Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Simple Living Guide

The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living
© 1997 Janet Luhrs
444 pages

Life distracts easily and passes by without being noticed. The Simple Living Guide is written as an antidote, one which both prompts people to think more deeply about their lives -- how the ordinary can take on meaning --  and which provides resources for living an engaged life. After an initial section on inner simplicity, separate sections concern personal finance, food,  health and exercise,  homes, travel, gardening, entertainment,  and so on, with a special section near the end devoted to clearing out clutter. Though distinct, the chapters link together. Each section is laced with real-life examples and book summaries drawn far and wide, and ends with a larger testimonial and list of resources.  The only fly in the ointment, and it is a truly minuscule fly, is the book's datedness: written in 1997, it reminds readers that cell phones are useful, but unnecessary given the widespread availability of phone booths. Ah, but time marches on. The majority of her advice rings as true today as it would been back in those halcyon days, but  a work written this century would have included the revolutionary impact of ubiquitous wireless connections and 'smart' electronics;  her multitude of pages on cheap car-renting strategies is practically moot considering car-sharing services. Luhrs' sections on inner simplicity and personal finance are exceptional, however.

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