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When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance and Planetary Survival Paperback – May 16, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 199 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Stein's excellent guide to simplifying your life, reducing your environmental impact, and pulling yourself out of a jam is sure to gather no dust on your bookshelf... This book is a personal and planetary empowerment tool." -Richard Heede, Ph.D., author, Homemade Money: How to Save Energy and Dollars in Your Home

"A marvelous guidebook for helping us through the worst of times, and even improving on the best of times" -Thorn Hartmann, author, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

"When Technology Fails is a massive project done well. First the book gives a superb presentation of WHY one should be more aware and prepared--and then HOW one should go about this. The scope of this book... is thorough. Not only is the information presented well, but a solid bibliography can carry the student as far as he desires in any particular area of interest."--John McPherson, author, Primitive Wilderness Living and Survival Skills

"We may all need a survival reference when technology fails. Matthew provides one -- fact-filled, with useful tips on all aspects of survival, clothing, food, shelter, water, etc., including such vital subjects as grazing and the green pharmacy."--James A. Duke, economic botanist, USDA (ret.) and author of The Green Pharmacy

"The depth of this book, covering everything from building materials to spiritual healing, is astounding. It is a one-stop source... to create a self-sufficient, earth-friendly lifestyle. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in preserving the health of themselves and the planet--and moving toward a sustainable, sane way of living."-Robyn Griggs Lawrence, editor-in-chief, Natural Home magazine

"Whether you are seeking self-reliance and a simpler life or fear the collapse of social services, this compendium of practical information for sustainable living belongs on your bookshelf..."-Fred C. Walters, editor, Acres U.S.A. magazine

From the Publisher

Dear Editor:

We are pleased to submit WHEN TECHNOLOGY FAILS: A Manual for Self Reliance & Planetary Survival, by Matthew Stein, for your review.

No home is complete without this essential resource. M.I.T. graduate Matthew Stein spent 15 years compiling the information for When Technology Fails. This easy-to-use manual is designed for self-reliant living in today's changing world.

As we begin the 21st Century, the rapidly expanding world population is quickly depleting the available natural resources and fossil fuel supply while increasing the demand for basic human needs-food, shelter, clothing and energy. This combined with the current worldwide infrastructure dependent on instant global communication and next-day distribution grids means that any disruption of the norm due to technology breakdowns, weather patterns, solar spots, techno-terrorism or natural upheavals can create massive disruptions to daily life.

When Technology Fails is the first book to offer basic instructions and recommended resources for the wide range of skills and technologies necessary for self-reliant living, achieving mastery of all kinds of emergency conditions, and treading lighter on Mother Earth. When Technology Fails is a user-friendly manual for the 2lst Century in the tradition of the Whole Earth Catalog.

We hope you enjoy reading this important book and can recommend it to your readers.

Thank you

Harmon Houghton
Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (May 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392835
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392837
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,910,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a great book about preparing for short-term societal or environmental crises - how to conserve water when the water's not running (after a hurricane, say), how to stay warm and safe when the ice-storm of the century wipes out your natural gas and electricity, or an earthquake shakes your house down around your ears in the middle of the night.
The true beauty of this book is the wealth of information for longer-term "doing without," or slow erosion of a situation of plenty we now take for granted. Here is information on dealing with medical problems when no doctor is forthcoming, growing food organically and with your own saved seed, how you might store food over the winter with no refrigerator.
If we lost the luxury of the machines that run our world, would we find ourselves back in the stone age, having lost the knowledge handed down for generations beyond count of how to shelter, clothe, feed and doctor ourselves? These skills are all touched on in this book, with voluminous resource lists so that the reader can learn more about any of these subjects.
Technology, too, is given its due - renewable energy sources like solar and wind are discussed and the best water filters on the market.
Change is coming. That's apparent. If you're worried, wary - this is a good book, a jumping-off place to learn skills you may some day be very thankful for, or at least gather a library of relevant information against the day when it is needed. Survivalist paranoia not required.
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Format: Paperback
Matthew Stein has written a clear, concise book on the subject of survival that, while educating, also does what few others have managed to do - entertain and engage the reader.
Throughout the book you'll find personal stories accompanying the text to further illustrate or drive home a point. The use of these asides brings you into Matthew Stein's life, as he recounts personal stories of survival and tells the stories of others who have managed to overcome the odds to survive.
Not just a survival book, Matthew also covers topics like alternative therapies; how to create a survival mindset; survival strategies; renewable energy; companion gardening; prophecies etc. as well as all the regular topics found in such books - edible plants; first aid; making a survival kit; growing, hunting and foraging; making tools; creating shelters; spinning/weaving/tanning etc.
The book has some great illustrations that make plant identification and first aid that much easier to understand and each chapter finishes with a reference section listing books (along with a short review) and resources (with web addresses where available).
This book is supposed to have been 15 years in the making - and the time and effort taken by the author to research his topic really shows. When Technology Fails belongs in your survival library - as the publisher says, "it's a user-friendly manual for the 21st Century".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of this book is very good. It is a good survey of many issues related to self-sufficiency. It has great references that make it easier to find the materials needed for a more in-depth understanding of most of the topics.
However, I had the feeling while reading the book was that it was written by Abby (Dharma's mother from Dharma & Greg). Great, pragmatic information is tainted with pseudo-science nonsense and newage garbage. Most of which is harmless, but some of it may be downright dangerous.
For example, there is a half page editorial on the moral issues of hunting followed some pages later by a long discussion of tanning. There is a story of how blessing water turned undrinkable swill into sweet healing water. There's enough folk and eastern medical advice to make your head swim.
If you believe everything you read, this probably isn't the book for you. However, if you can discern the likely from the silly, you might find this book useful.
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"when technology fails" is misleading to the content of the book. It had a few good ideas but is was more about the author's philosophy. To give you a better idea of what I am speaking of before you decide to buy this book;
this is chapter 16 Making the shift to sustainability.
Plan B
1. change the tax structure - cap & trade
2. rebuild our cities
3. rebuild our railways, waterways, and mass transit systems
4. rebuild our homes, office buildings, and factories
5. rebuild our industries
6. fund and support renewable energy development
7. eliminate population growth (I had to write the whole caption under this one)
Reduce global population to the point where the population of our planet levels off, followed by a decline in world population. On a planet where the estimated long-term carrying capacity is on the order of 1 to 2 billion people, if we can't control our own population growth, nature will do it for us. Most people would agree that it is much more humane to provide family-planning eduction and birth control materials for all people on earth than for the population to find its natural level through starvation, plagues, and wars. "when technology fails" page 461.
8. share the wealth
9. reach out to developing countries
10. replace coal-burning power plants
11. global relocalization
12. make decisions based on sustainability
DO YOU NOW UNDERSTAND WHY IT WASN'T EXACTLY WHAT I EXPECTED FROM THE TITLE.
WHY DID I TYPE THIS? IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A SURVIVAL OR BACK TO NATURE BOOK FOR CAMPING, THIS IS NOT IT. EVEN THOUGH THE TITLE MAY PUT IT IN THE SAME LEAGUE AS "THE SAS HANDBOOK" OR "HOW TO SURVIVE THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT" YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED IN THIS BOOK.
IF YOU BELIEVE IN GLOBAL WARMING AND GOING GREEN ALL THE WAY, BY ALL MEANS BUY THIS BOOK. IT IS VERY WELL WRITTEN.
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