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The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir Kindle Edition

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Length: 270 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Even those who are contemplating downsizing may not be familiar with the DIY tiny-urban-house movement Williams describes. Imagine a floor space smaller than an average-size living-room rug with an external peak elevation of less than 10 feet and an open-space “ceiling” height of less than seven feet. Now picture a sleeping loft above the 84 square feet below. That’s it. The entire house. Williams explains that she was driven by a need to build a home and to be at home “in the world and in my body” after awakening in a hospital following a cardiac incident that caused her to reevaluate and change her life. “Feeling like a woman learning to swim,” Williams recounts studying DIY manuals as bedtime reading, and learning, hands-on, the finer points of using the correct tools to build a floor frame and much more as she undertakes securing prefabricated walls to the trailer-skeleton. She calls on friends for help with hoisting walls. Here Williams has built an engaging and inspiring how-to/memoir that goes beyond the DIY perspective. --Whitney Scott


“Visitors to [Dee Williams’] property may be forgiven for thinking someone had taken up residence in a beautifully built pine-and-cedar toolshed out back….[an] affecting memoir…she writes in The Big Tiny of finding a centeredness and peace in her little house, of being less fearful, more alive. Some of the best passages are when she describes the sensory experience of being inside: smelling raw cedar and knotty pine; listening to the weather.”
—Steven Kurutz, The New York Times

“[N]o one makes the idea of living in a home the size of an area rug more appealing than Dee Williams…Williams’ inspiring memoir will resonate with anyone on a quest to downsize, de-stress, let go or feel at home…an endearing, funny writer…[The Big Tiny] is a book as intimate and draw-you-in-close as Williams' little abode. She reveals her fear and fearlessness, allowing readers to feel like visitors across her tiny table, knees touching, her dog by your side.”
—Janet Eastman, The Oregonian

“[A] delightful encounter with the Tina Fey of the sustainability world, an empowered woman unafraid to admit she accidentally glued her hair to her house, as well as an incisive thinker on contemporary experience….a hilarious and poignant memoir…Williams does more than share the travails of building, moving into and living in her bitty abode. She writes a down-to-earth manifesto for living life with intention and for geeking out, diving in, caring too deeply and trying too hard in general.”
—Mary Louise Schumacher, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“In The Big Tiny, Dee Williams creates a portrait of humanity through her own compelling experience. That she has written about home and life with such humor and vulnerability, and in her own unique vernacular, makes her story all the more universal.”—Jay Shafer, author of The Small House Book

“Williams has built an engaging and inspiring how-to/memoir that goes beyond the DIY perspective.”
The Big Tiny is irresistible. Dee Williams is as much fun on the page as she is in person. Comic, silly, and soulful, she takes us on her journey to simplify her life and along the way tunes in to our own inner desire to pare down to our nearly naked selves.”—Jim Lynch, author of The Highest Tide and Truth Like the Sun
“The Big Tiny is a beautifully written narrative, one that goes beyond happiness and living simply. The power of Dee’s words will touch your heart, make you laugh, cry, and change your life.”—Tammy Strobel, author of You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)
“The Big Tiny is comedic, eloquent, and damn informative all at the same time. If Dee Williams’ story hasn’t inspired you to reevaluate your life already, this book just may be the swift kick in the pants you need—the final awakening blow all rolled into one biblio-burrito of bad-assness.”—Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, HGTV host and honcho of
“Dee Williams aims for happiness 85 percent of the time, but I think you’ll be 100 percent happy with the wisdom she shares in this beautiful book.”—Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup

Product Details

  • File Size: 8083 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1628992409
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (April 22, 2014)
  • Publication Date: April 22, 2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DGZL078
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,683 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By L. Smith on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Six years ago I had all of the things a successful young person was supposed to have, but I was unhappy and I wasn't sure why. One fateful new-year's eve, I stumbled across a YouTube video of Dee Williams and I felt a paradigm shift. I finally understood how to be happy. Since that time, Dee's story has not only changed my life, it has launched an entire movement of voluntary simplicity through tiny house living.

Reading this book was like rediscovering the quintessence I originally found in Dee's tiny house story. The beauty of this book is that there is so much more depth than short videos could ever provide. In the book, Dee shares the context of her decision to go tiny, the struggles she had in the transition, and the meaning of life discovery she made in the face of death. Dee's book is tragic, endearing, and surprisingly wet-your-pants funny. I loved this book!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By B Farrell on April 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
A totally captivating, mesmerizing book. I love true stories that uplift and motivate us, This book does that and more. It stretches the mind to think outside the normal of striving to achieve the typical american dream and stop to reflect on what is important in your life. Dee Williams has faced a crisis of medical instability with no guarantee of her future. Instead she focuses on living now. She embraces the concept of ridding herself of the unneeded baggage in her life and all that goes with it. When she decides to build a tiny house to call her own she discovers a freedom that she didn't have in the past. In the process of reading her journey we too learn that less can really be more. The material things that Dee let go of gave her more back for herself to go, do and be who she wants, unburdened by the following of her heart. If you read this book I think you too will be challenged to rethink priorities and what you feel is important in your life.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Thompson on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When I first discovered the tiny house movement, a rush of hope filled my body. The freedom that comes with living simply with a small footprint sounds so right! And while many of my friends live light by moving often and calling the car home, this is a much more mature living situation. The thrill of looking through the Tumbleweed catalogue subsided over time and it wasn't until this memoir came out that I felt it possible to really commit to a tiny house. By reading how Dee Williams has done this for 10 years, I am back on the wagon.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ad Gal on June 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I live in a smallish house (700 sq ft) and am fascinated by the tiny house movement and people who make minimalism and simplicity work. However, this book isn't a "you should do this" manual or just for folks who are interested in small houses... It's much more universal than that. It is a story of Dee's personal journey to find a meaningful life and a sense of home and community. I enjoyed her quirky sense of humor and was inspired by her mistakes and guffaws -- she's a newbie to construction (not a professional builder at that point) learning the ropes to build her own house, and she shares the struggles and triumphs along the way. She comes across as a genuine, approachable person that you'd love to trade stories with over a cup of coffee.

I'm most impressed by how her little house allows her to experience solitude in a positive way and connects her more directly to nature, and how it also acts as a catalyst for a sense of community and "family" with a variety of awesome friends. When I first started reading the book, I thought it was kind of sad and tragic -- Dee faced health issues, loneliness and an uncertain future. But I kept reading and couldn't put it down as I saw her transform what could be (and was at times) terribly sad and discouraging into an opportunity to create a new way to live and make every day count. By the end of the book, I was both crying and cheering and wish there were more to read. I recommend this book to anyone interested in finding "the good life" and inspiration to follow their dreams, whatever those may be. Dee, I hope you write a sequel!
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By katie kofemug on April 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Building a house 8.5 feet by 13.5 feet on a utility trailer doesn't sound like a major accomplishment. That is until you learn that an individual, not a factory, did so and lives there year round, all the time. Oh, and the builder is a woman, 40ish, with a rhythmically challenged heart and more zest for life than many toddlers. Dee Williams' story is about building her home and the transitions in life we all confront, and so, oh so much, more.

It is a narrative of living beyond the limits, letting go, waking up courage that seems to nap more often than not as we wave thirty good-bye, and reaching for what could be better, if we make it so. She is inspirational, motivational and grounded in some basics of nature none of us escape, facts are facts, regardless of our age, income or the size of our dwellings. Her writing feels like you're sitting on the stoop of her Big Tiny Home listening to a story she'd rather someone else told but since you asked and remembered to bring snacks and beer....

So first, she gently warns you: "Learning new things doesn't always liberate you. Instead, it makes you wonder if your pants are on backward or the trees are holding the sky up--it makes you question all of your assumptions and conventions."

And then she earnestly comforts you: "But the facts are the facts: I found a certain bigness in my little house--a sense of largeness, freedom, and happiness that comes when you see there's no place else you'd rather be."

For me, the thought of more with less is not new. I raised and homeschooled six children in 980 square feet on a part time admin's pay, debt free except for the land payment.
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