Elsewhere: Thoreau’s worst nightmare


What do books like “The Year of Living Biblically,” gimmick documentary films like “Supersize Me” and bloggers like No Impact Man all have in common?

Beyond the obvious self-control and discipline it takes to make a name for oneself sacrificing something for the sake of a compelling story, the people behind books, films and blogs of this nature all have an ulterior motive Michael Agger traces back 150 years in a fascinating Mother Jones article about Henry Thoreau’s own gimmicky path through the woods to becoming a published author.

After 150 years, Walden endures as a monument to frugality, solitude, and sophomore-year backpacking trips. Yet it’s Thoreau’s ulterior motive that has the most influence today. He was one of the first to use lifestyle experimentation as a means to becoming a published author. Going to live by the pond was a philosophical decision, but it was also something of a gimmick. And if you want to land a book deal, you gotta have a gimmick.

Click HERE to read the rest.


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