book 1, beginning
or drafting a town experiment
by Charlie Alice Raya
Alice Adler, a Berliner, sets out to convince the US billionaire Tom Holbon to build a town experiment.
The aim of the experiment is to rethink— well, everything.
It’s not easy to get Tom on board, but eventually he agrees to finance the first draft for the town experiment.
With experts for all main teams coming together, Alice focuses on one team a week.
And by the by, the town emerges — on paper.
It’s not that straight forward
Of course, the story isn’t that straight forward.
The characters bring their past and flaws and hopes into the story.
Alice has a difficult past, wouldn’t hesitate a moment to admit her flaws, and would frown if you asked her about her hopes. ‘Ask me again when we’ve build our town,’ she might say, and then add: ‘My first priority is not getting angry about the state of the world any more, and my hope is,’ here she would smile and continue: ‘My hope is that our town experiment is successful so that I won’t have to be angry any more.’
In other words, Alice mostly focuses on the ideas for the town. However, that focus makes her blind to some things. And one of those leads to a meltdown culminating in a flare-up.
Jack, on the other hand, struggles with the contradiction of being a famous actor who is supposed to have it all, and yet being unable to shake off the stigma of the spoiled celebrity. In fact, he feels like an outsider within the project team. Admittedly, that’s only one of his worries. But he puts up with this, because he is on a mission to unearth something of himself that he lost decades ago, and he thinks that working on this project might help. Besides, at least Alice wants him on the project, though it puzzles him a little that she is so oblivious to the fact that he is a celebrity.
Tom argues with himself that he has had a successful life, therefore he has every right to indulge in supporting a crazy idea. Not that he thinks it’s crazy, he is actually quite intrigued by it, but he knows that most of his contacts will think just that. At least, his wife Fran is on board.
Tom is aware of his ultimate role: giving the money. But he sees the point. Remove the worries about money, and the researchers are free to dig deep into finding root problems.
There are other characters of all ages and origins, best met in the story.
And there is opposition from influential players in business and politics, though most of that only becomes apparent at the first Easy Town Conference, at the end of book 1.
‘About half an hour later, Alice fired the final punch, her hands hurting, her face burning. But she was feeling a little better.
Jack passed her a towel and a bottle of water.
‘How badly did I mess up?’ she asked, after emptying half the bottle.
Jack looked thoughtful. ‘That depends on whom you ask. Judging by some faces, I’d say quite badly. In my books, you didn’t mess up, as such.’
book 1, beginning, week 1
Book 1 is the first book of the easy town books.
While the book series tells the story of a town, and of the characters involved in creating, building and running it, the story also includes thought experiments.
In these thought experiments, the town serves as the playground, a playground where any question can be asked, and where any idea can be tested.
At the first meeting between Alice and Tom
‘There was anger in Tom’s eyes when he said: ‘How is any of this going to end hunger, war, illness, injustice, fanaticism, terrorism, global warming?’
‘It’s half past nine. And that’s what you want to talk about now? All right. In short: With a single town, we can help to rethink whatever needs rethinking. We can test ideas and deliver tangible and reproducible results. War, hunger, global warming and all the rest are consequences of inadequate practices. By tackling root problems in our town experiment, we might find adequate practices which in turn might influence all of the above positively.
But who knows? Maybe we find out that there is no hope for the planet as long as humans live on it. And even that would be a result. All charities could close, governments could go home, and everyone could do whatever they want. No more worries. The world will end, no matter what we do.’
‘Do you think this is a good moment to be sarcastic?’
‘I’m not sarcastic. Not really. Because that might be the result. Besides, it’s paramount to keep in mind that this experiment will never provide ultimate answers. We need to be careful not to come up with some ultimate truth or salvation like so many movements and religions. No good has ever come from having all the answers. To make sure that we don’t start to take ourselves too seriously, we employ whatever it takes to keep a level head, an open mind. That’s why I need people like Jack Harris on board. People who bring a natural playfulness, ease and even recklessness into the project. People who make us laugh, not least about ourselves. People who keep us safe from thinking too highly of ourselves. People who keep us from becoming arrogant prigs.’
book 1, beginning
book 1, beginning
Alice Adler sets out to convince the US billionaire Tom Holbon to build a town experiment. The aim of the experiment is to rethink— well, everything.
Pages: 468 pages, 136k
Price: €8.78 (incl. VAT)
Week 1 — Settling in
Week 2 — Health & Care
Week 3 — Economics & Business
Week 4 — Ecology & Agriculture
Week 5 — Arts & Crafts
Week 6 — Admin & Society
Week 7 — Research & Education
Week 8 — Design
The First Easy Town Conference
Back at Tom’s