Andrea's Reviews > Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology

Better Off by Eric Brende
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's review
Mar 28, 09

Recommended to Andrea by: Robert Pless
Recommended for: wanna-be-luddites
Read in March, 2009, read count: 1

A bit indulgent, Better Off is nonetheless a compelling read for someone who dabbles in the notions of living with less and deliberate slowing down. It chronicles the eighteen month sojourn of a young MIT student and his wife in an Amish community, where they learn to make do without electricity. The purpose of their sudden immersion into luddism is to understand the impact of modern society's ubiquitous electronic gadgetry. Does it actually improve life or does it simply put us on a vicious cycle of make more use more? Is some technology better than other technology? Does it have to be all or nothing? When we turn the technology off, what fills up the space left behind?

We get to experience vicariously (from our centrally heated home lit by energy saving light bulbs etc) what it would take to walk away from modernity. Along the way we get to a unique peek into a culture that is otherwise impenetrable, to appreciate that not all "technology" is powered technology and that what we seek through our gadgetry may be better found by turning it off.

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