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Burned-out after years of doing development work around the world, William Powers spent a season in a 12-foot-by-12-foot cabin off the grid in North Carolina, as recounted in his award-winning memoir Twelve by Twelve. Could he live a similarly minimalist life in the heart of New York City? To find out, Powers and his wife jettisoned 80 percent of their stuff, left their 2,000-square-foot Queens townhouse, and moved into a 350-square-foot micro-apartment” in Greenwich Village. Downshifting to a two-day workweek, Powers explores the viability of Slow Food and Slow Money, technology fasts and urban sanctuaries. Discovering a colorful cast of New Yorkers attempting to resist the culture of Total Work, Powers offers an inspiring exploration for anyone trying to make urban life more people- and planet-friendly.
Born and raised on Long Island, William Powers has worked for over a decade in development aid and conservation in Latin America, Africa, Washington, D.C., and Native North America. From 2002 to 2004 he managed the community components of a project in the Bolivian Amazon that won a 2003 prize for environmental innovation from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. His writings on global issues have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Slate, and the Sun. Mr. Powers has worked at the World Bank, and holds international relations degrees from Brown University and Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. He is the author of the Liberia memoir Blue Clay People, the Bolivian memoir Whispering in the Giant's Ear and the memoir of living off-the-grid” in a twelve-foot-square cabin Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream. He is currently based part-time in New York City, and is freelance writer, speaker, and senior fellow at the World Policy Institute.