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New Slow City: Living Simply in the World's Fastest City

Overview


Burned-out after years of doing development work around the world, William Powers spent a season in a 12-foot-by-12-foot cabin off the grid in North Carolina, as recounted in his award-winning memoir Twelve by Twelve. Could he live a similarly minimalist life in the heart of New York City? To find out, Powers and his wife jettisoned 80 percent of their stuff, left their 2,000-square-foot Queens townhouse, and moved into a 350-square-foot “micro-apartment” in Greenwich Village. Downshifting to a two-day workweek,...
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New Slow City: Living Simply in the World's Fastest City

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Overview


Burned-out after years of doing development work around the world, William Powers spent a season in a 12-foot-by-12-foot cabin off the grid in North Carolina, as recounted in his award-winning memoir Twelve by Twelve. Could he live a similarly minimalist life in the heart of New York City? To find out, Powers and his wife jettisoned 80 percent of their stuff, left their 2,000-square-foot Queens townhouse, and moved into a 350-square-foot “micro-apartment” in Greenwich Village. Downshifting to a two-day workweek, Powers explores the viability of Slow Food and Slow Money, technology fasts and urban sanctuaries. Discovering a colorful cast of New Yorkers attempting to resist the culture of Total Work, Powers offers an inspiring exploration for anyone trying to make urban life more people- and planet-friendly.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“All of us sense that we could live better, kinder lives. But Bill Powers has the courage to try to change and then — ever so artfully, without the slightest wag of a finger — to show us how.”
— Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man

“Bill Powers has done it again — taken us on an honest, touching journey into living lightly and intelligently in a distracted world. And he’s such a good writer that we don’t even know we are being educated, challenged, and changed.”
— Vicki Robin, coauthor of the international bestseller Your Money or Your Life and author of Blessing the Hands That Feed Us

“The reenchantment of urban life — so compromised by the accelerated techno-industrial culture — takes work, and William Powers saves us a lot of time on the learning curve. Hats off, especially to his courage.”
— Douglas Tompkins, founder of the North Face clothing company and the Foundation for Deep Ecology

“Empowered by his experiences, [Powers] gives readers an inside view into a more contemplative, ecofriendly life, no matter the environment. This honest, engaging memoir will please readers looking for inspiration to slow down.”
Library Journal

“In the City That Never Sleeps, in a place whose very definition of success is 'bigger, better, faster,' Powers attempts to lead a more deliberate life, to paraphrase Thoreau. A self-admitted workaholic, he wants to ratchet it back a notch, to redefine urban existence in terms that can save his sanity and, quite possibly, the planet. He has had some experience at this, as recounted in Twelve by Twelve (2010), but will his time spent off the grid in rural North Carolina prepare him for downsizing to a 340-square-foot micro apartment in the heart of Manhattan? With his new bride? Who soon becomes pregnant? Analyzing what it means to 'want what we want,' Powers turns his ecologically contemplative gaze both inward and outward, to matters both personal and global, to reconnect with those increasingly rare pockets of peace, tranquility, and mindfulness that will allow him to appreciate life at a slower pace and from a simpler vantage point. One need not live in a city to savor Powers' languid, albeit unconventional, advocacy for an unhurried pace.”
Booklist

“Is it possible to live an earth-friendly and spiritually fulfilling life in the middle of the bustle of a big city? William Powers and his wife are the perfect people to find out. I found that the tales of the remarkable people they meet, the challenges they confront, and the beauty and joy they discover nourished a part of my soul that rarely gets fed. Never preachy, always entertaining, and often wise, this is a splendid book for anyone wanting to bring more heart and joy to urban living.”
— John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America

New Slow City tells an inspiring story. At the outset, Powers’s goal — to live slowly and mindfully in frantic Manhattan — seems quixotic in the extreme. But one should never underestimate a determined idealist. This delightfully provocative book will speak to anyone trying to build a balanced life in our crazy world. I first came to know Powers’s work because we coincidentally share the same name. Now I read him to question my own assumptions and reimagine how to live.”
— William Powers, New York Times–best-selling author of Hamlet’s BlackBerry

“An inspirational quest to slow down, simplify, and find serenity in a supercharged city. William Powers discovers the joy in less stuff, less work, and less speed!”
— Francine Jay, author of The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide

“Powers’s message, honed through his experiences living in poor countries like Bolivia, shows that we can live simply, sustainably, and happily. And I know it’s real because I stayed with him in his tiny place. But Powers also slows down — at least as important as scaling down — and learns to savor the little daily miracles of life. This message may be just what you need to change your own life for the better. Don’t miss it!”
— John de Graaf, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Affluenza and What’s the Economy For, Anyway? and executive director of Take Back Your Time

"Powers places the difficult decisions we face on a daily basis into an equation that should provide us all with an optimistic glimpse of how to slow our lives down. Read New Slow City and watch as its insights pepper your daily decisions while you navigate the folly of the fast life.”
— Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA

“In New Slow City, William Powers offers us his challenging and delightful story of learning to live with less in the heart of New York City. In his warm narrative style, Powers guides the reader through the struggles he and his wife face in getting rid of stuff and squeezing their lives into a 350-square-foot micro-apartment. This work is a profound witness that a meaningful and joyful life of conservation is possible, even amid the powers of speed in the quintessential American city.”
— C. Christopher Smith, senior editor of the Englewood Review of Books and coauthor of Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608682393
  • Publisher: New World Library
  • Publication date: 11/11/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 146,419

Meet the Author


William Powers is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and an adjunct faculty member at New York University.
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