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The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It Hardcover – March 17, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: DK ADULT; 1st edition (March 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789493322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789493323
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"John Seymour, self-sufficiency guru, offers a wealth of ideas to get you started." -- Sentinel

"This book ... will appeal to those seeking simpler and environmentally responsible ways of living ..." -- Library Journal

About the Author

John Seymour is the author of over 40 books, including The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency, The Forgotten Arts and Crafts, and has made numerous movies and radio programs devoted to rural matters, self-sufficiency, and the environment.

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Customer Reviews

This book was written so well and is full of great information.
Alison Waddell
Covering every topic relevant to self-sufficient, sustainable living and farm life, Seymour's classic provides a great way to start a different life.
Daniel L Edelen
I really like this book it covers a lot of different topics regarding self sufficiency.
Steve shady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

608 of 617 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L Edelen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a family that has abandoned the city and suburbs for the countryside, the very presence of a book like John Seymour's "The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It" is enough to inspire fits of joy. A perfect companion to works like Hemenway's "Gaia's Garden" and Mollison's "Permaculture: A Designer's Manual," this book is a must for would-be urbanites fleeing the cities. Covering every topic relevant to self-sufficient, sustainable living and farm life, Seymour's classic provides a great way to start a different life. An update from the venerable mid-Seventies edition of the book, this 2002 release is a fine improvement.
The book has quite a bit going for it:
1. Beautifully made, illustrated and laid-out, this book is meant to last and be used readily and often. Typical Dorling Kindersley quality.
2. An eye-friendly typeface and bright, semi-gloss pages make this easy reading.
3. The shear breadth of the information here is outstanding. Packed into 306 letter-sized pages are the following chapters:
*The Meaning of Self-Sufficiency
*Food from the Garden
*Food from Animals
*Food from the Fields
*Food from the Wild
*In the Dairy
*In the Kitchen
*Brewing & Wine-making
*Energy & Waste
*Crafts & Skills
*Things You Need to Know
4. Good specifics on all the categories of info listed above. You should be able to get started on your way to being people of the soil. Need to know how to kill, gut, and prepare your cattle? It's in here. Got a hankering to get off the electrical grid altogether? Helpful windmill buying advice is here. Can't tell rye from barley? You will after reading this book.
5.
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270 of 274 people found the following review helpful By Big Italian on October 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is very good. The information is extremely usefull. All potential customers shoud however know that "The Sel-Sufficient Life, and How To Live It" is identical to the book"The New complete book of Self Sufficiency" by the same author. While I would highly recomend this book do not order both books. Except for a few words changed in the intro and the preface the books are the same, page for page and chapter for chapter.
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183 of 186 people found the following review helpful By Coolwetplace on August 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book with great illustrations ... Simple yet detailled, practical yet principled. John Seymour has got a great good grasp of the ecological principles that SHOULD inform gardening and farming (what comes out must go back in).
In his other writings, Jonathan Seymour has a streak of anti-urbanism that I don't like--I don't share his view that cities are unnatural, diseased places. But he seems to have overcome it here with a description of urban gardens, limited-scale self-sufficiency and the like. This book lets you pick and choose; if you want to grow wheat on five acres, harrow, harvest, thresh and grind it yourself, that's fine. On the other hand, if you live on a half-acre lot and just want to set up a backyard garden, a compost pile and maybe a beehive, this book will also show you how.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By J. Martini on April 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book that teaches you everything you want to know about living the self-sufficient life (hence, the name of the book). I am a retired Navy guy and settled down for some country living with my wife and two boys and this book just opened up my eyes to how much I truly don't know about living on a farm. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to get back to basics. Word of warning when thinking about buying more of John Seymour's books, two of his titles are exactly the same on the inside, only the covers are different. Why he did that, I do not know. The books are "The NEW complete book of SELF-SUFFICIENCY" (The classic guide for realists and dreamers) and the other is "Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It" (The Complete Back-to-Basics Guide) These are the exact same books, don't waste your money on both like I did! Happy Reading!
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397 of 444 people found the following review helpful By trader Mike on June 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was disapointed by this book. The book is written totally from the context of living in England. The author is a very poor communicator, he reminds me of an intellectual trying to explain how to farm with poetry and quotes from his vast knowledge of classic books.

I have been farming now for a few years and have some experience growing my own corn, vegatables etc.. I also raise catttle and horses. (I am also a licensed Vet in Texas) This author does not know what he is talking about on alot of animal husbandry issues and I see alot of ridiculous nonsense in his teachings of growing crops vegetables etc..

To make a long story short, if you live in the U.S. don't buy this book, it is really awful. There is a far better book...."The encyclopedia of country living" by Carla Emery
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Willow Polson on January 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
No book can be all things to all people, but this one is pretty darn close. I've been a homesteader off and on for 25 years, and I've bought a lot of books, but this one is the best I've found.

Lavishly illustrated in full color, this DK book includes plenty of information for the beginner as well as the more experienced back-to-the-lander. My husband and I especially love the 1-Acre Plan and 5-Acre Plan, well illustrated with how the land should be divided up for maximum fertility and efficiency. We really like the instructions for sheep shearing which are half the work of what the Storey Guide tells you to attempt! We also enjoy the author's sense of humor and sense of what's important (and rejection of what's overemphasized in modern society). There is so much information in here that there's no way to absorb it in one sitting -- it's an extremely interesting and well-illustrated encyclopedia of self-sufficient living and an essential addition to your homestead library.

The only negatives are that it's written from a British perspective (some of the circumstances and animals are different here in the US) and that it isn't truly a 100% complete guide for all homesteaders wanting all information about everything related to rural living. But as I said before, what book can be? This one comes very, very close, and before long you'll find that it's becoming dog-eared and marked, smudged with garden soil, splashed with recipe ingredients, and worn in very nicely like a comfortable pair of practical shoes.
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