Joys of the simple life—now

"Don't waste your money on those books!" the bookstore owner said. "Those books on the simple life—they're just clichés. I know. I tried it for ten years up in Vermont!"

For the next fifteen minutes, this philosopher-bookseller paced back and forth, telling us all about what happened in Vermont, a state in the northeastern part of the United States. He and a friend had moved to a shack in the woods to live a life of total simplicity: no phone, no car, no electricity, no running water, no money. Just a fireplace, a couple of mattresses, and a little vegetable garden out back. At first, it was idyllic.

December 11, 1995

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