on July 7, 2017 :
While there is a lot of useful advice in this book, all of it is buried beneath the author's political soapbox; separating the useful information from the ranting against the intrusion of government into the lives of private citizens becomes a chore very quickly. (It took me well over a year just to get through this book, and I've been known to read through books with 50k word counts in a weekend.) It is true that some places have written or unwritten rules against a lot of the practices of the DIY and off-grid lifestyles. That can't and shouldn't be avoided or glossed over. But this book definitely goes too far in the other direction; the first three chapters are more or less a political manifesto.
All of this highlights a problem that might otherwise have gone unnoticed; with all the focus on how the government is getting in the way, there is very little practical advice on how to either work towards changing government policy to be less hostile to off-grid living or evading government scrutiny when using these strategies. Either one of those could have been a complete chapter on its own, and there is definitely a demand for that kind of information. By the same token, the emphasis on the potential legal perils of living unhooked from the grid does as much to discourage those who might otherwise be interested in it as the actual physical and logistical challenges involved; in other words, the author is scaring away her potential audience. In Life After Doomsday by Dr. Bruce Clayton, he recalled going to a meeting of disarmament activists during the Cold War and finding their persuasion methods to be sorely lacking at best, and counterproductive at worst, and the author makes the same mistakes here by spending too much time on the negative.
If you are the type of person that is angry all the time about things you feel that you can't control or change, then you'll probably like this book even if you don't actually plan to use the information inside, because of the sense of solidarity. If you just want to get right to brass tacks when it comes to living without utilities... well, you're going to have to do some digging. Bring a shovel and some knee high rubber boots.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
on April 25, 2015 :
You know the expression “Been there, done that”? Well this lady has. My pet hate about lifestyle books, particularly those involving rural life, is where people with a journalistic background and friends in the right places to promote their books get an international publishing house to publish and push their writings on something they have an idea about, or only limited years of experience. This is not one of them. Anyone who publishes with Smashwords does not have a publishing company behind them.
Although aimed primarily at the USA resident, virtually everything suggested by the author (she does not ram things down your throat and say you must do it this way) is applicable globally. All good, sound, practical advice from an experienced person. Much of it is essential reading for those people in urban areas where they are reliant upon electricity to run their homes. One power out without the information in the book will cost you a lot more than its price.
I have practiced what might be called “Simple Hooked up Living” for decades and still learned from the book. There is a very generous free sample, but as with all books, this necessarily includes the background and introductory portion – nevertheless with very sound information and advice. There is a wealth more in the remainder of the book. Go on, buy it.
Old McDonald, Portugal.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on April 29, 2012 :
Everybody could gain a lot by reading this simple book. I can really identify with the author, as I too lived a decade off the grid & learned the art of simplicity long ago, on all levels. I've lost everything to a house fire then again from divorce and a 2.5 year stint in prison for a DUI. I know about everything she is saying here, but others need to hear her message- especiall today! Good jod Estar!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on April 25, 2012 :
Very practical and complete guide for living off the grid. The book is not about solar power and wind generators, it's about everyday problem solving and finding what works best. This book covers everything.The authors 14 years of experience will give you a solid knowledge base of practical and workable solutions to living a simpler more sustainable and rewarding life off the grid. Even old timers will learn a thing or two. I highly recommend this book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)