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Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter Paperback – May 1 1994

3.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (May 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786880007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786880003
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.9 x 15.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"A guide for our time."―Vanity Fair

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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My very favorite piece of advice in this book is "Give up the boat," which pretty much says it all. For grown-ups who are interested in reading actual books as opposed to shallow one-liners, just about anything else is better. Start with the excellent The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs, the equally excellent The Healthy Living Space by Richard Leviton, and the oldie but goodie Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin. Sweeping Changes deals more specifically with your home environment, and books by Andrew Weil offer health and wellness advice and information that incorporate these values. The magazine Real Simple tends toward Martha Stewart slick, but it often contains good advice, and always contains amazing (and simple) recipes. Definitely worth the subscription price. I'm sure there are many others of substance I'm forgetting or haven't yet discovered, but there are books out there worth looking for.
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By A Customer on July 28 2003
Format: Paperback
If you are into simplicity, you don't need this book. If you want to learn more about frugality, save your money. If you are not a rich yuppie, don't buy this book.
This book is helpful to the person who is just starting out on the simple path in life. There are some helpful suggestions, simplify your meals, don't answer the phone, ect. The problem is, for many people, getting rid of the boat, or only having one checking account isn't even an option. The audience for this book is not the middle middle, or lower middle class person.
Further, there is little to no help for those whose idea of simplicity is saving more money. While many of the ideas could save you money, other will cost money.
To find this book helpful, you really need to consider what you want. This book is NOT for all readers.
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Format: Paperback
I guess this book falls into the category of "never take parenting advice from someone who never had children". I bought this book because I LOVED "Simplify your life" by this author. I found it very helpful. This book, however, was mostly confounding and fairly depressing. While St. James *did* seek out advice from her friends who had children, these friends apparently take a very 'hands off' approach to their kids.
The book opens with a scenario in which a mother has forgotten to pick up her child and the child is stranded somewhere late in the evening while she tries to figure out a way to get someone else to go pick him up now that she's home and needs to make dinner. This did not bode well for the rest of the book [for those of us who don't routinely completely forget about our children and leave them alone in public places late at night....]
Much of the advice in this book falls into the category of "simplify your life with children by paying someone else to deal with the little brats". There is much about how parents should put their children in day care all day [and don't EVER let your child think they have the ability to cause you to delay your departure because of their pathetic tears, etc, etc, etc] and then get a sitter to care for the children in the evenings so mom can have "Me" time and parents can have "Us" time. Apparently, if you schedule 2 hours of "quality time" on Sunday afternoon with your kids, that's really all they need.
There was also a big push to teach the kids "self sufficiency" - as in, your 5 year old really can get his own breakfast so he doesn't "bother" you.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I'm writing this review with hopes that the author, Elaine St. James, reads this and realizes what a positive effect she has had on my life. I'm only in my twenties and was stuck in the rat race of life-- getting knee deep in debt and acquiring possessions I didn't need that were taking an enormous amount of my valuable time to upkeep, among other things. I have followed nearly all of the advice in her book and I am debt free, clutter free and my personal life is no longer a "Jerry Springer" episode. This book encompasses simplification techniques for a multitude of areas we all face in daily life-- household, finances, job, personal life, and health, just to name a few. If you are really tired of keeping up with the Joneses and want quality out of life rather than quantity, I recommend the books by Elaine St. James above and beyond any others on the market... and I've read many. And to Ms. St. James, thank you for writing this book because it really did change the course of my life for the better... you don't even KNOW!
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Format: Paperback
You'll enjoy this book if you are just getting started in the process of simplifying your life, or if you're looking for a little extra inspiration. However, the book is too limited to use an an overall guide.
To understand why, remember that this is really a collection of ideas that St. James and her husband have already put into place in their lives. They were hard core yuppie materialists in the 80's and decided to simplify their lives to have more time for each other. The author's recommendations reflect this orientation. "Get rid of your boat" is obviously not going to apply for everyone. Some of the suggestions to limit your time with others also probably assume that you've already found a life partner; single folks should keep this in mind as they read.
The format of this book also makes for a strange alternation between huge, life-changing choices (move to where you can be close to your workplace), and weirdly specific recommendations (stop using nail polish). I found this to be a little odd, but if you are just looking for ideas, it probably won't bother you. I also found the suggestion to "change your expecations", which turned out to mean, "avoid doing difficult things" to be defeatist and unhelpful.
There are some great ideas in this book in every section. Some of the suggestions are challenging, but could yield great results. Each one, although not helpful to EVERYONE, will probably be helpful to SOMEONE. For these reasons, I'm giving it three stars. The book could be very useful as a way to provoke thought about what is really necessary in your life. Just don't look to it as an all purpose guide, and keep in mind the backgrounds of the authors as you read.
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