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Simplicity and Success: Creating the Life You Long For [Paperback]

Bruce Elkin
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 11 2003


I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Crafting a simple life would be easy if getting rid of stress and clutter was all that simplicity seekers sought, but it isn't; we alos seek success. We long to create results that matter in our lives, work, and relationships. However, by defining simplicity as a solution to life's stress and complexity, many approaches point us toward relief rather than results. Because relief is usually temporary, we often oscillate between simplicity and success without realizing either. At best, the simplicity we achieve is the simplicity on this side of complexity.

Simplicity and Success: Creating the Life You Long For will help you go beyond merely getting rid of what you don't want. It will help you discover what you love and create a life that shows it. It will help you integrate conflicting desires by shifting your focus from solving problems to creating what matters. It will empower you to embrace life's complexity, appreciate its richness, and move through its often chaotic "messiness" to the deep, lasting and fulfilling simplicity on the other side of complexity.

Driven by vision, grounded in reality, and focused on results that matter, this simple yet powerful approach will help you simplify your life, achieve the success you long for, and feel energized, authentic and whole.

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About the Author

Bruce Elkin has lived simply and successfully for twenty five years. He is a Personal, Professional, and Executive Coach and President of Summit Strategies, a Strategic Design and Planning Firm. He has taught his approach Simplicity and Success: Creating the Life You Long For to clients as diverse as single moms on welfare to Fortune 500 executives. He taught at Simon Fraser University, the University of Calgary, and the Banff Centre. For five years, he was Senior Trainer for The Institute for Earth Education. He was a founding Associate of the Action Studies Institute. For nine years, he studied and worked with Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance and founder of the field of Structural Consulting . Bruce writes and publishes Simplicity and Success, a popular electronic newsletter. His firm but caring coaching and enthusiastic teaching and talks have helped thousands discover what they love and live a life that shows it.

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The telephone on my home office desk rang early one Monday morning. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Simplicity and Success Oct. 21 2003
Format:Paperback
Simplicity and Success: Creating the Life You Long For. By Bruce Elkin (Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, 2003)
Bruce Elkin's new book does a great service for the simple living movement. Elkin draws on his extensive expertise as a personal coach and organization development trainer to engage the power of creative process to the work of fashioning a simple and fulfilling life. Intimate, practical, and positively focused, Elkin's book moves well beyond "hairshirt simplicity" and even simplicity as a "leisure expansion movement" to challenge readers to identify what really matters in their lives (their positive visions) and then set out methodically to realize them. In emphasizing creativity over critique, the book echoes Gandhi's sage advice that "we become the change we wish to see in the world." Elkin intuitively grasps the principle that only positive action has staying power; only authentic visions leading to fully creative acts can move us beyond consumer culture and help forge a constructive alternative to it.
Reviewed by: Mark A. Burch author of Simplicity: Notes Stories and Exercises for Developing Unimaginable Wealth and Stepping Lightly: Simplicity For People and the Planet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good gems if you are willing to dig! Sept. 9 2003
Format:Paperback
Bruce Elkin seems like a terrific person and coach. The strongest reason to buy the book is that you're getting ideas that are drawn from Elkin's own life and coaching practice, not from a canned program.
The most useful idea comes right at the beginning: Think of creating instead of problem-solving. Problem-solving brings temporary relief. Creating changes your life. Elkin challenges the "clear clutter" advice we get so often and encourages us to look at what we really want in our lives.
He offers examples drawn from his coaching practice, such as the woman who created a house for herself on a shoestring budget. Some of the best sections included real-life examples, such as the "slightly rednecked" man who found a way to get what he wants without spending big bucks.
Elkin writes about his own search out of a career that, he says, was surviveable only with antidepressants and beer. Interestingly, he found his new path in the usual way: by serendipity and by being open to what was out there. Looking back thirty years, his path seems straightforward, but I suspect there were a lot of twists and turns along the way. And I'd like to hear more about the identity shift that would have gone along with the career change.
The sections on creativity and creative tension are especially well done. That part could be strengthened and expanded into an entire book. The analogies between creating a work of art and creating a life, and the difficulties of going from one to the another, are superb.
I recommend reading this book a little at a time. I would have liked to see more exercises and suggestions for actually doing what Elkin suggests.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An elegant vision May 18 2005
Format:Paperback
Simplicity and Success is a great guide to creating a simple and successful life. Many of us in a fast-paced world crave simplicity - but don't know how to achieve it. Others chase after the world's definition of success and find it equally as elusive. Bruce Elkin offers an elegant vision of a rich life based on sustainable values. A must-read for those of us who care about creating meaningful and moral lives.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good gems if you are willing to dig! Sept. 9 2003
By Dr. Cathy Goodwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Bruce Elkin seems like a terrific person and coach. The strongest reason to buy the book is that you're getting ideas that are drawn from Elkin's own life and coaching practice, not from a canned program.
The most useful idea comes right at the beginning: Think of creating instead of problem-solving. Problem-solving brings temporary relief. Creating changes your life. Elkin challenges the "clear clutter" advice we get so often and encourages us to look at what we really want in our lives.
He offers examples drawn from his coaching practice, such as the woman who created a house for herself on a shoestring budget. Some of the best sections included real-life examples, such as the "slightly rednecked" man who found a way to get what he wants without spending big bucks.
Elkin writes about his own search out of a career that, he says, was surviveable only with antidepressants and beer. Interestingly, he found his new path in the usual way: by serendipity and by being open to what was out there. Looking back thirty years, his path seems straightforward, but I suspect there were a lot of twists and turns along the way. And I'd like to hear more about the identity shift that would have gone along with the career change.
The sections on creativity and creative tension are especially well done. That part could be strengthened and expanded into an entire book. The analogies between creating a work of art and creating a life, and the difficulties of going from one to the another, are superb.
I recommend reading this book a little at a time. I would have liked to see more exercises and suggestions for actually doing what Elkin suggests.
This book would have been strengthened by focusing on a single theme, such as "Simplicity and success: managing the duality." Or "From problem-solving to creation." And while I applaud Elkin's ability to resist hype, we need more startling "Wow!" moments, especially in the chapter headings. Some headings are quite banal and I was tempted to skip with a "been there, done that." However, often the material under the headings was quite new.
I would also like to see more stories of real or composite clients to illustrate Elkin's points. Following one couple through a transition can be very effective -- but not everyone will relate to that couple.
The weakest section of the book comes in the implementation chapter. We are encouraged to work backwards: Think of a goal. And what would you need ... and what would you need for that... That's not really new and it's a lot harder than it looks. And sections on avoiding negativity offer little that's new, although they're presented with uniqueness and insight.
I hope Bruce Elkin continues to write and develop his ideas. This book has a lot that's valuable, and I'll be recommending it to many clients. And I hope we see the next one!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new map of the territory April 22 2005
By Cassandra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What immediately caught my attention about this book was that it supported values that are important to me. I feel like those of us who believe the modern life is lacking and would like to live in a manner which supports something other than the great accumulation of money and things are told, "It can't be done! Get with it, and join the real world."

What is most exciting about this book, is that it tells you how to create the life you want based upon things which are most important to you. Wow, what a concept. You don't have to try to fit in, or hang around on the fringes to avoid being gobbled up, compromise, lead a double life, or any of the strategies which I or others I know have tried.

The basis for leading this "dream life" is to exterminate either/or thinking, or problem solving, as it is named in the book. This book guides you through the process of inclusive thinking, goal setting, and honoring your values in a super-concrete manner. I never found myself thinking, yeah, that's a good idea, but it won't work. Many books are founded on lofty ideals with no practical on the ground action steps. Not so with this book. It leaves the ideals to you and leads you through the action steps. Revolutionary.

The author has a lot of experience with this process and it shows. The stories and examples are inspirational. Read it. Do it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Simplicity and Success Oct. 21 2003
By Mark Burch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Simplicity and Success: Creating the Life You Long For. By Bruce Elkin (Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, 2003)
Bruce Elkin's new book does a great service for the simple living movement. Elkin draws on his extensive expertise as a personal coach and organization development trainer to engage the power of creative process to the work of fashioning a simple and fulfilling life. Intimate, practical, and positively focused, Elkin's book moves well beyond "hairshirt simplicity" and even simplicity as a "leisure expansion movement" to challenge readers to identify what really matters in their lives (their positive visions) and then set out methodically to realize them. In emphasizing creativity over critique, the book echoes Gandhi's sage advice that "we become the change we wish to see in the world." Elkin intuitively grasps the principle that only positive action has staying power; only authentic visions leading to fully creative acts can move us beyond consumer culture and help forge a constructive alternative to it.
Reviewed by: Mark A. Burch author of Simplicity: Notes Stories and Exercises for Developing Unimaginable Wealth and Stepping Lightly: Simplicity For People and the Planet.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quantum leap March 30 2005
By Monika Birkner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have been on a journey for discovering the laws of success as long as I can remember. Many good books have helped me. Simplicity and Success is a special one because it is not focused on problem solving but on creating the life you long for. This requires a totally different approach to life and a totally different set of skills. This books delivers in detail all you need. This book, together with being coached by the author, has helped me to take a quantum leap in my life. I am working as a coach myself and since I am using this approach in my coaching programs my clients also make progress far beyond of what I had experienced previously. Bruce Elkin's book is meanwhile an integral part of my coaching programs. Each client gets a copy of the book so that they can see the greater picture of the process and can re-read certain chapters whenever they want. To make a long story short: Bruce Elkin is a great coach and he has written a great book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life changing book! March 23 2005
By Mr. J. Darnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a voracious and eager reader. I read this book once, I re-read it and re-read it again. I can honestly say the content of this book set me on a life changing path. I resonated with so many things Bruce wrote about. One of the most important gifts I gave myself after reading this book was to book a complimentary coaching call with the author himself. He was friendly, enthusiastic and helpful with any points in the book which I needed further clarification on. I then booked him as my coach for some months. He helped me through an extremely difficult period in my life and I refer to his book as my down to earth bible because it is! Anyone looking for help with the constant ups and downs of life and wondering why they happen will find this book invaluable as well as plenty of tools to help you create a life full of passion and a life you love. Read it and keep this book close it is a little gem.
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