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The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life Paperback – May 11, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

For two decades, through her books and television programs, Urbanska has been an advocate for simplicity, a life of more meaning and fewer possessions. Given the growing popularity of the green movement and now the more austere financial realities brought on by the recession, Urbanska's viewpoints are gaining more widespread interest. Urbanska offers readers seven specific paths to simple living: financial independence through frugality; meaningful work; smaller, more eco-friendly housing that is paid for; reclaimed homemaking with green-conscious decorating and cleaning; healthier eating and family-oriented meals; a return to gardening for fresher, healthier fruit and vegetables; and a return to community engagement. Each chapter begins with a homily—live frugally, live liberally, retire debt as fast as you can—and solid advice on how readers can achieve the simple life. She offers plenty of examples from her own life, as well as those of others, of hard-earned lessons about the benefits of the simple life. --Vanessa Bush

Review

Wanda Urbanska is the defacto Martha Stewart of the Simple Living movement. -- O Magazine
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Krause Publ (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440204519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440204517
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,386,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simple Living Expert, Author & Host of "Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska"

With keen insight and sensitivity, Wanda Urbanska has inspired thousands of overscheduled, debt-ridden and worn-out Americans to reshape their lives and "get back to basics" while building meaningful relationships, a healthier planet and secure, caring communities.

Urbanska's approach encourages us to make small lifestyle changes that together, add up to create multiple, overlapping benefits and deliver big picture change. Through teaching about and leading a life of environmental stewardship, thoughtful consumption, community involvement and financial responsibility, she is educating the public to pursue happier and more sustainable lives.

Urbanska is the author of The Heart of Simple Living (2010) and the author or co-author of seven other books including Nothing's Too Small To Make A Difference (2004) and Less is More (2009). She hosted the PBS primetime special "Escape from Affluenza: Living Better on Less." Her series, "Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska," is the first national television series on sustainable living. With four production seasons, it debuted on PBS stations in 2004.

Expert Source

A graduate of Harvard University, Urbanska has helped to identify simplicity as one of the top trends of our time. She is sought-after for her insights and has appeared on numerous television shows including "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the "Today" show and "CBS This Morning." She has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered."

Her writing has been published in The Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and in such magazines as Vogue, Natural Home, Mother Earth News and American Libraries. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the London Daily Telegraph and many others.

Recently, Urbanska returned from a seven-month sabbatical in Poland with her 12-year-old son Henry. She used the opportunity as an exercise in simplicity while exploring her roots. Her only possessions were those that she could fit into two suitcases. She lived with a Polish family, car-free, using public transportation to get around.

Urbanska lives and works in North Carolina. Join her online community at www.simplelivingtv.net.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
63%
4 star
19%
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19%
See all 16 customer reviews
I highly recommend this book as it can help you get a grip on you life.
Sybil A. Williams
I try to live healthy and eco-friendly and this book helped me to get back to some things I had been slacking in.
J. Williams
This book has such a pleasant writing style, I found it extremely easy to read.
B. Tetzlaff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By The Virginian on May 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
What I really liked about this book is its very practical approach. After a brief overview of the many reasons for why you'd want to simplify many things in your life, the author gives many concrete suggestions covering financial independence, what she calls "housing happiness" (ie, no McMansions), as well as kitchen and garden ideas. She also covers community involvement as a means to (usually inexpensive) fun and fulfillment. I think most people would find numerous tips that they could easily use, so recommend this book very highly!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J. Williams on May 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
I really love this book. I had a hard time putting it down when I first picked it up. It really covers so many areas in such a small book, not to mention it's very easy to read. I keep finding myself going back to it even after reading it already. It's definitely not a book I want to store away. Oh it has a really great recipe in it that's very delish! I try to live healthy and eco-friendly and this book helped me to get back to some things I had been slacking in. The book speaks of living in a small town and the benefits of it, which I agree. I feel so at ease and comfortable since moving to a smaller town. I loved the part about gardening because I've just started my first garden. I really needed to hear the part where she talks about building community. Being new to town, it makes me want to step out and try to get involved in the community. She speaks of many great ways to do this. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sybil A. Williams on May 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you don't have a grip on your life, this book can inspire you to slow down and live a more fulfilled simpler life. Wanda Urbanska gives so many ideas how to live life to the fullest without having to be in debt up to your eyebrows. So many good tips to cut back on waste, stuff, and as she says, "your carbon footprint". I have put a lot of her suggestions into practice and believe me it sure makes a difference in how you feel about things in general and yourself. All the while you are reading her inspiring book, you are saying, I can do that or why didn't I think of that. She gets down to the basic nitty gritty bare bones reality that suggests a better way of living a content happier and simpler life without having to worry all the time about bills. I highly recommend this book as it can help you get a grip on you life. As one of her other books suggests...Less is More!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Books and Chocolate TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a book that encourages voluntary simplicity by asking the reader to rethink seven areas of life: finances, career, housing, homemaking, cooking/nutrition, gardening, and community; all with a focus on "green" living to be more responsible with the resources available to us.

Each section consists of several essay-type mini chapters on the topic, written from the author's own experiences as self-proclaimed spokesperson for the simple living movement. (Urbanska hosts a PBS program on the subject of simple living but I hadn't heard of her before reading this book because the program isn't aired at my local PBS station.)

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book for the way it challenged me to make the connection between simple living and thoughtful living as I think about what I want my life to look like in each of the seven areas. The chapter on homemaking was my favorite, with many good ideas for simplifying household chores and even one's wardrobe. I agree with the author's sentiment that one is more at peace with clean, simple surroundings instead of clutter and dust, and although such a life isn't a daily reality for me, it does inspire me to try harder to achieve it.

Unlike other books on simplifying and organization, this isn't a book of checklists but does contain many tips for improving life in the areas presented. The author's personal stories and those of others make it enjoyable to read and leaves the reader feeling he or she can make changes toward simpler living in realistic steps. The only negative for me is that I felt the emphasis on green living was a bit preachy at times, but that's because I haven't jumped on that particular bandwagon to the extent the author has. Sometimes going "green" isn't simple even if it is the responsible thing to do.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SewSimple on June 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Having just watched a segment on Good Morning America about author Dominique Browning and her book, Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas, & Found Happiness, I felt compelled to write about the similarities between these two books. (I, too, just lost my job.) Both authors share the same thoughts on life: Reconnecting with family and friends; finding joy in the simple everyday happenings of life that we fail to notice when we are so busy with work, family and extra-curricular activities; and, among much other thought-provoking advice and inspiration, reveling in the joy of giving back or paying it forward. Living simply or loving the slow life is not about living off the grid or forsaking all you own; it's about living in the present and making the most of your life each and every day and not obsessing about what's going to happen in the future. So whether it's Wanda's stories of family and friends and how they overcame tough times or Dominique's memoirs and overcoming her job loss, we all can learn a lesson or two. Enjoy the books.
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The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life
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