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Thread: Reading the Simplicity Classics

  1. #1
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    Reading the Simplicity Classics

    Hi, I'm 5 years retired, and although Ive been playing around with the idea of voluntary simplicity for decades, I would always put it on the back burner of my mind. Then recently, I got hold of Choosing Simplicity by Linda Breen Pierce, and I've gone a a book reading binge of old classic books on simple living.

    Soulful Simplicity
    by Courtney Carver
    The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs
    Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin

    and I'm mixing in books about present moment living and learning to live with enough:

    Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week) by Robin Mather
    How to Want What You Have: Discovering the Magic and Grandeur of Ordinary Existence by Timothy Miller
    Chop Wood, Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life by various authors

    I just hope that I am not spending so much time reading that I forget to try and simplify my life a bit!

    Take care.

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Hello, Marc! Welcome. I like your book list. I actually have a signed copy of Voluntary Simplicity from when I met Duane Elgin at a seminar in NYC! I definitely have tried to get closer to the voluntary simplicity life I admire, but I don't think I'll ever really get there. I'm just doing the best I can. Have you ever read Richard Gregg's The Value of Voluntary Simplicity? That has been another inspirational work for me.https://www.duaneelgin.com/wp-conten...simplicity.pdf

    The basis of this form was the book Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. That is another really good simple living book.

    Thanks for stopping by!
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Hi Mark, I like your list! I want to reiterate the value of two books, the one that Catherine brings up, which is how this forum was started, around Your Money or Your Life, and the Luhrs book on your list. Those two books changed my life, for sure, as did Richard Swenson's Margin and Elaine St. James Simplify Your Life and the old Tightwad Gazette newsletter.

    I guess the Nearings are in there, too, along with Thomas Merton, but the ones that I mentioned were more immediately impactful for me to change my life.

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    Welcome Mark. I agree that those are all great books! And the additional suggested ones are also good. I never received the Tightwad Gazette Newsletter, itself, but have the Complete Tightwad Gazette (combination of all three books) and always seem to find some new practical thing to do - even after all these years.

    Good luck on your journey! If it is anything like mine, it is lasting a lifetime. LOL
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
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    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    "Plain and Simple" by Sue Bender. Not at all a self-help book. It's the non-fiction story of a woman who goes to live with the Amish, more out of a personal and literary project than religious. It's a nice story and inspiring without being preachy.
    "what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    So, now that the busy weekend is over, here is my partial catalog of simple living books that I love:
    • Your Money or Your life / Robin/Dominguez
    • The Good Life / Helen and Scott Nearing
    • A Handmade Life / William Coperthwaite
    • Walden / Henry David Thoreau
    • The Freedom of Simplicity / Richard Foster
    • The Miracle of Mindfulness / Thich Nhat Hanh
    • The Wabi-Sabi Home / Robyn Griggs Lawrence
    • The "Little House" books / Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • The Moneyless Manifesto / Mark Boyle
    • Less is More / Selected and Edited by Goldian VanDerBroeck
    • Ishmael / Daniel Quinn
    • Braiding Sweetgrass / Robin Wall Kimmerer
    • Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words
    • Small is Beautiful / E.F. Schumacher
    • To Have or To Be / Erich Fromm
    • Twelve by Twelve / William Powers
    • Awareness / Anthony de Mello
    • Gaia's Garden / Toby Hemenway
    • Simplicity / Richard Rohr


    This is by no means all-inclusive of the books I own or have read that have encouraged my aspirational simple life but they are the ones I have read, digested, and re-read.
    It is also a "loose" interpretation of simple living, given the different aspects of the simple life that they represent.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Hmmm... Not sure how many people would consider Ishmael / Daniel Quinn a simple living book, although I certainly do as well, catherine. LOL
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happystuff View Post
    Hmmm... Not sure how many people would consider Ishmael / Daniel Quinn a simple living book, although I certainly do as well, catherine. LOL
    Yeah, that's why I threw in the caveat that some of these are in the "broad" context of simple living.. the reason I feel it's a simple living book for me is that if you can get closer and closer to being a "Leaver" instead of a "Taker," you automatically are simplifying because obviously your consumption has to go WAY down... It's really a deep ecology book, and I definitely feel that deep ecology and simple living are connected.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Yeah, that's why I threw in the caveat that some of these are in the "broad" context of simple living.. the reason I feel it's a simple living book for me is that if you can get closer and closer to being a "Leaver" instead of a "Taker," you automatically are simplifying because obviously your consumption has to go WAY down... It's really a deep ecology book, and I definitely feel that deep ecology and simple living are connected.
    I totally agree! Now you have made me want to read it again. Thanks!

    Edited to add: And while the sequels were okay, my favorite is definitely Ishmael.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

  10. #10
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    To the above books I'll add:
    Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
    The Simple Life: Plain Living and High Thinking in American Culture by David Shi
    Gene Logsdon's books (e.g., The Contrary Farmer)

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