The most recommended books on simple living

Who picked these books? Meet our 19 experts.

19 authors created a book list connected to simple living, and here are their favorite simple living books.
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Book cover of The Cottage Fairy Companion: A Cottagecore Guide to Slow Living, Connecting to Nature, and Becoming Enchanted Again

Kayla Lobermeier Author Of The Cottagecore Baking Book: 60 Sweet and Savory Bakes for Simple, Cozy Living

From my list on cozy cottagecore books to help you romanticize your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love and passion for embracing a cozy and romantic view of life is so strong that I built my entire business around it! I am a recipe developer, cookbook author, and content creator. My unique take on cooking and baking is by adding touches of fantasy, cottagecore, and history into my recipes and other creative work. This has led me to write all about living a more cozy lifestyle for the last 10 years! Romanticizing my life with the cottagecore aesthetic is how I find joy and comfort in a chaotic world, and I hope that can inspire others to embrace living their own magical lives!

Kayla's book list on cozy cottagecore books to help you romanticize your life

Kayla Lobermeier Why did Kayla love this book?

By Paola Merrill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Cottagecore Inspired Guide for Mindful Living Anywhere

"This book presents an easy entry point for readers interested in exploring mindfulness and the cottagecore lifestyle." -Library Journal review

#1 Best Seller in Small Homes & Cottages, Folkcrafts, Architectural Decoration and Ornaments, Fiber Arts & Textiles, Seasonal Crafts, Architecture, Home Design Decorating & Design

The Cottage Fairy Companion is your accessible and beautiful guide to mindful living. It teaches the fundamentals of cottagecore style through the practices of The Cottage Fairy's daily life.

Romanticize your life anywhere. Open your eyes to the everyday magic right in front of you. Gain a…


Book cover of Walden: Life in the Woods

Lawrence Winkler Author Of Orion's Cartwheel

From my list on becoming the hero of your own myth.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is no quality of life without meaning, and there is no better meaning than the search for it. The Vision Quest has been a beacon of hope for me my entire life. It permeates all my aspirations and writing. It inspired me to hitchhike worldwide for five years and continued into my professional life. I hope you enjoy the selections.

Lawrence's book list on becoming the hero of your own myth

Lawrence Winkler Why did Lawrence love this book?

I first read this book at M.I.T., and it changed my outlook on life and its meaning. On odd weekends, I would drive out to his pond and stare at the lake to restore my own natural balance.

It is true that Thoreau was not as self-sufficient as he wished us to believe, but his lesson of mindfulness is a gift of Zen. I have emulated him my whole life and live on my own pond, Westwood Lake, where I’ve written my own chronicles of the seasons.

By Henry David Thoreau,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


Book cover of Minimalism for Families: Practical Minimalist Living Strategies to Simplify Your Home and Life

Brittany Polat Author Of Tranquility Parenting: A Guide to Staying Calm, Mindful, and Engaged

From my list on finding your bliss as a parent.

Why am I passionate about this?

I strongly believe that anyone who is willing to reflect thoughtfully on life can make progress toward inner peace and contentment. I have pursued my lifelong interest in human development first through a Ph.D. in applied linguistics (with a focus on individual differences in second language development) and then through the study of Stoic moral psychology and philosophy. These days I have ample opportunity to study human nature in the best laboratory of all: parenthood!

Brittany's book list on finding your bliss as a parent

Brittany Polat Why did Brittany love this book?

Maybe you’ve heard of minimalism. It’s a way of life that helps you shed all the stuff you don’t need in your life so you can focus on the people, activities, and priorities that bring you joy. But is it possible to be a minimalist with children at home? Absolutely! Zoë Kim shows you how in this relatable and easy-to-read guide to getting the whole family on board with minimalism. You’ll learn how to pare back your commitments, declutter your home, and take a more intentional approach to family life. From cleaning out the first drawer to developing lifelong minimalist habits, you will appreciate the newfound time, space, and sense of peace that minimalism brings.

By Zoë Kim,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Share the joys of minimalism with your whole family.

Make room for what really matters. Minimalism for Families shows you the real costs of the things you own and helps you discover that cutting non-essential items makes for a happier, more satisfying home and life.

Spend less time stressing about your stuff and more time together. Filled with practical advice to help you and your family clear out your house, Minimalism for Families helps you build stronger bonds, spend more time together, and start enjoying the benefits of living clutter-free.

Minimalism for Families includes:

An introduction to minimalism―Find out what…


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

Emrys Westacott Author Of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less

From my list on simple living and the good life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher who is especially interested in relating philosophy to everyday life. So I like to ask–and try to answer– questions such as: Why is frugality considered a moral virtue? Are there times when rudeness is justified? What makes some kinds of work shameful? I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and am currently a Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.

Emrys' book list on simple living and the good life

Emrys Westacott Why did Emrys love this book?

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…

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…


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

Emrys Westacott Author Of The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less Is More - More or Less

From my list on simple living and the good life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher who is especially interested in relating philosophy to everyday life. So I like to ask–and try to answer– questions such as: Why is frugality considered a moral virtue? Are there times when rudeness is justified? What makes some kinds of work shameful? I earned my Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and am currently a Professor of Philosophy at Alfred University in Alfred, New York.

Emrys' book list on simple living and the good life

Emrys Westacott Why did Emrys love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life

Eryn Lynum Author Of 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting

From my list on intentional parenting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Life is busy. We all feel it. As my husband and I have built businesses, published books, traveled the country, and homeschooled our four kids, we’ve worried at times that our schedule is too packed and we’re losing sight of what matters. Seven years ago, we took time to write out a “Family Values List,” which has guided our family’s trajectory. We measure every decision and opportunity up against our core values. This provides a depth of intentionality in our parenting, which has led us to read (and write!) resources around how to make the most of the time we have together as a family. “Do life together” is on our values list, and it’s what we aim to do each day.

Eryn's book list on intentional parenting

Eryn Lynum Why did Eryn love this book?

Parenting with intentionality necessitates a certain degree of extremism. It takes a lot of effort to do things differently from the society around us. In Almost Amish, we gain a glimpse into Amish communities and why they do what they do. We’re not challenged to overhaul our lives and do as the Amish do, but rather to consider the heart and purpose behind their ways of life and how we can implement some of those principles to strengthen family ties and purposefully raise our kids. My main takeaway from this book was the importance of slowing down and enjoying my kids — not making them the center of my world, but rather doing life alongside them in a meaningful and fun way.

By Nancy Sleeth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Have you ever stopped to think, Maybe the Amish are on to something? Look around. We tweet while we drive, we talk while we text, and we surf the Internet until we fall asleep. We are essentially plugged in and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rather than mastering technology, we have allowed technology to master us. We are an exhausted nation. No one has enough time, everyone feels stressed out, and our kids spend more hours staring at a screen each week than they do playing outside.

It’s time to simplify our lives, make faith and…


Book cover of Faring to France on a Shoe

Beth Haslam Author Of Fat Dogs and French Estates, Part 1

From my list on set in France to inspire and excite the imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love affair with France began years ago with a holiday to St Malo. Since then, it’s been hard to stay away. Luckily, my husband felt the same way and eventually, we decided to buy a country estate in the rural southwest. Today, I write about our wacky lives here, how we refurbished our home and came to live with so many animals. We’re immersed in a quirky farming community that lives in harmony with the seasons. Honestly? Nothing much has altered for the past thirty years. It’s magical. Oh, and when we have time, we’ll explore our locality. We still have so much here to discover.

Beth's book list on set in France to inspire and excite the imagination

Beth Haslam Why did Beth love this book?

We live close to the Canal du Midi and regularly enjoy blissful dog walks on the towpath. Spotting this memoir about faring to France immediately piqued my interest. 

The author’s colourful descriptions gently transported me to her watery world. Through Val’s narrative, I admired the scenery, both industrial and pastoral, and I could almost hear the wavelets lapping against the bows of her beloved barge, the Hennie H. 

Throughout Val and her partner’s trip, the reader is given fascinating history snippets. And, as with all great writers, there’s drama and fun, too. Val made me giggle, especially with her vignettes about their simple living arrangements aboard.  

This book contains both humour and depth, it is a celebration of this author’s excellent writing.

By Valerie Poore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faring to France on a Shoe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A travelogue about a dream come true. After seven years of owning their barge, Hennie-Ha, seven years involving catastrophe and crisis, Val and her partner finally go 'faring' to France for the first time. This travelogue is about the places they visit and the people they meet along the canals on their route from the Netherlands, through Belgium and into northern France. It tells a gentle story about how they experience their life on board during the four weeks they spend cruising. Written as a journal, the reader joins them on their travels through rain and shine and reveals how…


Book cover of Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Holly Trantham Author Of Beyond Getting By: The Financial Diet's Guide to Abundant and Intentional Living

From my list on rethinking your relationship with work and money.

Why am I passionate about this?

At The Financial Diet, I’ve written and produced videos about money, productivity, and work/life balance for the better part of a decade. I’ve come to the conclusion that most of our commonly held beliefs about money and work are incorrect: your job shouldn’t be your main purpose, and money shouldn’t be the end goal in and of itself. I’ve also been a longtime nonfiction reader, and I lead a monthly book club for our Patreon members. This list is composed of my favorite selections from those meetings (a few of which I’d read previously), and I hope they invite you to question your own relationship with work and money!

Holly's book list on rethinking your relationship with work and money

Holly Trantham Why did Holly love this book?

To me, this book is a classic in the realm of personal finance for a reason. It is the clearest explanation of how money is not actually about money; if you’re actually living by your values and seeking a life that makes you feel truly fulfilled, the point of working is to earn enough money to live on and take care of your future with, while being able to spend the majority of your time doing what you actually enjoy.

I love that this book is centered around finding a purpose without tying that purpose to how you earn a living. It also gives really clear suggestions for long-term investing, and I was happy to see that updated for our current times in the newest edition. 

By Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Your Money or Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Have Enough Money for a Rich Life-Without Winning the Lottery
How much money is enough? Vicki Robin has made it her life's work to explore this question. Her remarkable discovery: money is energy-and conscious awareness is the key to finding its real value. On Your Money or Your Life Robin shares the nine-step program originally created with her teaching partner Joe Dominguez, which has helped nearly three quarters of a million people worldwide reach new levels of comfort, competence, and consciousness around their personal finances. Updated for the 21st century, this two-CD program offers hands-on tools and practical insights to…


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

Vitaliy Katsenelson Author Of Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life

From my list on that bring meaning to your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an investor who happens to love writing, music, and simply life in general. I was born in Murmansk, Russia, where I spent my first 18 years. My family moved to Denver in 1991, and I have lived there since. I’m CEO of IMA, a value investing firm where I have creative freedom to focus on things I love. I was so fortunate to stumble into writing; it has completely rewired my mind by providing a daily two-hour refuge for focused thinking. I am constantly on the lookout for new stories and fresh insights. Writing is what keeps me in student-of-life mode, and there is so much to learn!

Vitaliy's book list on that bring meaning to your life

Vitaliy Katsenelson Why did Vitaliy love this book?

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.

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…