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Summary

This book explores ideas around minimalism, simplicity, and how to live comfortably with less.

The modern world can be a complicated, frenzied, and noisy place, filled with too many options, products, ideas and opinions. That explains why what many of us long for is simplicity: a life that can be more pared down, peaceful, and focused on the essentials.

But finding simplicity is not always easy; it isn’t just a case of emptying out our closets or trimming back commitments in our diaries. True simplicity requires that we understand the roots of our distractions – and develop a canny respect for the stubborn reasons why things can grow complex and overwhelming.

This book is a guide to the simpler lives we crave and deserve. It considers how we might achieve simplicity across a range of areas. Along the way, we learn about Zen Buddhism, modernist architecture, monasteries, psychoanalysis, and why we probably don’t need more than three good friends or a few treasured belongings.

It isn’t enough that our lives should look simple; they need to be simple from the inside. This book takes a psychological approach, guiding us towards less contorted hearts and minds. We have for too long been drowning in excess and clutter from a confusion about our aspirations. A Simpler Life helps us tune out the static and focus on what properly matters to us.

©2022 The School of Life (P)2022 The School of Life

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Non-intuitive wisdom

There are a million books on downsizing and leading a simpler life (which in itself is ironic). They are often terrible (eg overwrought, self-promoting rubbish is how I would describe one self-help best seller of the last five years), or are statements of the obvious. This short, simple book is different in that it does an excellent job of defining the problems to be solved; describing the negative effects of those problems; and, proposing (often surprising) ideas for solving said problems. I particularly enjoyed the non-intuitive nature of some of the solutions, eg reading less, and travelling less. Whether you agree with the solutions of not, they certainly gave me food for thought.

As for the narration…. the sweet, almost child-like voice of the beautiful, talented, young British actress is spoiled by her use of the Ross Kemp method (U.K. actor and TV presenter) for this narration. Ie sentences being turned into three sentences so that Every. Second. Or third. Word. Can be. Emphasised. Argh… Whatever happened to actors breathing so they can say a whole sentence in one go?

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Brilliant, thank you

A giant hug of consolation, lifts weights away and leaves simplicity in it's wake.

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Good concept but .... cannot summary in 1 line.

Good concept but .... cannot summary in 1 line.
A bit got bored on the way and I found a repetition piece taken over from another Skool of life book.

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Moving, insightful, thought provoking

The school of life has once again reframed my opinion on many areas such as travel, materialism and work. This book encourages us to do the difficult, but necessary questioning behind our reasoning and goals. I intend to revisit this book periodically, to know it well.

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  • Tonya Kubo
  • 12-02-22

Bite-size practical tips for a better life

Simplicity might be uncomplicated but that doesn't make it easy. In this book, you're bound to find a dozen or so ideas to simplify your life so you can achieve greater clarity on what matters to you most and feel at peace when working toward it.
As someone who battles clutter in all aspects of life -- in my head, heart and home -- I found several useful tidbits in this book, especially the section on living like a monk. The idea of focusing on a few things that last and minimizing the need to think too much about what I wear or what I do is appealing. It's not about deprivation, it's about making space for the things that really matter -- like freeing up time and energy to solve bigger problems with greater impact.
I enjoyed the narration and listened to the whole book in the car while running errands over the course of a day. It's one I'll listen to again.

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