Originally published in 1981, and began to be called ‘the bible of the simplicity movement’ shortly thereafter, Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin apparently is “not a book about living in poverty, but living with balance. Elgin illuminates the changes that an increasing number of Americans are making in their everyday lives – adjustments in day-to-day living that are an active, positive response to the complex dilemmas of our time. By embracing the tenets of voluntary simplicity – frugal consumption, ecological awareness, and personal growth – people can change their lives and, in the process, save our planet.”
The book was apparently in much need of an update, the ecological landscape has changed much in twenty years, an the author has done much since, including winning the 2006 international Goi Peace Award. It’s a relatively short book, and with two forewords and an introduction to the second edition it gets a little shorter but they do explain the context of the book and sever as a good platform for what is to come.
Split into seven basic chapters it’s an relatively easy read, covering what simplicity really means (in his terms), and the lifestyle choices it can involve. However it’s not the strongest book on the practicalities of making such changes, but provides a thorough understanding of what choices there are.
It’s an interesting book but I’m struggling for more to say about it as it delivers what it offers. The resources section at the end is pretty useful too. Take a look at the latest edition on Amazon.