Author, engineer, designer, and green builder, Mat Stein was born and raised in Burlington Vermont. His parents started him walking on skis at age three, hiking at age 5, backpacking at age seven, hunting at age 10, rock climbing and extreme skiing at age 11. The Green mountains of Vermont, White mountains of New Hampshire, and the Adirondack’s of upstate New York were his four-season childhood play grounds. After graduating from MIT in 1978, the lure of the “real mountains” of the west drew Mat across the country to California.
Always enjoying work with his hands, and being outside in the wilderness, Mat found it stifling to go to work as a design engineer in Silicon Valley, pushing pencils day after day. So, he took breaks from engineering off-and-on for several years to be a carpenter, climb the vertical walls of Yosemite, and teach skiing and High School math. In the mid eighties, after lots of stress and lost hair, he bailed from designing disc drives in Silicon Valley to a ten-acre homestead in the foothills of the Sierras. Mat has built hurricane and earthquake resistant, energy efficient, environmentally friendly homes. He has also designed, among other things, consumer water filtration devices, solar PV roofing panels, medical bacteriological filters, emergency chemical drench systems, computer disk drives, and portable fiberglass buildings.
A thirty year interest in alternative healing got its start while Mat was still a freshman at MIT, after he witnessed the miraculous remote healing of a crippled friend (big shake up to his scientific “Billiard Ball Theory of the Universe” way of thinking). Over the years, this interest expanded to the use of herbs, homeopathy, and other alternatives to heal medical conditions that weren’t responding to western style medicine.
Eventually he and his wife Josie wandered farther into the mountains to Truckee, where have their current home in the High Sierra Mountains of California (Truckee is where the Donner Party had their infamous barbecue about 150 years ago). About a decade back, they took a three year break from the deep Sierra snows to build energy efficient and environmentally friendly homes on Maui. The engineer, carpenter, and backwoodsman sides of Mat found peace, harmony, and synergy through renewable energy, green building, and self-reliance. Today, Mat owns and operates Stein Design and Construction, providing product design services, engineering analysis, and green building.
It was a true epiphany that started Mat firmly on the path of self-reliance, emergency prep, and sustainability. Around Thanksgiving of 1997, during his morning session of prayer and meditation, in answer to a simple request for “guidance and inspiration”, Mat received a fully developed “story board” type of pictorial outline that popped into his head instantaneously. It was the outline for a massive handbook to help people be more self-reliant, live more sustainably, and prepare to weather the coming storms as we pass through this age of uncertainty and change. After three years of work, this “cosmic download” crystallized into his first book, When Technology Fails.
Mat still enjoys playing around in the vertical world of rock walls, though since suffering (and recovering from) a serious injury in a 50 foot ground fall (gravity sucks!) he no longer “pushes the envelope” quite like he used to. Wintertime finds Mat volunteering as a guide and cross country ski instructor for the blind with the Sierra Regional Ski for Light program.
For more information, see www.whentechfails.com and www.matstein.com