10 books like The Overspent American

By Juliet B. Schor,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Overspent American. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Walden

By Henry David Thoreau,

Book cover of Walden: or, Life in the Woods

In 1845 Thoreau built a small cabin on land owned by his friend, the philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, and conducted a two-year experiment in simple living. Walden is his account of this experiment. It's a hard book to summarize since, although quite short, it combines memoir, philosophical reflection, natural history, and social commentary. But it is beautifully written, and it has been an inspiration to countless readers who, like Thoreau, believe that we can deepen our experience of life by drawing closer to what is natural and elemental, reducing our dependency on things and, at least for a time, on other people. The book is required reading for anyone who delights in nature, is sympathetic to a philosophy of simple living, and who, like Thoreau, wishes "to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

Walden

By Henry David Thoreau,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Walden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Henry David Thoreau is considered one of the leading figures in early American literature, and Walden is without doubt his most influential book.

Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.

It recounts the author's experiences living in a small house in the woods around Walden Pond near Concord in Massachusetts. Thoreau constructed the house himself, with the help of a few friends, to see if he could live 'deliberately' - independently and apart from society. The…


A Guide to the Good Life

By William B. Irvine,

Book cover of A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

This book is solely responsible for hooking me on Stoic philosophy, prompting my deep exploration of practical aspects of life in my own book and, most importantly, the application of them to my daily life. William’s writing is easy to follow, and his advice is very practical. I’d advise you to start reading the book from chapter four; and then when you are done with the book, come back to the first three chapters.

A Guide to the Good Life

By William B. Irvine,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Guide to the Good Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives.

In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using…


How Much Is Enough?

By Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky,

Book cover of How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life

Philosophies of simple living are often addressed primarily to the individuals who is seeking happiness. This is largely true, for instance, of both Epicureanism and Stoicism. How Much Is Enough? shows how the questions raised by such philosophies also bear on the economic policies and political culture of rich, modernized societies. The basic argument of the book is that it is foolish for these societies to strive for endless economic growth. They are already wealthy enough to provide the basic conditions of the good life for all their citizens, including a radical reduction in the hours that people need to work. But this isn't happening because capitalism continually inflames people's misguided desire for more stuff and higher status. So the machine just keeps on pointlessly creating desires while plutocrats keep creaming off the wealth of society which could otherwise be distributed more equitably and more rationally. The book offers a…

How Much Is Enough?

By Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Much Is Enough? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A provocative and timely call for a moral approach to economics, drawing on philosophers, political theorists, writers, and economists from Aristotle to Marx to Keynes

   What constitutes the good life? What is the true value of money? Why
do we work such long hours merely to acquire greater wealth? These
are some of the questions that many asked themselves when the
financial system crashed in 2008. This book tackles such questions
head-on.  
   The authors begin with the great economist John Maynard Keynes.
In 1930 Keynes predicted that, within a century, per capita income
would steadily rise, people’s basic needs would…


The Complete Tightwad Gazette

By Amy Dacyczyn,

Book cover of The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle

This is an entirely different kind of book to those listed above. From 1990 to 1996 Amy Dacyczyn, a self-styled "frugal zealot," put out a monthly newsletter, The Tightwad Gazette. It contained all sorts of tips, tricks, strategies, and advice on how to pinch pennies. This book brings all her articles together in a single volume. For anyone committed to living simply–which usually means living cheaply–it is a goldmine. True, not all her recommendations met with my family's approval: mixing real maple syrup 50-50 with fake maple syrup received multiple thumbs down. But browsing through it is great fun, and on almost any page you'll find a salutary reminder of how you could be more frugal. And as we all know, frugality is associated with wisdom and with happiness.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

By Amy Dacyczyn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Tightwad Gazette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At last—the long-awaited complete compendium of tightwad tips for fabulous frugal living!

In a newsletter published from May 1990 to December 1996 as well as in three enormously successful books, Amy Dacyczyn established herself as the expert of economy. Now The Complete Tightwad Gazette brings together all of her best ideas and thriftiest thinking into one volume, along with new articles never published before in book format. Dacyczyn describes this collection as "the book I wish I'd had when I began my adult life." Packed with humor, creativity, and insight, The Complete Tightwad Gazette includes hundreds of tips for anyone…


Digital Gold

By Nathaniel Popper,

Book cover of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money

Digital Gold is a masterful telling of the history of Bitcoin, written with an incredible amount of detail, scope, and passion. Nathaniel Popper, who was a New York Times journalist at the time he wrote the book, showcased his reporting chops by following the early pioneers who helped Bitcoin succeed in its early tumultuous days. I learned about the fascinating people who were attracted to the first successful Internet money as well as what the technology meant and how it changed the world.

Digital Gold

By Nathaniel Popper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Digital Gold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age.

Digital Gold is New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper's brilliant and engrossing history of Bitcoin, the landmark digital money and financial technology that has spawned a global social movement.

The notion of a new currency, maintained by the computers of users around the world, has been the butt of many jokes, but that has not stopped…


The Year of Less

By Cait Flanders,

Book cover of The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

In this beautifully written and painfully honest memoir, the author gives up buying anything but consumables for a year. During that year, she realizes the treadmill of consumerism had kept her stuck and unhappy. Working to live, living to work. She dives deep into the cycles of spending, debt, and regret and realizes how often she had turned to spending, food, and booze to avoid feeling her feelings. 

Not only did Cait’s journey remind me so much of my own in my 20’s. Spending money I didn’t have to make myself feel better about things I couldn’t change about myself, all the while ignoring the things I could change, she also reminded me of so many of my clients. Hoping that the stuff they buy will fix their problems.

The Year of Less

By Cait Flanders,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Year of Less as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New in paperback: Millennial blogger recounts her yearlong shopping ban in a memoir that inspires readers to radically simplify their own lives and redefine what it means to have, and be, "enough."

In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy--only keeping her from meeting her goals--she decided to…


Stuffocation

By James Wallman,

Book cover of Stuffocation: Why We've Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever

A large part of our environmental issues, including climate change, arises from the massive amount of materials needed for our consumption habits (and the resulting waste when we tire of our things). And we all consume a lot! James Wallman’s thesis is that both we and the environment would be better off if, instead of buying things, we had experiences. Experiences often (though not always, I might add—flying to your experiences is problematic) engender less material consumption and, topping it off, tend to make us happier and stay with us longer.

Stuffocation

By James Wallman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stuffocation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stuffocation is a movement manifesto for “experiential” living, a call to arms to stop accumulating stuff and start accumulating experiences, and a road map for a new way forward with the potential to transform our lives.

Reject materialism. Embrace experientialism. Live more with less.
 
Stuffocationis one of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century. We have more stuff than we could ever need, and it isn’t making us happier. It’s bad for the planet. It’s cluttering up our homes. It’s making us stressed—and it might even be killing us.
 
A rising number of us are already turning our backs…


A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

By Sarah Lazarovic,

Book cover of A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

This tiny gem of a book was born when Lazarovic decided to go on a shopping diet and paint the things she coveted instead of buying them. In the first half of her wonderfully illustrated and hand-lettered book, she explains her evolution from “I want it” child, to mall-rat teen to coming of age in the age of fast fashion. She chronicles her clothes, her awakening to the downsides of late-stage capitalism, and ends with several wise tips to help slow our consumption. A dynamo of a political pill wrapped in utterly playful confection of art and humor. One thing I do not regret buying is this book!

A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy

By Sarah Lazarovic,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Like most people, Sarah Lazarovic covets beautiful things. But rather than giving in to her impulse to spend and acquire, Sarah spent a year painting the objects she wanted to buy instead. Based on a visual essay that was first published on The Hairpin, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy is a beautiful and witty take on the growing 'slow shopping' movement. Sarah is a well-known blogger and illustrator, and she writes brilliantly without preaching or guilt-tripping. Whether she's trying to justify the purchase of yet another particleboard IKEA home furnishing, debating the pros and cons of…


The More of Less

By Joshua Becker,

Book cover of The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own

This is the book for people who want to truly embrace minimalism. Becker offers a spiritual approach to living with less, and really knows how to motivate his readers to slow down, live deliberately, be grateful, and donate generously. Even tips on staying out of debt. It will affect many aspects of your life, not just organizing. You simply feel like a better person after reading his book!

The More of Less

By Joshua Becker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The More of Less as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don’t Settle for More
 
Most of us know we own too much stuff. We feel the weight and burden of our clutter, and we tire of cleaning and managing and organizing.
 
While excess consumption leads to bigger houses, faster cars, fancier technology, and cluttered homes, it never brings happiness. Rather, it results in a desire for more. It redirects our greatest passions to things that can never fulfill. And it distracts us from the very life we wish we were living.
 
Live a better life with less.
 
In The More of Less, Joshua Becker helps you...
 
• Recognize the life-giving…


Consuming Religion

By Kathryn Lofton,

Book cover of Consuming Religion

If you want to understand how corporations and not churches became the most powerful institutions of moral influence in America, capable of taking away an employee's personal choice outside the workplace and denying their access to healthcare based on the owners’ biblical beliefs, legally protected by the U.S. government as a religious freedom, then you need to read this book.

Consuming Religion

By Kathryn Lofton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Consuming Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What are you drawn to like, to watch, or even to binge? What are you free to consume, and what do you become through consumption? These questions of desire and value, Kathryn Lofton argues, are at bottom religious questions. Whether or not you have been inside of a cathedral, a temple, or a seminary, you live in the frame of religion. In eleven essays exploring soap and office cubicles, Britney Spears and the Kardashians, corporate culture and Goldman Sachs, Lofton shows the conceptual levers of religion in thinking about social modes of encounter, use, and longing. Wherever we see people…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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