Andy Couturier: A Different Kind of Luxury

If you have a nagging disquiet in you which senses there has to be an alternative to this life of stressed high pressure, wired yet numbing pursuit of status, income and possessions driven by the pressing need to make a living instead of a life, then this book: A Different Kind of Luxury written by Andy Couturier is for you.

Chris Morrison writes an excellent review that captures beautifully the essence of A Different Kind of Luxury. What he says resonates with my own experience, both because I happen to be re-reading the book right now, and because I have personally met 7 of 11 people profiled in the book while travelling around rural Japan with a small writing group led by Andy. I’m concurrently reading Monoculture: How One Story is Changing Everything by F S Michaels, her brilliant but disturbing analysis of how the economic narrative is the story which permeates every single aspect of our lives – without us even realising it.

This turns out to be perfect reading companion for A Different Kind of Luxury lending it even greater authority as a satisfying antidote to the monoculture of city life as we know it.

Thirty-Two Minutes

A Different Kind of Luxury coverAndy Couturier
A Different Kind of Luxury
(2010, Stone Bridge Press, 316 pages)

Many of us know at least one person who is resistant to the attractions and complications of modern, frantic, high tech, commercial life. Some people take action – small, achievable steps like growing some of one’s own food, joining a food co-op, riding a bicycle or walking to work, using less electricity, and so on. A few go even further in taking themselves “off the grid.” Subtitled “Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance,” Couturier’s lovely and valuable book – based on articles he wrote for The Japan Times – profiles eleven men and women who have given up contemporary Japanese urban life and found more sustainable alternatives living in the countryside. Most of these eleven people share characteristics, aside from the fact that most of them know (and, in a couple of cases, are married…

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