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Author: Rocannon Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5069  
Subject: Choosing Simplicity - book Date: 8/7/2010 9:16 AM
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Recommendations: 3
A few threads ago, Edlbym recommended the book "Choosing Simplicity" by Linda Breen Pierce:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=28605756

I decided to give it a try. I recently finished it. I'm sorry to say that I did not enjoy it. I figured I'd post my comments here for the record, for anyone who might be tempted to read it. And I mean no offense to Edlbym (or anyone else who enjoyed the book) by posting this review. I'd be happy if anyone would like to post their own positive report on this book. This is just my own view on it, take it with a grain of salt.

The book is based on a survey of 211 people who had chosen to simplify their lives in some ways. The anecdotes are interesting, I give that. But I found most of the stories too sketchy and brief to hold my interest. I've read blogs that were better done, because I like the first person voice, with more details, for these kinds of stories. The book does have the advantage that it accumulates a lot of anecdotes into a single place.

A big turn-off for me is that the book is sprinkled with author commentary, placed in a rectangular box, which takes up a large part of each chapter. I found this distracting and eventually so annoying that I stopped reading them about half way through the book. Probably I should have stopped earlier; I might have enjoyed the book more, if so.

I found the author's "voice" annoying - new-agey spiritual. Her commentary made me feel like she was observing the lives of the people in the study and doing a play-by-play of the choices they made. Further, practically speaking, her comments added no value.

Example: "Sally's work as a live-in nanny is an excellent illustration of a job that supports... a person's true vocations - in this case, Sally's art and spiritual practices...." Or "The Duran homeschooling experience is inspiring. Obviously, homeschooling is not for every family, nor for every child within a particular family. It works best with children who have an innate love of learning...." My gut reaction? Blech! Why not let the people themselves tell their own story and let the reader do their own interpretation?

I also found that too many of the stories involved some kind of spiritual aspect, which was emphasized too much throughout the book. In reading about simplicity, I'm more interested in the practical aspects (how did you handle health insurance? Did you need to take a part-time job? etc). I do read "woo-woo" books but the mix made me gag in this particular treatment.

For comparison, two books that made a big impact on me, which I really enjoyed, were "Your Money or Your Life" and "Die Broke". I read these over 10 years ago, and I should probably read them again.

Rocannon
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