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One Family, Five Acres, and a Community’s Quest to Reinvent the World

Many fantasize about dramatically changing their lives — living in accordance with their ideals rather than the exigencies of job, bills, and possessions. William Powers actually does it. In his book Twelve by Twelve, Powers lived in an off-grid tiny house in rural North Carolina. In New Slow City, he and his wife, Melissa, inhabited a Manhattan micro-apartment in search of slow in the fastest city in the world. Here, the couple, with baby in tow, search for balance, community, and happiness in a small town in Bolivia. They build an adobe house, plant a prolific orchard and organic garden, and weave their life into a community of permaculturists, bio-builders, artists, and creative businesspeople. Can this Transition Town succeed in the face of encroaching North American capitalism, and can Powers and the other settlers find the balance they’re seeking? Dispatches from the Sweet Life is compelling, sobering, thought-provoking, and, no matter the outcome, inspiring.



“We need every reminder we can get of the possibilities of transformation — here’s a community you’ll want to know about, and hopefully to emulate!”
Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

“Bill Powers is a wonder, a brilliant and bighearted writer able to transform the most ordinary moments of daily life into exquisite epiphanies, rich with discovery. Dispatches from the Sweet Life charts the luminous frustrations and giddy pleasures awaiting all those who choose to opt out of the high-speed addiction to progress, allying themselves instead with a real community immersed in the life of the animate earth. Powers is a one-of-a-kind reporter bringing necessary news from that mysterious edge where our gorgeous ideals meet the parched and rock-strewn soil of reality.”
— David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous

“An enchanting personal story of a long journey in search of simplicity, home, and the Sweet Life.”
— David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Change the Story, Change the Future

“This vivid story of sustainable living and overseas encounters will delight anyone who has envisioned moving to another country to embrace a simpler, more environmentally conscious lifestyle.”
Midwest Book Review

“A compelling tale of leaving Manhattan to embed in a small, rural Bolivian town with all its wonders, differences, and commonalities. Dispatches from the Sweet Life is the vivid personal chronicle of a bold adventure in search of sustainable development — and pondering what really matters.”
— Thomas E. Lovejoy, professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University and former chief biodiversity advisor at the World Bank

“William Powers actually does what many of us in the Global North dream about and talk about but ultimately may not have the chutzpah to pull off: become an expat-on-a-budget in a place where life appears to be simpler, happier, and ultimately better. In this age in which the tyranny of time, scale, and efficiency robs us of moments to envision an alternative, Powers’s description of homesteading in Bolivia is self-effacing, funny, and strikes at the core of what is missing today: a chance to get off the combine before we get pulverized by the system. Do we need to travel far to learn what’s deep inside us all? The short answer is: probably yes.”
— Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA

“While Dispatches from the Sweet Life is full of useful information wrapped in compelling, colorful stories, it carries something unusual for those of us steeped in the American Dream of progress and prosperity: a feeling for a life woven into a specific place on earth. How many of us actually make a place our own by letting its creatures and vegetation and characters root in us as we settle in them? This book is part memoir, part Transition Town case study, part permaculture how-to, but in largest part an invitation to absorb through all the senses — physical and spiritual — how you might feel outside the angular edifices of your work and your daily life.”
— Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life and Blessing the Hands That Feed Us

“In essence, the Transition movement is a network of storytelling, as people around the globe share their tales of trying to build more resilient, diverse, and connected communities in wildly varying settings. The story told in Dispatches from the Sweet Life is a powerful, fascinating look at trying to do Transition in one particular place. Its pages drip with illumination, insight, and wisdom.”
— Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement

“William Powers’s writing is hopeful, warm, and kind. He makes us question the old American Dream, and at the same time, he offers up a new dream. Dispatches from the Sweet Life points us toward days made richer by spareness, days made meaningful through focus and care.”
— Michael Harris, author of The End of Absence

“The multigenerational project of cultural renaissance is the Great Work of our time. In Dispatches from the Sweet Life, Bill Powers gifts us with an engaging and intimate look at the personal challenges, risks, and joys of reinventing human community and of imaginatively loving our interdependent and sacred more-than-human world.”
— Bill Plotkin, author of Soulcraft

“The foundation of the ‘Sweet Life,’ this book makes clear, is a deep connection to community and the natural world. William Powers’s description of the search for that life in a small Bolivian town is often inspiring, sometimes tear-jerking, and always thought-provoking.”
— Helena Norberg-Hodge, founder and director of Local Futures

Author: William Powers
Product Code: 85646
ISBN: 978-1-60868-564-6
Pages: 304
Package: 1 Paperback / softback
Size: 5.50 X 8.50
Your Price : $16.95