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81 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book and ended up reading it--not for me, but for my sister-in-law. It is everything --and much more!--that I have told her she needs to do for years! And yes, I picked up some valuable info, even though I do live fairly frugally.

Lighten Up Love What Your Have, Have What You Need, be Happier with Less, by Peter Walsh, is a book to written to help us understand that that money does not buy happiness and hwo to live within our means and still find happiness!

Walsh writes about people who are financially suffering because of the Great Recession--who, while riddled with anxiety and depression about money problems, still spend money as a (short) term way of making themselves feel better. He explains that many of us feel that buying stuff makes us happy--but it doesn't.

Walsh writes about how many of us are now "getting it"--we understand that we don't need the biggest house or car or to buy more than all the neighbors do.

Just a little side note...in college I studied this phenomenon and can tell you that buying to find happiness (security, status, etc) has been around a long time--as in, since the late 19th Century with the rise of the Industrial Revolution! With the increase of goods came the need to sell them...thus, advertisements were born and with them, powerful messages to consume. Point is--we have been brainwashed into believing that buying makes us feel good for a long time!

Walsh attempts to smash all these erroneous beliefs and does a good job of it. The book instructs on how to set priorities and learn the differences between needs versus wants and entitlements. He asks: "How do you live a life of abundance on less?" --and explains how to do that.

Learning to live on less is actually freeing and empowering and once it is a habit, you will never want to spend recklessly again! I have been interested in this subject a long time--since college, as I mentioned. For those of you who would like more of a historical perspective on this subject, read the great Classic: BABBIT, by Sinclair Lewis. The book, written in 1922 (but still timely--except for lack of electronics!)is a gem, with the main character obsessed with material goods and spending, and of fitting in. Another her wonderful book that shows you how to create a lovely home without spending much and to think differently about buying stuff--the author also advises to keep only what you love, no clutter, etc. is HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT: BEAUTIFY, DETOXIFY & ENERGIZE YOUR LIFE, YOUR HOME & YOUR PLANET.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who believes shopping for stuff will make them happy or who have problems with debt or uncontrollable spending. Actually, I recommend it to virtually anyone--I think everyone would benefit from this book. I know I did.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Peter Walsh is such a positive force; he really cares about helping people. He also gets into the psychology of why we have too much clutter. Usually it is tied to some emotional need. People use clutter to fill some gap in their life, but it actually keeps them from moving forward in life. If you have too much clutter, please give this book a try. Going shopping and buying more stuff is not going to make you happy, instead it ends up making you feel a lot worse because the clutter builds up and you feel like you are losing control of your environment. Peter is great, his writing style is friendly, positive and serious. If you ever get a chance to watch his program on the Oprah Winfrey Network... do it! You will see what having too much clutter can do to people. It is too bad Amazon won't let me give Peter 10 stars because he deserves it for how much he has helped people. I know this book can help you.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Peter hits the nails in my head and tells it as is. It's like the light has finally turned on for me as I've been sitting in the dark for a long, long time. I really like the questions and exercises that come with each chapter. They got me thinking and revisiting my habits and my thought patterns. I must admit that the questions Peter has for the readers are hard to answer. OK, speaking for myself. Really, if you are like me got hit by this recession, what Peter talks about in this book will touch you in every aspect of your life, just as mine has been touched by his wisdom. Ever since my husband was laid off by his job almost 2 years ago, we've been forced to live with only one income. But it's hard to change the way you've been living for the past 10 years to suddenly realize that you do not have that much spare money to spurge whenever and whatever you feel like. Honestly, it took me about more than a year to finally change my spending habits. I didn't love what I have and I constantly thought I need more and more would bring me happiness. After reading this book, I understand the simple and happy way of living is to live simply. Appreciate life and look at life differently. Stuff will not make me happy. Stuff does not define who I am. I have been cleaning out all of my clutters mentally and physically one day at a time and it is so liberating. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is going through financial hardships currently.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sure, we all know (at least on some level) that money can't buy happiness. But, the costly truth that many people don't realize is that "we tend to spend money on very little that has lasting value and that can truly add to the quality of our live over the long term." In fact, the true cost of the purchases that once promised a better life comes in the form of the emotional, physical, and financial clutter that gradually smothers--and devastates--lives.

In his timely book _Lighten Up_, Peter's mission is to "show you how to make space for what really matters by facing those fears and ditching denial once and for all." This book helps you get real about your financial habits, and offers a step-by-step way to work towards the vision you have for your life. Highly readable and usable, this book offers plenty of profound insights that are likely to change your relationship with money:

*"It's better to collect money, space, time, and energy than any single item." (p. 205)
*"Once you move away from falsely thinking that more stuff creates more of what you want, you can appreciate the value of less. When you acquire less stuff you will actually get more of want you really want--more money, greater security, peace of mind, more time, more energy, and deeper relationships." (p. 212)
*"We frequently acquire things we think we need for survival, but there are very few things we actually need in order to survive." (p. 137)
*"Break the association between spending and happiness, between love and receiving more, and between the acquisition of stuff and self-fulfillment." (p. 226)

One of my favorite parts of the book is the pause-before-purchase questions Peter suggests asking yourself before checking out (p. 241):
---Will this item move me closer or farther away from the vision I have for the life I want?
---Is this a want or a need?
---Will I value this item next year as much as I do today?
---Can I afford it? Can my family afford it?
---What will I not buy in order to buy this item?
---What will this item replace?
---What will I get rid of to make space for this item?
---What do I expect this item to do for me today, tomorrow, and in the future?

Can you imagine how much consumer debt could be prevented if credit card purchases required answers to those questions??

If you want to lighten your load and discover how living with less can truly be more, I'd highly recommend purchasing (or borrowing from the library if you really take the mission of this book seriously) this book.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Loved this read along with the two other books I bought that Peter wrote - each contributed to my change in understanding just what my stuff was contributing to my stress.My "stuff" and I now live together in better harmony and I love the space that is now opened up in my home and in other ways also..
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 16, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have read a good number of books on organizing and decluttering your life, and I have read a couple of Paul Walsh's books. So far I have found his advice to be the most motivating for me and the most likely to actually be taken. It's true that this book is not a step-by-step instruction booklet on "how" to organize everything; it is a book that reveals "why" you haven't done it in the past and "how" to change your way of thinking so that you can finally achieve the life you have always wanted. There are many useful tips and ideas on how to go about it, but that has really been covered in his other books. He explains that if you read organizational books and find that you still don't put them into action, then you need to finally look at it with a new perspective and understand why you can't let go and why you keep bringing it in. He repeats often that our problem with having and wanting too much is really "not about the stuff" but rather about how we view the stuff.

His question that got me truly thinking was "What is the vision you have for the life you want?" I always thought I knew what that was, but this made me envision every area of my life and picture what my ideal vision was. He also asks the question of what are the most important things in your life and points out that few of us would answer with the "stuff" we own. The most important things in our lives aren't usually "things." They are usually family, friends, health...not material things. And if material things are what really make people happy, why are there so many unhappy wealthy people? Why is it that even though we acquire more and more stuff, we are not more and more satisfied with life?

One of the most important lessons he teaches us in this book is that in the last couple of generations, the difference between needs and wants has become very blurred. Not only do we often believe that our "wants" are our "needs", we have even stretched our expectations to "entitlements." Gone are the days when people understood that you only deserve what you have worked for. Period. He helps us to step back and learn how to differentiate wants from needs and encourages us to learn to live with what we need and less of what we think we want. He shows us how much simpler our lives could be if could adopt a less-is-better lifestyle.

Paul Walsh encourages the reader to write out goals. After all, you have to know what you really want for your life if you are ever to achieve it. He also suggests that you do "audits" of your personal and financial life, assess how far you are from those goals, and understand what is in the "gap" between your vision and reality. Then you can make a plan to reach those goals that will fulfill your life.

This is a book about reducing the stress in your life, of getting off the "more is better" bandwagon, understanding that things do not bring happiness, and how to stop turning to stuff for our happiness fix. This book is less about organizing and more about "planning for the full, happy life you want to live." Simpler really is better.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading lots of decluttering books and so far, this one is my favorite. It actually makes you want to get started and it motivates you to change. I've also read one or two of his other books, and I still liked this one the best. I think the only negative I have is that I liked the book so much that I kept it instead of passing it on, so I guess I maybe failed the hanging onto things test. Really just a great book that helps you to buy less and keep less "stuff" around. He explains everything. Just a wonderful tool for a better you. Absolutely loved it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have read many different books on the subject of money but this one was a bit different then all the rest. Walsh offers more than just simple solutions; he helps you get to the bottom of WHY you spend the way that you do and HOW to change your spending lifestyle. It's hard to change behaviors without figuring out why we do them in the first place. I like a book with common sense: start at the beginning! He also reaches beyond just the financial aspects of life to the overall idea of the pursuit of happiness and what it really looks like.

Walsh uses a series of mini "pop quizzes" and "audits" to almost self diagnose your own financial issues. I like this idea because it makes you answer your own question with his guidance. It's a clever way to help you reach an understanding and the only one pointing the finger is the one reading it!
He also includes real letters/emails from people he's worked with to show how everyone can be successful by using true examples. I could relate to a lot of these stories so I'm sure there's a situation like most people's found within these examples. It's always easier to understand something when we can personally relate to it.

There is a lot of "work" to this book which makes sense. If you want to change something in your life, you have to do the work! It's not going to change on its own. In addition to the quizzes and audits, there are a lot of pages to be filled out including thought provoking questions, charts related to finances, fill in the blanks etc. He presents suggestions and challenges as to how to change your financial wellbeing.

His philosophies about "stuff" are interesting and how something so simple as minimizing the clutter in one's life can take a burden off your shoulders. We all carry around "stuff" both literal and figuratively. He touches on both and how ridding your life of stuff can free you of unnecessary weight.

Walsh's wealth of experience on the subject is obvious and his viewpoint is a refreshing change from typical books about money. He shares more of his philosophies then simply telling you what to do. It's important to understand ourselves in order to better ourselves and I love that he uses this approach! This is a great book for anyone with financial struggles looking for a way to work them out but be forewarned, you have to do the work!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book has great information but it is difficult to read on a Kindle - so far the only book I have had this problem with - I feel like it lends itself to a hard copy however, I need to stop buying books myself.....the Kindle is the same size regardless of how many books it is carrying with it...LOL
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As he did with your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, Peter ties clutter in with the state of your financial health. Nothing really new here, but it's still Peter! I was hoping for something a little more like "It's All Too Much", but this really focuses on creating a budget and finding ways to work with what money you have (and getting rid of clutter, of course). Great book if you have financial issues and need someone motivating to help you get some basic financial management skills.

My favorite book is still "It's All Too Much", even though Peter did sign this one for me and mailed it to me here in Afghanistan. : )
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