Simple Prosperity

By David Wann (St. Martin’s Press, 2007)

It’s one thing to say the best things in life are free, but it’s a lot more helpful when someone describes which of those things delivers the most bang for the unspent buck. In Simple Prosperity, sustainability expert David Wann (co-creator of the PBS documentary Affluenza) outlines a philosophy of simple living that shows how tightening our belts can have ample rewards, from improving our relationships and physical wellness to easing our impact on an increasingly fragile planet. Wann explains how we can draw surprising abundance from a host of underappreciated personal and public assets, like time, good health, relationships, community, and “natural capital” like solar and wind resources. Less of a how-to guide than a demonstration of how satisfying a simpler life can be, the book inspires us to take action (through “right-sizing,” backyard gardening and the like) and to get more fulfillment from creative projects, relationships and meaningful work. If you’re wondering what upsides there might be to a down economy, or how you can begin to create a richer, more rewarding life for yourself and your family, you’ll find plenty of interesting and actionable ideas here.

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