Several years ago, William (Bill) Powers, after a decade in international aid work, embarked upon an experiment. He spent a year in a one-room cabin without running water or electricity in a farm in North Carolina, subtitled “off the grid and beyond the American dream”, he wrote a diary in his green-living memoir “Twelve By Twelve”. Now, in New Slow City, Powers decides to up the ante. While it might be easy to craft a simpler life far away from the neuroses of modern-day urban life, is it at all possible to live by the deeper principles of Twelve By Twelve smack-bang in the middle of Manhattan’s obsession with speed?
After much deep digging and soul searching, Bill and his wife Melissa gave up their 2,000- square-foot Queens house with its vegetable garden, sold almost 80% of their worldly goods and moved to a 350 square-foot micro-loft in Greenwich Village. While Melissa too to her new high profile job at the UN, Bill took a step back from his exhausting activist-journalist life to embrace the principles of the “Slow Movement”, scaling down to a two-workday week. In an engaging memoir, Powers explores the viability of Slow Food and Slow Money, technology detoxes and urban sanctuaries, even as he encounters a madcap bunch of New Yorkers who are seriously resisting the culture of Total Work.
Is it actually possible to slow down in our hectic hyper-connected lives where even the terms of leisure are dictated by peer pressure and global trends? Read the super interesting New Slow City to find out, especially if you are the sort that can toss out all the neo-capitalistic impulses at the heart of the turning-over-a-new-leaf- industry feeding off people’s anxieties, to actually attempt something radically original. If not, at least you can pepper your conversations with slow – trust me, it is very very in.
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