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Better Off

Better Off: Flipping The Switch On Technology

Staff Review

Staff Pick

Original
Eric
HPB Staff

Better Off

by Brende, Eric
Good art always evades the tyranny of its technology. - Phillip Rawson

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.

 
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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.



  • Condition: Used - Good
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: HPB U City
  • Seller rating:
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Harpercollins
  • ISBN-13: 9780060570057
  • ISBN: 0060570059
  • Publication Year: 2005
  • Edition: Reprint
HPB pick - In stock


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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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