book 1, beginning
or drafting a town experiment
Alice Adler, a Berliner, sets out to convince Tom Holbon, the richest man on the planet, 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 every week.
And by the by, ideas and questions for the town experiment come together.
‘Are we really going to break with well-established practices?’
‘That’s the point of this project.’
book 1, beginning, week 2
Book 1 is the first book of the easy town book series, and it’s an introduction into the Easy Town idea.
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 a thought experiment.
In this thought experiment, the town serves as the playground, a playground where any question can be asked, and where any idea can be tested.
‘I hope he’s curious enough to take a walk with me through the ideas. And I hope he’s sensible enough to mull over the ideas before taking any decisions.’
book 1, beginning
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
Back in New York
The First Easy Town Conference
Back at Tom’s
At its core the Easy Town experiment is about being curious, about trying out visions, about exploring and playing around with ideas, testing the limits of the possible, daring to try out the unconventional, questioning the inevitable, allowing for complexity.
book 1, beginning
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 in snippets
a letter, give the world a shake, a glamorous party in New York, Jack fuming, playfulness questioned, Tom’s estate, why build a town experiment?, neurological patients, relatives of patients, a mind running wild, the assistant, she keeps not doing things no one else doesn’t do, cells in the ocean, a first meeting, beauty, buy, buy, buy, making things run, business rules, drooling, a blur, a Wednesday morning, working out, the less you know, challenging tech giants, gardens, religion, an outburst, much needed beer
the seven teams, a nightmare, healthcare, sitting on the jetty and ducks, Hub Stations, Jack has a problem, business ideas, gendered fashion, numbers, rumours, durability, flying solo, Disney Dream Party, job security, job shaking, free trade, a bank, a football match, the first street layouts, a multi team meeting, a clash, movie critics, an Arts prank, Tom is worried, more secrets, good news, demography, Alice lashes out, Jack has a sleepless night, a story for rainy days, teaching methods, mixing generations, a tense talk on the jetty, a secretive company
conference rehearsal, Jack in doubts, Andy, Daria and Noel have a surprise for Alice, another talk on the jetty, Jack joins a secret meeting unwittingly, doubts about social media, numbers, Tom excited, Jack is surprised, Alice talks to a shadow on the screen, speech training, a summer scene, who rescues who?, please do, back in New York, doubts, the conference, a clash, a speech dismissed, two hours in a room, meeting a nervous global player, parties, smart toilets, meeting more big players, Tom wants to travel, back at Tom’s, stars and a flying lion.
The overall story of the series is simple: a town experiment is planned in several stages, the town is built, the town gets into trouble, and some of the main characters mess things up.
I heard similar statements from other people. At first, most were suspicious and doubtful about the project, but curious enough to take a peek. And then with each new discussion, you kind of think: well, it’s still a crazy idea, but I’d like to see this town for real, and be one of those who builds it.’
‘Then you’ll stay?’
‘I’m warming to the idea.’
book 1, beginning, week 1