I finished up Living More with Less recently. It’s an older book (from 1980) written by Doris Janzen Longacre, who was a Mennonite. I really enjoyed it and found lots of thought-provoking information in it.
It’s written in a format that explains the general thoughts and ideas behind each chapter, followed by letters and real-life examples that show how the ideas could be implemented or how they have worked for other families around the world.
Religious verses and applications run through the book, but even if you aren’t religious I think it would be apparent that they are there because that’s how the people involved live their lives.
It does include a few tips on being less wasteful and coming up with creative ways of doing things, but overall it’s more about changing the way we see the world and really being thoughtful about things. Here is a small excerpt:
I muse on a quote by Colman McCarthy: ‘To creatively deprive a child means to keep his senses and mind free of material goods that overwhelm him.’…But too many of us are still raising children by the idea that each generation has the right to more material comforts than the one before. Minority groups excepted, contemporary parents of teens and under grew up in the forties and fifties with no real hardships. One bathroom, one car, yes. But not privation. Yet we hang on to the dream, then legitimate, which we heard from our parents: ‘I don’t want you to have it so rough.’ Today, not having it so rough usually means luxury. A magazine ad showing a twelve-year-old with her own television says, ‘Of course, you were probably a lot older when you got your first Sony, but times have changed. Give her advantages you never had as a kid.’
The book explores the social implications behind over consumption and wastefulness and describes what an impact even small changes can make on the world around us. It also focuses on the importance of relationships with all generations of family, friends, neighbors, people from other nations, the poor, etc. If you are interested in simple living, I recommend it.