Twelve by Twelve

A One-room Cabin Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream

Powers, William

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Twelve by Twelve
A tale of one gifted writer's attempt to find balance in a world in crisis.~John Robbins.

Publisher: Novato, Calif. : New World Library, c2010.
ISBN: 1577318978
Characteristics: xv, 278 p. ;,22 cm.


From the critics

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Jan 22, 2015

The only "good" parts of this book are those that refer to the original occupant of the 12 by 12 and her philosophy about living off grid. She was like Thoreau, but the author was only "trying to adapt."

Still, an entertaining read.

Jan 15, 2013
  • gingerbeer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is an interesting, rambling essay on simple living, consumerism, environmental issues, social justice and when to know when you have enough. Not a how-to book but a thought-provoking look at the ideas and philosophies behind these important issues.

Oct 14, 2012
  • Koboworm rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This is NOT a book about small home building and living off the grid (the author takes many meals at local restaurants while recharging his laptop computer). The author is essentially house-sitting while on summer vacation. It is a loosely connected series of essays on social equity, the consumer society, humanity's overwhelming 'ecological footprint', and racism overlaid on the author's personal struggle with the "what am I going to do with my life" question. I would have been more satisfied if he had grappled with a transformation to a sustainable global society.

May 23, 2011
  • mcudney rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

The author takes us along on his journey to a sustainable life off the grid. For those who have ever thought of making that leap, he portrays the pros and cons, mental, emotional and physical. It's a fascinating journey well told.

Mar 30, 2011
  • Jennmro rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

While I like the idea of self reliant living, farming, and having more space, I felt like this book concentrated less on these ideas, and more on hardcore ways to reduce our carbon footprint, not pay taxes, and not support corporate industry while concentrating on "how nature makes us feel". There was a lot of sitting by the river trying to find peace with just "being" and while I'm sure it was a fantastic experience for the author, it didn't really make for fascinating reading. I appreciate the idea of consuming less and living with less, and that this can bring happiness, but towards the end it all started to feel preachy and "light-a-candle why don't you". I'm not going to rush right out and recommend this book to anyone but I'm glad to have read it. It makes me wonder if its possible to have your own little plot of land off the beaten path but still be ok with enjoying the luxuries of running water and heat. I like to think so.

Feb 22, 2011
  • Marie L Bergsma rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is truely about enlightenment. It is an eye opening account about how we are all connected and if we connect to nature we can have a profound change of heart. I recommend this book to anyone who cares about anything outside of themselves.

Nov 17, 2010
  • 22950009541673 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

The title doesn't even hint at the social aspect of the book.


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