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TINY HOMES in Today’s Wall Street Journal

Here’s a link to getting the whole article (for 7 days) without subscribing to the WSJ:


“It may be one of the most intriguing trends in homebuilding: do-it-yourself tiny homes.Š Lloyd Kahn’s ‘Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter,’ a quirky photo-rich book that preaches the benefits of a ‘grassroots movement to scale things back.’ It has already sold 5,200 copies in the U.S. and Canada since going on sale Jan. 15, making the title a genuin e hit in a distinctly niche market.

   ‘It’s about fantasy,’ said Jonas Kyle, one of the owners of Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers in Brooklyn, N.Y., which reordered it after a modest initial order sold out.…

   ‘What all these books reflect is that people are interested in living more simply,’ said Patricia Bostelman, vice president of marketing at Barnes & Noble Inc. “The economy declined, and people are finding ways to downsize.” Barnes & Noble is carrying “Tiny Homes” in several hundred stores in major markets.:

   ‘What I’m saying with this new book is don’t get a mortgage, don’t pay high rent, and don’t go into debt,’ said Mr. Kahn. “If you’re young enough or you’re just starting out and don’t want to work 12 hours a day, here’s an alternative.”

There are 6 photos from the book in WSJ online

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GIMME SHELTER Newsletter, January 2012

Sunset at Stinson Beach, California

GIMME SHELTER is an email newsletter I send out to about 600 people every few months. It used to be my main form of communication with people in the book trade and friends until I started blogging. We also post them on the Shelter website. Here’s the latest, from mid-January:

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TINY HOMES Appears in New MSNBC Video on — Ta-dah — Tiny Homes

This video showed up yesterday. At 1:10 min. into it, they show a photo of Tiny Homes, Don’t know how they got the book so fast, it’s just out. Glad to see they used phrase “tiny homes.…”

   We just may have some buzz starting here. Phone has been ringing off the hook, over 50 books sold today…

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Chicken Coop Living Roof and Happy Chickens

The reason we now have such a nice chicken coop is that it was built by Billy Cummings and not me. All I did was put on the exterior siding, The chickens absolutely love the place. They have a big yard outside (with surround aviary wire — going down into the ground at perimeter) and a cozy rat-proof room in which they roost. Concrete floor, covered with straw. The roof is filling in nicely.

   The weather has been blue-skies, clear, warm during day, which I find a bit creepy. The woods are dry. The aquifers need replenishing.

   “Really love the rain, against my window…” –Toots in Memphis. Fabulous album, 1988, with Muscle Shoals backup, I swear Toots in channeling Otis here.

   Saw first episode of new season’s “Shameless” last night. Wicked!

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Love letter to people who comment on this blog

When I got back from Germany (a week at the Frankfurt Book Fair), I reviewed all the comments (on various posts) that I’ve received recently, and they’re quite wonderful. I’m learning a lot. People are amplifying (and correcting) the info in the posts, as well as letting me know when I’m connecting. Inspiration to keep going.

I have about 1000-1500 visitors a day. Not exactly viral, but a nice-sized community. I love doing this, to tell the truth. Blogging is foremost in my mind when I come into the studio each morning, even tho it’s non-remunerative. I’m excited about what I see in the world, and want to tell others. It’s communication, pure and simple, which has fascinated me since my high school course in journalism. I’d love to work on a newspaper, but I can’t write that fast, and my stomach wouldn’t handle the deadline pressure. So I publish the (very) occasional book, and now try to get out a blog post each day. I don’t have time to respond to many comments, and could never take the time to do Facebook as it’s being done. But this, a daily shot or two, works for me. The web allows me to broadcast.

This blog community reminds me a bit of the booklovers in Fahrenheit 451, who were semi-outlaws on the outskirts of the regulated society and dedicated to books and the earth and freedom.

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Stewart Brand’s Summaries of the Seminars About Long-term Thinking

It takes me too long to get into San Francisco to see the seminars hosted by Stewart Brand, but I really enjoy Stewart’s succinct summaries. (Back in the Whole Earth days I was surprised that no one ever commented on the quality of Stewart’s pithy, concise, often witty reviews.) 

On the “Learning to Learn Fast” seminar by Timothy Ferriss last week:

“To acquire ‘the meta-skill of acquiring skills,’ Ferriss recommends approaching any subject with some contrarian analysis: ‘What if I try the opposite of best practices?’  Some conventional wisdom—‘children learn languages faster than adults’ (no they don’t)—can be discarded.  Some conventional techniques can be accelerated radically.  For instance, don’t study Italian in class for a year before your big Italy trip; just book your flight a week early and spend that week cramming the language where it’s spoken.  You can be fluent in any language with mastery of just 1,200 words.…”

Here are 100 of his pared-down summaries of the SALT seminars for three bucks on the Kindle:

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Whole Earth Catalog exhibit at Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Everyone, including Stewart Brand, likes this exhibit. In an article on the NY Times yesterday, Ken Johnson wrote a perceptive article on the WEC. As Kevin Kelly says, “They get it.” True that.

“Brainchild of the visionary techno-hippie artist Stewart Brand, this compendium of resources for the New Age is the subject of ‘Access to Tools: Publications From the Whole Earth Catalog, 1968-1974,’ a modest but stirring time capsule of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

The Whole Earth Catalog did for counterculture youth in the ’60s what the Sears Catalog did for children of the Great Depression and what Google does for people of the Internet age: provide a way for ordinary people to connect with and make use of the global economy. Against the dominion of capitalist profiteers and the top-down cult of technocratic expertise, it aimed to put practical, intellectual and spiritual means of self-determination into the hands of the people. A telephone-book size tome printed on cheap paper in black and white and in all kinds of typographies, and peppered with sharp, often funny commentary on its products by its editors — as well as essays, short stories by writers like Wendell Berry and letters from readers — the catalog was nothing if not user friendly.”

Runs through July 26th. Since I’m heading for NYC Saturday, I’ll be able to check it out.

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