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Voluntary Simplicity Second: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2006

    Not at all what I expected

    This book came highly recommended as a seminal work in simple living. My interests in this way of life were grounded in self-sufficiency, rejection of consumerism, and a general 'take nothing, leave nothing' kind of attitude toward life. What I found in this book was a manual by and for the political left. The author tells us over and over again that voluntary simplicity can mean many things to many people, and that it is entirely up to the individual to discover what it means for them. This is always followed up by the reader being told that people who live in this way 'tend to' reject all violence, take a keen interest in human rights and feminism, boycott companies whose practices they find to be unethical, and use the time saved by living simply to volunteer at the local homeless shelter. The gap between rich and poor is bemoaned constantly. 'Spaceship Earth' and the brotherhood and goodness of all human beings are mentioned more than once. The author states if we all (meaning the West, presumably) would just engage in voluntary simplicity, everyone on the planet could enjoy the material comforts of the middle class. Followed to its logical conclusion, it's Elgin's opinion that if we just consumed less, all the tyrannies in the world would fall away, corrupt dictatorships would cease being corrupt, and people would stop strapping bombs to themselves. Evil would die. This man's naivete is staggering. Wrap all this up with a thread of vague, pseudo-Zen Buddhist nonsense, and you have Voluntary Simplicity. Essentially, non-liberals need not apply. I was lead to believe that this was a how-to guide for a more efficient personal way of life, but all it is is more feel-good theories and outright indoctrination.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2000


    There are a number of books about frugality and simplicity and these rates right at the top of them. The ideas and practical and the concepts really help give strength to your personal decisions about the life you want to live.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 4, 2011

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    Posted September 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2011

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