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How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life Paperback – September 1, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
The author saved about 40K or more in 4 years of living without a car. To say he did not EVER USE a car, however, would not be totally true. He bumped up against reality sometime and had to rent a car on occasion...but mostly he made do by bicycling, walking or using public transportation or taxis.
"Wait", you might say, "Take a taxi? Aren't they expensive?" Not as part of an overall plan that allows one to stop paying for auto insurance, car maintenance, buying a car, etc.
The author makes a convincing argument and I have cut down on my use of our auto as a result, walking as much as possible. I'd do away with it forever if we had reliable public transportation and if our kids weren't involved in activities that were out of the public transportation loop, sometimes out of the city.
But I still have hope of living "car free" and I am aiming for a life where using our car isn't necessary, in a town with good public transportation and mild winters...someday. In the meantime, this book has given me a road map (pun intended) for a simpler, less auto-dependent lifestyle.
And as Balish points out, time in a car is wasted time compare to time bicycling, walking or using public transit. The first two modes give you an opportunity to exercise, and the last gives you an opportunity for productive reading (unless, of course, you live in a place where transit is TOO good, in which case you will not have a seat to yourself and thus will have less opportunity to read).
Also, Balish does not limit himself to walking and public transit, but instead discusses less obvious (to me) alternatives such as carsharing, bicycling, carpooling and motorcycles. He even cites websites devoted to these modes, to assist those of us who don't know much about these options.
Having said that, this book is not for everyone. Balish himself points out that "Families with children might find it difficult" to live car-free as well as "People who live in rural areas." Even these groups can get something out of the book: for example, Balish discusses how a two-car family might be able to function as a one-car family.
And I do wish Balish had addressed a few more objections in more detail, such as:
*In some cities, it may be hard to avoid driving without either (1) living in (or at least passing through) high-crime areas or (2) spending a premium on housing in order to live in a coveted intown neighborhood.Read more ›
Besides, the book is just an enjoyable read. It's filled with testimonials from people all over the place who have reduced their car dependence and the subsequent rewards they've realized by doing so. Comedic and pointed illustrations and quotes kept me turning pages of a book that takes a serious yet lighthearted look at car ownership and alternatives to it. If you're thinking of buying a car, first read this book, then decide.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Published originally in 2006, this book could use a quick revamp by the publisher to update some of the content. That said, anyone in the U.S. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tom Leveen
I am now living car free. I live in a very walkable city with good public transportation. I feel so free! And, more relaxed.Published 10 months ago by Gail A. Devine
Thank you Mr. Balish for writing "How To Live Well Without Owning a Car" and inspiring me to the challenge. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Chad Neace
This book is very long overdue. Chris Balish does an excellent job of explaining the true cost of car ownership and promoting cheaper and cleaner alternatives. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Sharon K. Lewis
This book changed everything for me. I sold my car within a week of finishing it and haven't felt this good in 15 years! Now I know why I was so stressed out. Read morePublished 16 months ago by J WYNN ANDERSON
Interesting book about how and why you can live without a car.Published 18 months ago by Michael Curtiss