How to Live Off-Grid
Author: Nick Rosen
Pub: Bantam Books
As mentioned in our feature ‘Going off-grid’, Nick Rosen’s How to Live Off-Grid is the definitive bible for those wanting to, as the cover’s strapline notes, ‘unplug from the rat race’.
Far from a dream-pedalling book of aspiration, Rosen’s in-depth exploration of the off-grid lifestyle draws on his own extensive experience of pushing a run-down shack in Majorca into self-sufficiency, as well as interviews and analysis of case studies around the UK. From examples of individuals pulling out of the grid entirely, to pioneers making it as mainstream as possible, to horse breeding businesses operating from a single generator, the book shows that there’s no typical way to go off-grid.
Part autobiography, part ‘how to’ guide, the book examines the bureaucratic aspects of going off-grid (the price of land, council tax, etc), as well as the more practical requirements of technology and self-sufficiency. A number of more general philosophies and ideals are discussed as well, weaved into Rosen’s friendly dialogue to give the text a greater depth. Indeed, Rosen – starkly honest throughout – explores the off-grid double-standard paradigm: In going off-grid, are we merely exchanging one grid for another? As Rosen ponders, ‘Now that mobile technologies and renewable energy are quickly becoming more sophisticated and widespread, it is harder to define where the grid begins and ends’. In place of pipes and wires, are we merely moving our dependence to roads and mobile telecommunications?
Throughout the – at times dense – text sits one key message: a simpler life equals a happier life. In his conclusion, Rosen notes, ‘Live a high-income, high-stress life, and feel isolated, trapped by your commitments… Living off-grid remains a financial choice for some, a moral choice for others… To me it just feels right.’