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The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life Hardcover – October 30, 2012
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“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 was published in 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Students of Tolkien will especially like The Wisdom of the Shire as references to Tolkien's Hobbits and their way of life are the premise of the book. Smith tells us how to overcome the angst created by our 21st century lives by adopting a lifestyle that is not concerned with the latest fads and styles but one that provides inner peace and contentment. Rather than driving ourselves to a nervous breakdown via the ravenous consumption of 3rd rate goods that (eventually) clog our landfills, Smith implores us to find happiness in a quiet and unassuming way. By using the lifestyles of the Hobbits (not the rich and famous) Smith shows us how making our own "stuff" and growing our own food brings us not only enjoyment but physical, mental and emotional health. Good food and drink, the company of good friends and family in a comfortable home is a better way to achieve inner peace and contentment.
I am not a devotee of Tolkien's works. I read The Hobbit after college but stalled half way through the first chapter of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a lifetime Tolkien lover and a frequent "why can't I just be a Hobbit" asker, this book was everything I could ask for. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
As sometimes happens, you discuss a book with a friend and begin to wonder if they've read the same book.
There are some interesting tidbits of information, but... Read more
Oh.My.Goodness. A new favorite for my personal library. This book is not so overwhelmingly "LOTR/Hobbit" culture that someone 'outside the loop' wouldn't enjoy it, and it... Read morePublished 7 months ago by P. C. Nepean
First of all, this book doesn't answer any of "life's essential questions", and positioning it as a self-help book based on Tolkien's works is kind of disingenuous. Read morePublished 18 months ago by J. Jayroe
I love this book. Worth reading and re-reading. This book gives in depth insight into the qualities of the LOTR characters and compares them to the way we should all try to be to... Read morePublished 24 months ago by J. K. Swoboda
This book is beautifully written, funny, and full of lovely wisdom. It manages to dole out good advice without sounding even remotely preachy or cheesy. Read morePublished on June 17, 2014 by teadrinker
I enjoyed this short book, read unabridged by Simon Vance. The wisdom of the Shire (and the rest of Middle Earth) is well presented and I learned a few tidbits that I didn't... Read morePublished on June 1, 2014 by Amy Nicolai
Noble Smith's "The Wisdom of the Shire" is a sweet book with short riffs on the sage advice from the beloved furry-footed characters of J.R.R. Tolkien's stories. Read morePublished on May 23, 2014 by Rob Fitzgibbon