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The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life Hardcover – October 30, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1250025562 ISBN-10: 1250025567 Edition: 1st ptg

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The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life + On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st ptg edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250025567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250025562
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,120,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“How to live long and prosper, Hobbit-style. … A life-affirming, must-have morsel for Tolkien’s colossal fan base.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Delves into Middle-earth to show us how Tolkien can instruct us how to live a better life on Regular-earth.”

The Boston Globe

“Smith urges hobbit-wannabes to embrace the original small-is-beautiful lifestyle -- grow your own food, walk everywhere. And sing. ​Even to love Tolkien-style!”

 —USA Today

“A definitive guide to Tolkien’s worldview.”

Wired.com

“A splendidly fun guide to life . . . a constant companion. I'd recommend it to anyone!”

TheHobbitMovie.co.uk

“Previous readers of Tolkien may suddenly crave a reread of their favorite passages (or favorite books!), and those who have never cracked the spine of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings might suddenly have the urge to curl up with one of the books after having read The Wisdom of the Shire.”

Middle-earth News

“Funny, insightful, thought provoking and a thoroughly enjoyable read.”

TheOneRing.net

“For the Tolkien enthusiast, Wisdom of the Shire is a gentle book that will remind you of all the things you love about Tolkien’s work, with practical ways of making them part of your everyday life.”

Amazing Stories

“Smith, a playwright and film producer, shrewdly connects spiritual writing to the popularity of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy work…A fine companion to the Hobbit movies for the fantasy reader or spiritual seeker.”

Library Journal

"Noble Smith reminds us that we can all be as constantly surprising as the Hobbits."

—Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn and the introduction to The Lord of the Rings

“I haven't had too many 'Personal Gollums' in my life but the next time I happen upon one I will take Noble Smith's book out and thumb through it like a manual. My only fear is that I will find someone doing the same thing to figure out how to deal with me. Such a fun book!”

—Ty Burrell, Emmy winning star of Modern Family

“Good books transport us, great books transform us. Noble Smith was clearly transformed by reading J. R. R. Tolkien's classic novels, and this book is the delightful result. It's a humorous but impassioned celebration of enduring values, worthy sacrifices, and simple pleasures. You can't beat that combination, either in the novels or in this irresistible homage.”

—Mark Salzman, author of Iron and Silk

“It is one of history's great ironies that in the creation of The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien - an Oxford Anglo-Saxon professor and one of the least 'hip' inhabitants on earth - gave the revolutionary ‘60s New Age, Back-to-the-Land counter-culture its most celebrated and enduring anti-hero. The Wisdom of the Shire brings us back to essential philosophy of creatures that were – as Tolkien stated – ‘more in touch with “nature,” and abnormally, for humans, free from ambition, greed or wealth.’ Noble Smith takes the reader on a journey of discovery of the Hobbit's 'small is beautiful' philosophy, and dovetails it to today's environmental axiom to 'act locally and think globally'. Smith shows us how the humane principles of the Hobbit philosophy have not only survived the vogue and politics of the sixties, but retain their soundness as the most sensible and sustainable route to true happiness for the 21st Century Everyman.”

—David Day, author of A Tolkien Bestiary and Tolkien: The Illustrated Encyclopedia

 

 

About the Author

NOBLE SMITH is an award-winning playwright who has worked as a video game writer, a documentary film executive producer, and the media director of an international human rights foundation. His novel Sons of Zeus will be published in 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children.


More About the Author

Noble Smith is an award winning playwright who has worked as a video game writer, a documentary film producer and the media director of an international human rights foundation. His non-fiction book The Wisdom of the Shire ("A definitive guide to Tolkien's worldview"--Wired.com) has been translated into 8 languages. His epic action/adventure novel Sons of Zeus (first in The Warrior Trilogy) was published by Thomas Dunne Books June 11th, 2013.

Customer Reviews

I was a bit hesitant that - only having read the books and seen the movies once in my life - I would feel left out.
Gilbert Clarke
There were all the familiar characters and then lots of wonderful insights and tidbits of information that I would have never known if I hadn't read this book.
Rainbow L. Koehl
In The Wisdom of the Shire, author Noble Smith breaks down modern and everyday troubles from the perspective of the hobbits of J.R.R. Tolkien's creation.
Jennifer Brunnings

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mariko Thompson on October 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've read other more serious books about how to be "happy," but this was a fun and quirky romp through the realm of the hobbits with some actually very good ideas that are excellent reminders on how to find the simple joys in life. I found myself thinking about some of the ideas for days after, such as really enjoying one's friends and family, getting enough sleep and good food, and getting into my garden! It also made me want to reread both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. They were due for a revisiting but they've moved up my long list of to-read books. Noble Smith's love and knowledge of all things Tolkien were quite evident, and it will be fun to read them again with some new insight.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tom Pintong on November 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as an advance reading copy in a giveaway.

While it's obviously helpful to know the basic story of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy while reading this to get the references, they are not required to get the life lessons Mr. Smith imparts as "wisdom of the Shire." I want to say I ascribe to almost everything that was suggested or have tried to in the past, which makes me feel a bit like a Hobbit, which is a compliment in my humble estimation.

I've read the actual Tolkien books a number of times, but I find it difficult to remember specifics, so sitting down with this book, reliving the adventures again, and taking the heart the lessons Mr. Smith tries to impart, was liking coming to a very familiar place with a new perspective. I ended up walking over to the bookshelf and started rereading The Hobbit almost immediately after finishing The Wisdom of the Shire.

In reading Peter Beagle's comment that he would buy copies of this book and share them with all his friends, I wish I had the disposable income to do the same. I do know I will share my advance reading copy with a few of my friends who are die-hard Tolkien fans, since I know they will end up going out to buy a copy for themselves for their own bookshelves, not depriving Mr. Smith of any royalties that he deserves for penning an enjoyable, down-to-earth book, with lessons that anyone can take to heart. I'm so glad I got an opportunity to read and review this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Quixotic Magpie on December 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
You know those conversations you have with close friends and family, late at night or on a long car ride, where you start talking about everything and anything? Like the one you might have had with your brother and husband, about what race of character would you be from The Lord of the Rings? Would you be an Elf, a Hobbit, a Dwarf, or a Human? Well, I always thought it would be cool to be an elf in Middle Earth, while my husband and brother always chose Hobbit. I would laugh and ask why. Why Hobbit when the elves had that cool language and had that communion with trees thing and lived in forests? Well, after reading Noble Smith's book, The Wisdom of the Shire, I would like to take back my answer. I would definitely choose Hobbit.

The movement to eat local and organic, to simplify our lives, live in a sustainable and responsible way is huge right now. Thoreau knew it all those years ago, and wrote about it in Walden. But that seemed like a meager and hard existence. It appears Tolkien had a similar idea, but he shaped this idea, warmed it up, made it cozy and homey, and gave this life to the Hobbits in the Shire. Smith interprets this way of life for us, and the when I finished his book, I really wanted to move to the Shire. Although I can't do that, I certainly can take his lessons and apply them to my life.

The Wisdom of the Shire implores us to take more walks, eat local, plant a garden, get enough rest, make your home a refuge, a place filled with love you want to go back to. To "eat like a Brandybuck, and drink like a Took, "with simple, delicious, nourishing food and, yes, beer. Lol. We learn to love like a Hobbit, and about courage and joy. We learn about giving gifts on your birthday instead of receiving.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By OutlawPOV on November 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In The Wisdom Of The Shire, the wonderful ideas that Noble Smith puts forth, gleaned from the ways of the Halflings, bring shelter from the storm of our over-scheduled, over-committed and often under-appreciated lives. We should all be eating, sleeping, walking, talking, reading, gardening, drinking, loving, living, giving and celebrating like Hobbits.

For me, the author has provided a deeper understanding of the works of Tolkien. Something beyond the wonderful characters and astonishing tales. More of an emotional connection to my own life and how I choose to live it. I'm very much looking forward to giving my friends gifts on my next birthday and I can't wait to plant a garden.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By GlobalMoo on November 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Each night before going to bed, I read a chapter of Noble Smith's "The Wisdom of the Shire" and went to sleep with a smile on my face. Not only does this gem of book compile the best of Tolkien's Middle Earth, but offers readers a simple and joyful path to "a long and happy life". The principles underlaying "Wisdom of the Shire" are as universal today as they were when the Hobbit was written (during WWII) and if practiced will assuredly lead to a happier life and a better world. The book is an ideal gift which I plan to give to all my friends and family this holiday season. My advice to you is simple: read it, practice it, give it away, and above all, enjoy it!
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