Thursday, February 14, 2013

The heart of simple living: 7 paths to a better life
By Wanda Urbanska

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
I did not know Wanda Urbanska, have little background regarding the whole “simple living” idea, and do not live (nor desire to live) the “simple life” by any stretch of the imagination. Then why did I select this book to review, you might wonder?

First, I enjoy discovering new things.  I thought there was a chance that my mind would be opened to a new revelation, a fresh insight, or even a vibrant point of view.  Maybe, too, there would be room in the “simple living” panorama, for a small little bush like myself!

Second, Urbanska is the author or coauthor of eight books, is the host/producer of a syndicated public television series, possesses an attractive publishing record (The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Mother Earth News, American Libraries, and Natural Home), and is a graduate of Harvard University.  I actually thought she might have something to say.

Third, I thought that in the discussions of her topics, she might offer some new insights or suggestions.  She covers such topics as financial independence, work, housing happiness, homemaking, kitchen and garden work, as well as community living.

For someone just starting out in life—with very little real-life experience—this might be a convenient place to begin discovering what life is all about.  Also, for someone who has done little or no reading on any of these subjects, this book might serve as a primer to get you started.  It covers the basics.

I was quite disappointed overall.  I found Urbanska had little new to say.  Her ideas have been well (thoroughly) discussed in other places — as well as in newspaper and magazine articles.  This book has been drawn from other popular books as well as websites that anyone can quickly find.  Also, it has been drawn from Urbanska’s wealth of common knowledge.  Most of these ideas are simple, and one would discover them quickly from one’s daily experiences.

If all you are looking for is a delightful read, this is a good book.  If you want depth, you won’t find it here.  If you want to avoid your own common sense (or add only minimally to it!), this would be a good resource as well.  I found the book rather trite and unnecessary.

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