- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (July 8 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786882425
- ISBN-13: 978-0786882427
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 15.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 304 g
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #512,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More Paperback – Jul 1 1998
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"A pinch of Heloise and a dash of Buddha."―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Elaine St. James, former real estate businesswoman, is the author of the national bestsellers Simplify Your Life and Inner Simplicity. She lives a quiet, simple life in Santa Barbara, California.
Top customer reviews
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Most of what the author recommends, our family already does. Some of it IS common sense, but most of it is "counter cultural" and many of us wouldn't think of doing these things on our own. I think she has some really good ideas. She is also a good example of someone who has lived an extremely successful, hectic life and moved toward a more simple existence - without depriving herself of anything she truly values.
I agree with another reviewer that she's a little "misanthropic" - she does seem to consider people "clutter" and to be quick to recommend ditching the humans in your life. While this can sometimes be good advice with certain individuals, I truly value my family, friends, and "houseguests" [which she implies are always "unwanted"]. I would not care for a life without these dear ones - simple or no. Sometimes people are messy, and sometimes we do need to move on from damaging relationships; but in general human companionship is worth the "complications" in my opinion.
This is a good general "beginners guide to the simple life" and is also a very quick and easy read - good for mommies like me [and others] who have to do their reading in 5 minute snatches here and there!
It has been a few years since I first read this book and I just went back to browse over it again. I realized that many of the authors' suggestions I began using back then and am still using. There are some very do-able tips such as trying to touch each piece of mail only once. I was inspired to cancel my weekly newspaper and to scale back on the number of magazine subscriptions as I didn't have time to read them and was feeling pressured to "get to the pile". I also donated many sets of linens to a charity after I realized I had too many and wasn't ever going to use them all.
There is a great section on saying no and not feeling guilty about saying no. That alone is worth buying and reading the book.
I found the book had some wacky suggestions such as owning only one fork, knife and spoon. Other suggestions I couldn't put into effect were when I buy one item of clothing to get rid of one that I already have. I also could not do her meal plan where they eat the same 7 dinners every single week. Yuck.
The part that I found not so helpful was that there were really no suggestions regarding being a family with young children. I realized that it must be simpler to simplify ones life when in middle age years (as the author is and describes) than with babies underfoot. I also realized that parents of young children could benefit from some specific ideas to simplify our lives that are unique to our situation. Parents are very pressured to buy the right toys, a lot of toys, the right clothes, enroll in the best preschool, have elaborate birthday parties, do sports at an early age, etc. I would love to hear from someone that it is all right and a good idea to simplify and scale back all this craziness with our young children. I think I have found that in "Mitten Strings for God" by Katrina Kenison-but I have to find the time to read it!
by Elaine St. James (a best-selling author of two other
books I recently enjoyed, INNER SIMPLICITY and
SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE) . . . LIVING seems to put all
her previous ideas together into one complete blueprint
for success and fulfillment . . . you'll learn how to be more
productive at work, ignite creativity and find time to explore
new challenges . . . the book is another excellent contribution
to what is becoming an ever-widening collection that should
prove indispensable to anybody that thinks he or she has
too much to do.
There were many worthwhile suggestions; among them:
A good exercise is to sit down and go through all the major areas
of your life and decide how each would be different if the only
person was you [that you had to be concerned about].
Resign from any organization whose meetings you dread.
It's helpful to figure out what you don't want with you life . . . .and
then move to eliminate it.
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