Elsewhere: Thoreau’s worst nightmare

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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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