I grew up in one of those Judeo-Christian homes that apparently strike terror in the hearts of the likes of Betty Friedan, Alan Grayson and Kathryn Joyce. My parents never had sex until they got married to each other. Theirs is an enduring...

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Interesting Books We Read

Better Off by Eric Brende

Brende submitted a paper at MIT on how much technology really simplifies things, versus how much time we spend servicing our technology. MIT may not have been his most likely audience, but the question sent his family on an 18-month adventure as they pursued further answers through a drastic lifestyle change. Brende simply tells their story, of a modern family reduced to minimal technology, of the lifestyle they adopted after the experiment, where technology is used where it is useful, not more or less, and of the observations they made along the way.

Flat World by Thomas Friedman

Flat World may be the antonym of Better Off. (That’s why we followed immediately with it.) “The world is round- spherical, really!” announced Christopher Columbus, and ushered the Western Hemisphere into the global economy. The world is now flat, says Friedman. The continents have merged again. Modern technology has leveled the playing field, so what was once an American job is now just a job.

He recommends keeping up-to-date technologically lest you be left in the dust. He makes very insightful remarks on the sloth of the American “worker”, and the timelessness of diligence. He makes not so helpful remarks about the inability of a free-market society to cope with the changes, and the necessity of an almighty government to intervene.

After reading both, it appears that the diligent will find work, technological or not. And technology may complicate the simple, and fill more of your time, while possibly adding productivity, but it isn’t the big bad wolf.