November 7, 2014

Simple Living In History

“This book highlights how rethinking our attitudes and behaviour toward consumption can be a fruitful pathway to social and ecological harmony.”  - David Holmgren
Simplicity has always been practiced by humanity. For 99% of our existence it has been the preferred mode of living on our finite planet.

It has only been the last few decades that extreme materialism has been touted as the best way to achieve happiness. This in spite of knowing for thousands of years the appropriateness of living simply.

The accumulated knowledge of appropriate living on Earth was recognized recently when The Simplicity Institute published a book called Simple Living In History: Pioneers of The Deep Future.

After receiving an email from the Institute I previewed the book. The Table of Contents sent me immediately to our public library website to see if it was in the collection. Unfortunately it wasn't, so I will be recommending it to their book buyers.


Preface by the Editors, Samuel Alexander and Amanda McLeod

by David Shi

1. BUDDHA - Peter Doran

2. DIOGENES - William Desmond

3. ARISTOTLE - Jerome Segal

4. EPICURUS - Michael Augustin

5. THE STOICS - Dirk Baltzly

6. JESUS - Simon Ussher


8. THE QUAKERS - Mark Burch

9. THE AMISH - Steven Nolt

10. HENRY THOREAU - Samuel Alexander

11. JOHN RUSKIN - David Craig

12. WILLIAM MORRIS - Sara Wills

13. GANDHI - Whitney Sanford

14. DITCHLING VILLAGE - William Fahey

15. THE AGRARIANS - Allan Carlson

16. THE NEARINGS - Amanda McLeod

17. IVAN ILLICH - Marius de Geus

18. JOHN SEYMOUR - Amanda McLeod


20. RADICAL HOMEMAKING - Shannon Hayes


22. PERMACULTURE - Albert Bates

23. TRANSITION TOWNS - Samuel Alexander and Esther Alloun

24. DEGROWTH - Serge Latouche

25. THE SIMPLER WAY - Ted Trainer

26. MINDFULNESS - Mark Burch

Each chapter of Simple Living In History is an essay about the person or movement indicated. It reflects the recent history (the past couple thousand years) of right living on our fragile planet even though our experience of living simply goes back hundreds of thousands of years to our origins.

Talk about a simple living study list - the Table of Contents alone gets me going. Awesome for future research, but I am going to see if I can get my frugal hands on a volume of this book.

Simplicity has been the way of the past, and will be the way of the future. Therefore a book like Simple Living In History becomes an important collection of applied knowledge to guide us into our sustainable future.

Simple Living in History challenges the mentality of waste and extravagance that defines modern industrial lifestyles, reminding us that the answers we need have been here all along, waiting for us to notice them.”   
- John Michael Greer


  1. Oh dear, told myself I would not be buying any more books this month! But I can see getting this. I am a sucker for book buying.... Your site is called "Not buying it". I feel I am rather breaking the spirit of this! Frances.

    1. Frances,

      What if buying this book causes you to live more simply than ever before? Then buying it would be a net gain of simplicity. After you read it you could lend it out to friends, or donate it to you public library if they do not already have a copy.

  2. Well, there must be a reason this keeps popping up in the right-hand side bar every time I visit. I am telling myself it is a sign. Book should arrive in the post on Wednesday. You can never have too many books that are postive affirmations, right? Mela

  3. Only three chapters left. Going to put it aside for awhile because I don't want it to end...


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