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Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More Paperback – July 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786882425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786882427
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former businesswoman Elaine St. James, whose previous books, Simplify Your Life and Inner Simplicity, have over 475,000 copies in print, once again cries "Simplify!" in Living the Simple Life: 100 Steps to Scaling Down and Enjoying More. After a brief testimony to the rewards of her own simplified life, St. James discusses 100 areas, from household chores to e-mail, where action may be effectively taken to remove the clutter from everyday life. A pinch of Heloise and a dash of Buddha enliven her recipes. Book club sales to Rodale, BOMC, QPB and One Spirit. Second serial rights to Ladies' Home Journal. (Hyperion, $14.95 320p ISBN 0-7868-6219-X)
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A pinch of Heloise and a dash of Buddha."—Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

Losing me a little bit here.
S. Marcantelli
"Living the Simple Life" is a book about choices.
Cathy A. Pulsifer
I think she has some really good ideas.
Kelly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By ChristineMM TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first book that I read on the subject of simplifying ones life. It is a small sized book with tiny 2-3 page chapters. It is easy to read in bits and pieces.
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.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By gailross@gate.net on October 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
Although it would be easy to write all of the allotted 1,000 words to review this book, in the spirit of the book let me tell you a few unbelievable (perhaps, but not for me)realities that happened after my husband and I began to live a much more simple life: 1) our hearts swell with joy for each other even though we're both somewhat disabled and not capable of working anymore; 2) the condition of disabled living was untenable for me until this book - today my disability has become a gift; 3) we have been forced to live on a far-reduced income (I no longer can be the professor at the area university, a life I adored) and have NOT been forced to move from our comfortable condo on the beach in West Palm Beach; 4) I never carry a pocketbook but always have what I need when I am out and need or wish to purchase something - this has also lightened the burden of trying to handle a pocketbook or even a fanny pack while manipulating a crutch and weak muscles; 5) we both read more, enjoy more, and ultimately feel far less pain by following the simple changes we read about in St. James' book.
It's got 5 stars from me because I smile daily as opposed to grimace and "crankerize" about my life!
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165 of 192 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
St. James has a lot of good advice here in a marketable "chicken soup" style presentation, but a major weakness is that the book seems slanted to the needs of recovering yuppies who have their loot already and can afford to slow down. I guess from a marketing standpoint that is a strength because those are the people who regularly buy books like this one. Voluntary simplicity is a different story for young people just starting out who haven't made enough money to qualify for the first home, or accumulated enough to even consider semi-retirement. For such people, the simple life often demands significant "sacrifices" such as conventional career success and social status. If the simplicity movement is to have any sort of long term credibility, there needs to be more books from authors other than the likes of St. James, people who have truly paid the economic price for the soul-enlarging blessings of simplicity.
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56 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Elaine St. James offers many practical tips to simplfy your life. Many are just plain common sense. Whilst reading her book, I couldn't get over the feeling that the author seems to be lacking spiritual depth in her commitment to the simple life. She and her husband Gibbs, seem to be very wrapped up in their little world. They both have already achieved financial success with their careers; its obvious they are not hurting for money. They have already lived in the fancy house, driven the luxury car, worn the designer clothes and got tired of all the trappings. I do not dispute that many of the authors suggestions are worthwhile and offer the reader some food for thought, however I think if you are looking for a book that deals with simplicity on more of a spirtual path, I would look elsewhere.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book as well as "Inner Simplicity". It gave us the courage to escape the suburban life in the big city (Houston, TX) and move to the country! We are renting a cabin on a Longhorn cattle ranch in Central Texas. We've managed to scale down to about 1000 sq ft and I don't miss ANY of the baggage we left behind (though I'm sure the charity we gave it to is happy!). This book is not for anyone who thinks you have to have a lot of money saved to live a simple life. It's for people who genuinely want to make a committment to changing their present lifestyle which may mean giving up some "toys" or climbing a career ladder. We made sure we could sustain ourselves on a modest living in our new surroundings before we took the leap. I traded rush hour traffic twice a day for a swing and a cup of coffee on my front porch at sunrise. You CAN get your sanity back, but be ready to give up consumerism...you won't miss it!
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