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The American lifestyle: making more of less

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In a recent New York Times opinion piece, writer Pico Iyer shared how he left a high-profile career in Manhattan to find greater fulfillment in Japan, living without modern luxuries in a simple apartment. He questioned his pursuit of outward accomplishments and possessions, observing, "I decided that…happiness arose out of all I didn't want or need, not all I did". Iyer wrote that while the toll of the recession is unfortunate, it may prompt people to reconsider what is truly essential in their lives. Might the economic downturn bring about a paradigm shift in society and the idea of the American dream? David Lazarus talks with Pico Iyer about the merits of living with less.

Pico Iyer, essayist and novelist. His most recent book is "The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama".