Eric Brende accounts his year long experience living without a car, stove, refrigerator, running water and all other forms of what we might consider 'modern technology' with a Pennsylvania Anabaptist community even the Amish consider antiquated. He undertakes this living experiment along with his wife and child (who is conceived and born after he decides to undertake the project) as an adjunct to his graduate studies at M.I.T. The question he seeks to answer is "what is the least technology needed to achieve the most". I was drawn to this book as an artist and potter who is fully engaged and fascinated by Facebook and Instagram and innovation but also overwhelmed by the quality of life I am able to achieve given the quantity of choices of how to spend my finite amount of time. I love making pots because it engages me physically and emotionally in the doing while giving my thinking mind time to rest...until it's time to decide what to make next. I was also a philosophy major in college. What struck me about the book is that it made me think about what I consider "technology" in a different light. Before I might see the word 'technology' and think computers, hand held devices and the like. Brende encourages one to redefine 'technology' as tool making and the community he lives among is in fact very thoughtful about how to make the best tool to complete a job in the best manner in order to live the best life. Beyond this, the book is a nice human memoir that treats its subjects with respect and thoughtfulness.
A graduate working on a program to study the effects of technology on society describes his residence in a Amish-type community and recounts how his wife and he experienced health benefits and overall life satisfaction during their stay.