I read the book a few weeks ago, one of my brilliant air port finds.  It took a few weeks of reading while I climbed the stairs (and occasionally, surreptitiously, under my desk at work) to finish it.  I’ve been recommending it everywhere since I finished.  While I agree with the basic premise (having thrown myself into the “knowledge” economy and found it to be dead boring), when it comes to thinking through living it out, I balk.

For example, my home town makes apprenticeship and manual labor unrealistic by way of wages.  I mean, I’m not going to become a master electrician over night, but if I want to keep living, I’m going to have to keep earning.   Yet I’m out of town, visiting central Illinois where a rented apartment costs less than $500.  You could trade salary for autonomy and do just fine.   At least from one perspective.

But for the love of Elvis, why has this country turned itself into one great big strip mall?  “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot” was never so apt.   Compared to the east coast, the size of the sky here is miraculous.  The corn fields and the white clapboard houses, even the ones that are falling down, are all right-sized and aesthetically pleasing.  Then you come to the broken-down rusting hulls of small towns where the thunder reverberates through the empty warehouses.  Perhaps even those have their beauty (and humor).  Finally, you have the mid-size town where everything within sight is paved over.  Couldn’t someone have planned for some sensible efficiency?  Sooner or later, there will have to be an organized retreat to a defensible position.  I couldn’t do it.  At least I don’t think I could.

I think you get addicted to the panic attack associated with living in the coastal population centers.


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