27 November 2009

Book Review: Small is Possible:Life in a Local Economy

Cover of "Small is Possible: Life in a Lo...Cover via Amazon

I loved Lyle Estill's "Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy". It's a fun, inspiring collection of stories from Chatham County, the author's home town. It chronicles the successes and failures of the resident's attempts to build a sustainable, local economy and thriving community.

The large collection of characters at times seemed to rival War and Peace in complexity. I occasionally had to flick back to remind myself who was who, which interrupted the flow a little.

I'm involved in my own town's attempts to build community and rebuild our local economy. I find it both fascinating and disturbing that for many people here the idea of a thriving town means 'growth' and the idea of a local economy, supporting and supported by a local community is swept aside in the quest for bigness, progress and outside intervention (from big government or big business).

The book hinted at times that there was another side of the community in Chatham County that is perhaps less interested in the possibilities of small and I would loved to have heard more about the context into which the attempts at local sustainability fit.

All in all, a compelling read for anyone interested in sustainable, local living and building community!

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