emergencies and to contact friends outside their world.

What about food preparation? There are a certain breed of people that walk this earth, and we go beyond the need that Mary expresses for farm life. But after a little while in the city, they decided to find a small, unnamed city where they could model the low-tech, family oriented lifestyle they learned from the Minimites.

The young professor, Eda Kranakis, capably surveyed the development of wind and water mills, steam engines, and railroads, and tossed in a graphic description of the inhuman working conditions in nineteenth century factories. The self along is not sufficient.

I finally murmured a denial. His questions about technology led him, as he neared the end of graduate studies at M. It took a while for my proposition to sink in: Locally they commuted to work from new subdivisions in hired motor vehicles. There were exactly eight little heads besides mine and my wife’s peeking over the rim of the craft, all identical and propagated with the help of a bstter drug.

You could tell English was betteg his first language from the way he clipped his syllables and sometimes groped for a word.

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Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende

The Best Metal of From the start, his description of his wife as an “assistant” is disturbing And his rickshaw taxi business is well served by a computer and cell phone. Didn’t she know that the baby items brennde the mother’s responsibility? I fill it with more tech usage.

Instead he manages to take nearly every experience and encounter and turn it into a larger-than-life lesson about how things should be, usually relying on weakly related quotes by other, more talented writers, or outright assumptions he presents as gospel. You may right this off as mere fantasy, but I can cook. I read this book about two years ago and really enjoyed it. My wife and I have talked about living off in the wilderness or the countryside after graduation, so we could learn to live without our technological crutches.

I really would like to have heard more about Mary’s thoughts and impacts over the 18 months. The second thing that seemed off was his treatment of his wife. Take how he talks about his wife. But the last short chapter pulled it up to a solid 4 star. Does this constant instant gratification affect our relationships, frienships and ability to give to others?

Thanks for stopping by Sam. She related the tragic tale of the British land enclosure movement, inspired by “scientific farming,” which uprooted countless laborers from their hereditary commons in the country and flung them into the cities, where they formed an easily exploited labor pool. However, this is not what the book was about. Adam McKay’s gonzo Dick Cheney biopic satire, Vice, won’t be compared to Shakespeare, but it shares the Bard’s disinterest in supervillains’ motivations.

Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende

He’s also forced into selling canned sorghum molasses outside the local strip mall. I found out about a new course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that was intended to provide a critical overview of the social effects of machines on human life.


Better Off is as close to a contemporary ‘Walden’ as I’ve come across. One of the community’s most common sayings–and no doubt an important one because of the lack of technology–was “many hands make light work. If you have ever admired old-school agrarians or even outright Luddites like Chesterton or the Nashville Agrarians, but wondered whether a de-industrialized, low-tech lifestyle is even feasible in modern times, this is a good book to read and ponder.

What would our lives look like without internet and cell phones, refrigeration and modern laundry facilities, alarm clocks and fast food?

It wasn’t technology per se that I was after so much as an dric of indiscriminate license, a bias in favor of machines over the interest of human beings. Brende and wife also discover the joys of canning, cow-milking, bean-picking, pumpkin-harvesting, using simple hydraulics; they’re beende introduced to the conversational camaraderie forged through collective effort.

The writing can be clunky at times, and Brende makes many assumptions about others’ thoughts and attitudes that can seem less than generous; still, his betfer undogmatic approach to the question of technology and finding the right balance in our lives is quite valuable food for thought. Brende is an expert in his field, the book is well-written and engaging, and the author’s thesis that moderating the use of some types of technology in our lives will enrich them is calm and reasoned.

I am reminded of the Housewife’s Lament: I got so irritated with the narrator that I had to skim to finish this book.

Jun 11, Anna rated it did not like it. I love washing my clothes in the sink. They did almost everything brened else did, using a substitute device.