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Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World [Paperback]

Linda Breen Pierce
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The popular press has recently held its magnifying glass up to what has been called the "simplicity movement." Pierce, founder of a three-year Simplicity Study that followed the lives of 211 people, takes a closer look with this book about her findings. Difficult to summarize, it is, nonetheless, an intriguing, if occasionally preachifying, treatise on the superior value of living with more integrity than money. For most collections.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Choosing Simplicity is just what the doctor ordered for anyone thinking about simplifying their lives. Pierce successfully debunks the commonly held myths about the simplicity movement through the captivating stories of the everyday people who have done it. Meticulously researched and well written." -- Jacqueline Blix and David Heitmiller, authors of Getting a Life<br /><br />"Linda Breen Pierce brings clarity and compassion to an insider's report on the simple life. Choosing Simplicity is filled with first-hand stories and insights of real people who describe their life-long process of discovering more soulful and sustainable ways of living." -- Duane Elgin, author of Voluntary Simplicity" and Awakening Earth<br /><br />"Linda Breen Pierce brings home the importance of the personal story. Reading the stories of the people in her study is liberating and exhilarating! We can't change alone, and even if you have no "simplifiers" in your life, these people can become your mental and emotional community-inspiring you to live more fully and more in harmony with the Earth. Read the book a little each day and you'll find yourself changing in profound ways." -- Cecile Andrews, author of Circle of Simplicity<br /><br />"People often ask me, 'Is it really possible to simplify your life?' The real life stories in Choosing Simplicity prove that it is possible. And they show the many and varied ways choosing simplicity can lead to a more satisfying, rewarding, and fulfilling life. This book is an inspiration and guide for anyone who wants to live more simply." -- Elaine St. James, author of Simplify Your Life and Inner Simplicity<br /><br />"Reading about all those who had succeeded in simplifying their lives gave us courage. Those of us who are seeking more creative ways to live need to know we aren't alone...the true stories in this book prove that we are members of a growing movement. This is an important, informative, inspiring and entertaining book. Must reading for anyone sincerely seeking meaningful and fulfilling alternatives to mainstream goals!" -- Hal Zina Bennett, Ph.D., and Susan J. Sparrow, coauthors of Follow Your Bliss<br /><br />"You are in for a treat. The stories in this book are rich in texture and color, the warp on which you will find yourself weaving reflections about your own life.. . . Linda weaves her own experiences and insights throughout and brings a great deal of joy and respect to the telling of each story." -- Vicki Robin, coauthor of Your Money or Your Life, from the Foreword of Choosing Simplicity<br /><br />"Choosing Simplicity is intelligent, beautifully written, and emphatically nonjudgmental." --Larry Roth, author of Beating the System

About the Author

Linda Breen Pierce is the founder of The Pierce Simplicity Study (a three-year study of 200+ people who live simply) and the author of Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World (Gallagher Press, 2000) and Simplicity Lessons: A 12-Step Guide to Living Simply (Gallagher Press, 2003). Linda has a website, The Simplicity Resource Guide, which features a broad range of resources on voluntary simplicity.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From Chapter 1: Joe and Cindy Pfender had it made. They owned a beautiful, brand new 2,200-square-foot home set on one-half acre outside of Houston. Their home was located in a lovely neighborhood brimming with Southern hospitality and seven community pools for those hot Texas summers. They were the proud parents of three children-Chelsea, six, Shane, two, and Quinn, the baby in the family.

Joe worked hard to provide this lifestyle for his family. Every morning he left for work at 7:00 A.M. and returned 12 or more hours later. His commute took 45 minutes each way. He spent his evenings reading and responding to over 200 e-mail messages related to his job as a regional sales manager for a major steamship line. Pressure from senior management and customers was constant, but Joe handled it quite well-at least that's how it appeared from the outside. He entertained his customers frequently with drinks and dinners in fine restaurants. Many weekends he was away on business trips. Joe had the feeling that his work week never really began or ended.

Not surprisingly, Cindy began to feel like a single parent. On those frequent evenings when Joe did not make it home for dinner, she hauled the kids off to a fast food restaurant for dinner, a distraction-something of a treat to compensate for their missing father and husband.

One day Chelsea came to her dad with a drawing and proudly announced, "Daddy, look what I did." Joe pointed to each person in the picture and asked Chelsea to tell him about each one. Chelsea responded, "That's Quinn. He's crying. That's Shane. He just hit Quinn. I am reading a book and Mommy is cooking dinner." Chelsea then pointed to the one remaining figure, saying, "That's you, Daddy." "But why is my face all colored in?" Joe asked his daughter. "That's not your face, Daddy, that's the back of your head. You're working on your computer."

Chelsea's drawing was a stunning revelation to Joe. He envisioned his daughter all grown up and remembering her dad as a person who was always working, a person who was not there for her. At that moment, Joe understood what was most important to him. It was not the status and stimulation of his job, his house, the swimming pools, or the health club. It was his wife and his three children. As Joe reflected, "No amount of money or position or home or belongings can replace supporting one another and going through the process of raising our children together."

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