Better Off?

by vernsanders on June 19, 2012

One of my resolutions this year is to read a “non-business, non-music” book a month. This month, thanks to my daughter, I’ve been reading (and just finished) Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende. In case you don’t get the double entendre in the title, the marketing hook (with my interpolations)  is “Two People (actually 3, by the end of the book) One Year (actually 18 months) Zero Watts (nope, not that either, but then who’s counting?).

The premise is “can two college educated easterners find peace and happiness by “going off the grid” in a “Minimite” community in the midwest?”

Don’t read it for the story, although that’s good. Read it for the thought provoking, of which there is a lot. Like…

When the quantity of machines shrinks, another area of human realization expands: skill. Strange that our mental picture of life with simpler technology is peopled by drudges and unskilled laborers. That is doubtless a projection of our own experience — the mindless repetition brought about by automation over the last two centuries. [We discovered] that it wasn’t the sheer physical burden of unmechanized labor that was daunting. It was the skill. To make matters harder, skill was not concentrated in a single specialty but scattered in dozens of little knacks and hundreds of bits of knowledge, all foreign to the button -pusher. On top of all this, the foremost skill was balancing and integrating all the little bits into a single livelihood. (emphasis mine)

Sounds like top level management and leadership to me…or trying to make a living as a musician…

Oh…and there’s a great explanation (though not direct, but backed up by a rudimentary time and motion survey) of why you see highway workers leaning on shovels as you drive by…and why that is, in fact, more productive in many ways.

Highly Recommended.

Ipod shuffle status (What is this?): 4146 (Lassus: Tui Sunt coeli (SATB.SATB) – The Sixteen)  of 7875

Get my EBook The Choir in Modern Worship



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