Better Off

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photoIn 1992, MIT graduate student Eric Brende and his new wife, Mary, committed to living a year off the grid. No phone. No computer. No refrigerator. No electricity. They settled in a community of people Brende calls the "Minimites" — a little bit Amish, a little bit Mennonite, all about avoiding technology. Eric and Mary went 18 months with their experiment, and came out changed.

In a new book, Brende says that the surprising discovery he and his wife made is that the people up at dawn and working with their hands on the farm have more leisure time than plugged-in, turbo-charged city folks working 9-to-5. And it is the very "time-saving" technology itself, he concludes, that often robs people's free time.

Today, Eric Brende lives in St. Louis with his wife and children. He works as a rickshaw driver and a soap maker and still lives with a minimal amount of the technology that most Americans can't live without.

Tune in to hear Eric Brende talk about living the simple life, off the technology grid.


Eric Brende, author, "Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology. " He is a rickshaw driver and a soapmaker in St. Louis.

This program aired on August 3, 2004.


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