Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology
It's a decent premise: A man and woman decide to live off the grid for 18 months: no car, no electricity, no cell phones, and no refrigerator. Eric Brende and his new wife arranged to rent a room in an Amish-type community and adopt an agrarian lifestyle.
Generally I enjoy these kinds of project memoirs, but Brende's writing style was too florid, and he is not a good storyteller. He kept skippin ...more
I didn't finish it. The author took a potentially interesting subject and ruined it with trite, cloying, overwriting. His descriptions of his girlfriend/wife are totally ridiculous/insulting/annoying. Dude sounds like a boring jerk, the worst kind.
Brende has written a fairly interesting book about the experience. As Jon Krakauer said in a blurb, he certainly does not come off as a “sancti ...more
I wanted to like this book. The premise seemed simple and charming: take a person out of the typical 20th century American lifestyle and test their ability to live and work in a quasi-Amish community. But Mr. Brende manages to dodge every opportunity to provide actual insigh ...more
Looking forward to the read.
A review will follow...
6/30/07: I would recommend this book to anyone interested in contemplating their use of (addiction to?) modern "conveniences" and the personal, emotional, spiritual, physical and environmental e ...more
In "Better Off," the author and his wife leave technology and the city behind and live in a Menonnite community for 18 months. I must say, I enjoyed the first half of this book much more than the end. Eric Brende's journey to live with an Amish like group and his trials and discoveries are enjoyable at first. The changes in his life style and the consequenc ...more
Eric Brende struck me as having such a 'me first' attitude that he didn't even write about other people like they were real. He was the only person who was described as having serious or complex thoughts and everyone else was descr ...more
Perhaps it was the discussion of religious doctrine, which was interesting from a cultural standpoint at first, but soon began to make me feel claustrophobic ...more
The negative reviews often describe the author as arrogant and narcissistic; he's certainly introspective, as is appropriate in a memoir (I wonder what these same reviewers would say about Thoreau), but I don't see the arrogance. The author doesn't shy away from negative depictions of himself. Compared to his new Amish-style neighbors, he's weak, ignorant, and incompetent in his new lifestyle, but he seems to realize ...more
The writing and story was good, but the ideas better. The highlight for me was the final chapter and epilogue. Especially since it had so many references to which I am familiar, "one night it was Henry Louis Gates going to a Spanish restaurant on the Camb ...more
I am inspired by his journey, by his convictions which took him to take risk and try living a little differently than most of the western world. I am compelled to reduce my dependance on machinery and technology myself (as I type this on my laptop) which is probably why this book appeal ...more
It is, however, predominately from the perspective of a man, with little mention of his wife's experience. I really would like to have heard more about Mar ...more
Better Off is a book about a man who lives for 18 months without technology. Let me just say this: if I was not forced to read this book for school, I would have been very happy knowing this terrible book did not exist.
The characters of this book can be classified into two types: boring and whiny or pretentious and preachy. Eric Brende is one of the most reprehensible authors to every exist. On almost every page, he is either scolding ...more
The premise – to spend a year and a half disconnected from the grid – held promise, and it was interesting, and at times amusing, to read about the Brende’s education-by-immersion in a ‘back to the land’ subsistence lifestyle, but ultimately this was a disappointing read.
Perhaps I misconstrued the author’s intent, which I took to be an experiment to determine the minimum amount of technology needed to live comfortably. Instead, his endeavor struck
You know it's going to be a doozy from the first chapter, when Brende describes the gift of passion he brings to the soulless faculty of MIT by playing a disused piano in one of the buildings. I hate to break it to you, Brende, but there migh ...more