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The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living Paperback – November 3, 1997


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The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living + Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century + Early Retirement Extreme: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st edition (November 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553067966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553067965
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Janet Luhrs provides a thoughtful and practical guide to simplifying our busy lives. Luhrs stresses that living simply is not about being frugal, living on a tight budget, or a modest income. Rather, living simply is being fully aware of what you're doing and why you're doing it. Luhrs demonstrates through many real-life examples how you can redesign your life and learn to savor every moment.

From Library Journal

Editor and publisher of the Simple Living Journal, Luhrs has collated a valuable, comprehensive sourcebook of practical wisdom and inspiration for paring down life in order to live it to the fullest. Issues such as money, housing, work, health, nutrition, and travel are explored with a goal of "voluntary simplicity," favoring deliberate life choices over blind consumption and compulsion. A well-balanced combination of philosophical reflection, real-life anecdotes, practical strategies, and annotated reading lists make this a good addition for most public libraries.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I like this book because it puts everything in perspective of what one can do just to live simply.
mediaagent
This is one great book chock full of so many helpful tips on how to make your life more simple and the rationale for doing so.
Liora Hess
I checked out a copy of this book from the library (I was already frugal, before buying the book!)
Sarah L. Wesch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 119 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this wonderful, inspiring book, Janet Luhrs provides myriad ideas for and insight into how simplifying your life can help you shift gears or even start over from scratch. The book offers loads of practical advice about how to implement changes in your life and escape the cycle of work, consumption, debt, and stress.
The author states at the outset that the book provides a variety of options for those interested in simplifying. Some of these options--like living off the grid or on a boat--will appeal to only a small number of people. However, the great stories from real people's lives do make you think about your job, house, and possessions and how you could streamline. Most of the suggestions (e.g., improving eating and exercising habits and better managing money and time) can be implemented by anyone.
I recently read Elaine St. James's Living the Simple Life and found it wanting and often impractical--foregoing sunglasses and wearing only three colors of clothing are not helpful suggestions to me! This book also focuses solely on the changes St. James and her husband made, with little mention of the wide spectrum of alternative approaches.
Luhrs's book differs by providing a vast array of resources, in addition to using life stories to outline approaches that folks have successfully employed to create more time, less stress, and more joy in their lives.
Buy this book and take from it the inspiration to help you realize who you really are!
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410 of 438 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on March 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, if you haven't read "Your Money or Your Life" already, just click over. That's the classic, the essential, and this is just an accessory. That's why there's 4 stars here: just to distinguish this from that. This book is for those continuing in simplicity, not getting started. If you read the negative reviews, I think you can tell that they started in the wrong place, and that some of them misunderstood "simplicity."

I am not the typical "voluntary simplicity" guy. VS is not about living on $2/day. It's about financial awareness and choices. I've thought about it, and I want to look like I spent about a thousand dollars getting dressed everyday.

But that requires choices, since I don't make $365,000 annually. Not, um, quite. That's what "simplicity" taught me. I don't need to buy an espresso machine, a blender, a dishwaher, a microwave, an MP3 player, or a car. My mobile phone is a dinosaur. I buy the cheapest coffee when my friends and I go to a coffee shop. When we go to a bar, I drink slowly, and thus less (but I buy good beer). I often buy used books, and they look better on the shelf anyway. I do my own laundry, and shine my own shoes. I work out at home rather than buy a gym membership. I eat fruit for lunch. I don't have children, and won't for a long time--the implicit trade-off: I might not live to see grandchildren. I prefer to make my dates dinner and rent a movie rather than go out. I bought my couch used, but it is far more romantic than a theater! And I am no chef, but I can whip up a tiramisu. The VS movement has certainly made me more romantic. I'd like a bigger apartment, but....

On the other hand, I have handmade Italian shoes, wool jackets, silk ties and satin sheets.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By StalkingGhostBear on October 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
We dream of a good life, one that is not cluttered by mounting stress, by deadlines, by worries about money. We dream of a more fulfilling way to live. Unfortunately simple living is an art that one probably never truly achieves, but I think journey is far more important than the goal itself. "The Simple Living Guide" is a guide to beginning your own journey to a simpler and more fulfilling life. While the book can be read as a whole, cover to cover, it seems to read best when broken down into its individual chapters. The reader is invited to begin their process of simplification where and when they are ready leaving other area for later. I began my journey three years ago dealing with the clutter that I, and so many other Americans, gather around ourselves for no other reason than it is expected to have more than we need. Cleaning and exorcising my home of useless kitchen appliances, clothes I could no longer wear, and knick knacks pretending to be works of art was a painful process but one made easier by Ms. Luhrs book. Cleaning out my home led me to simplify my budget, and then to simplify my leisure activities, and most recently to simplify my career.
Ms. Luhrs presents us with the fact that simplifying is a process. One cannot just simplify one area of life and call it good. Every time you change and improve one area it radiates and effects every other area of your life. For example once you start simplifying your budget to save money it leads you to question how you spend your time, where you live, your quality of life, even the birthday gifts you give.
The entire book is written in a warm, personal manner, often if feels as if one is having a conversation with the author rather than reading text.
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105 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Virginia Lore on July 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Janet Luhrs brings her experience as the editor of Simple Living: The Journal of Voluntary Simplicity to the Simple Living Guide. Over 400 pages, this compendium of ideas for "less stressful, more joyful living" is heavy on the many philosophical ideas that fall under the simple living umbrella. In 14 topical chapters ranging from Money to Virtues Luhrs balances her occasionally redundant reflections with sidebars highlighting case studies, offering tips, and providing the nuts & bolts how-to's. Some of these are tremendously helpful and/or interesting. For example, in the chapter on Simple Pleasures and Romance, there is an article by Kirk S. Nevin about his family's decision to live without electricity or plumbing; and the chapter on Inner Simplicity includes a very practical article on dealing with insomnia.
Other sidebars are less helpful, more a mish-mash of 12-step generalisms, such as Luhrs' list of the 28 secrets to happiness, including "get organized," "be humble" and "learn from the past, plan for the future, and live in the present".
My two primary criticisms are that most of the ideas in this book are available elsewhere (see The Tightwad Gazette or Your Money or Your Life) and that some ideas aren't included. There is almost nothing here about permaculture, for example, and very little attempt at introducing serious or radical sustainability.
This book is a great primer for people who may have never encountered simple living philosophies before; however, those steeped in an already-intentional lifestyle will find little here that is new.
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