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Simple Life: Time, Relationships, Money, God Hardcover – September 1, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thom S. Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the largest Christian resource companies worldwide, and the best-selling coauthor of Simple Church. Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons and live in Nashville, Tennessee.

Art Rainer is a banking professional and freelance writer. He earned his MBA from the University of Kentucky and now lives with his wife, Sarah, near Miami, Florida.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805448861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805448863
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #550,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Gordon Duncan on September 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Simple Life" is the new book from Thom and Art Rainer, and it is definitely not about the exploits of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. It continues the thought and application of the "Simple Church" book from Thom Rainer and Eric Gieger, but here the focus is on cleaning away the clutter of your personal life rather than your congregation's. The book's thesis is simple:

We were not created to have miserable joyless lives. We were created to have abundant and joyful lives. But for most of us, such a life is elusive at best and seemingly impossible at worst.

The book is an analysis of 41 questions asked to 1,077 people. The takeaway was that most people want to simplify their lives in 4 areas: time, relationships with others, money, and their relationship with God. The book's prescription for the simple life is also in quantities of 4. They recommend clarity, movement, alignment, and focus.

Towards that end, and what I see as one of the most profound truths offered in the book, they say this:

What is true in many churches is true in many lives. Activities are replacing purpose. We are so busy doing activities that we are neglecting what really matters. And most of you don't really need this book to address this reality. You already know it...Often activities replace the important matters that help relationships grow.

Having said all that, the book is pretty practical in helping people clear away the activities (even the good ones) that are making their life overly complicated. Each chapter ends with a task or checklist to help you find simplicity in each of the four prescripted areas. Included also are interviews and testimonials with some of the people who have walked the path of simplicity ahead of the reader.
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Format: Hardcover
The Simple Life is a new book by the writing tandem of Thom Rainer and his son Art. Although it shares the same title as the popular television show by the ditzy duo Nichole Richie and Paris Hilton, the premise is a bit different. While the (un)reality show displayed the two girls struggling with jobs, relationships and money in various, fabricated settings, the Rainers' book discusses time, relationships, money and God in real ones.

The two men start their project by interviewing over 1000 people across the country. The stats and the stories are used frequently throughout the book to show how people are unorganized, unfocused, and over-committed. Although I felt the stories often led credence to their claims, I was disappointed the way they handled some numbers that didn't fit their expectations. They admit that they were surprised when only 4 out of 10 Christians in their survey felt it was important to have their children in a weekly worship service. One of the reasons they give is that "some of the self-described Christians are not Christians at all." If they discredit their own study base with this question, then it also should be reflected throughout the book where they do tout the answers of their Christian respondents.

The Rainers' goal is to provide a framework for people to find more freedom and success. They divide their book by each of these four troubled spots (time, relationships, money and God) and write a systematic plan of attack with a chapter each about clarity, movement, alignment and focus. Every chapter ends with application questions and blank lines for the reader to write their own strategy and put it in to action.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Simple Life" explores the struggles that many people nationwide face when trying to simplify their lives and make more time for the really important things (God, family, etc.).

Among the thoughts and topics covered include:

1. Our obession with time has become unhealthy and God is being ignored.
2. Some people fill their days with busy activities as an effort to compensate for an empty life.
3. Meaningful relationships result when we seek the best for others and do not seek to use other people for only our benefit.
4. Our financial conditions usually result from our self-identity.
5. An intentional mission statement with a clearly defined process will help simplify life.
6. Nothing can move the congestion out of our lives like prayer.
7. Embrace who God made you to be and use that to mold your simple life.
8. Summarization of the process for a simple life (clarity, movement, alignment, focus).

The title does contain Bible verses as the foundation on which to build a simple life. "Simple Life" also includes many good points such as those listed above and many others not mentioned.

I would have liked to have seen more specific actions the reader can take to make life more simple. Some good titles come to mind for dealing with this important issue: Freedom Tyranny of the Urgent (Hummel), The Overload Syndrome (Swenson), and Simplify Your Life (Wright). If you are looking for more specific action steps to take, then I recommend these titles.

Still, "Simple Life" is a good read.

Recommended.
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