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The Art of Living Well
Consumerism drives the pursuit of happiness in much of the world, yet as wealth grows unhappiness abounds, compounded by the grave problems of climate change, pollution, and ecological degradation. We've now reached both an environmental and spiritual dead-end that leaves us crying out for alternatives.
Elegant Simplicity provides a coherent philosophy of life that weaves together simplicity of material life, thought, and spirit. In it, Satish Kumar, environmental thought leader and former monk, distills five decades of reflection and wisdom into a guide for everyone, covering:
- The ecological and spiritual principles of living simply
- Shedding both "stuff" and psychological baggage
- Opening your mind and heart to the deep value of relationships
- Embedding simplicity in all aspects of life including education and work
- Merging science and spirituality for a coherent world-view.
Elegant Simplicity is a life guide for everyone wanting off the relentless treadmill of competition and consumption and seeking a life that prioritizes the ecological integrity of the Earth, social equity, and personal tranquility and happiness.
Satish Kumar is long-time peace and environment activist and former monk who has been quietly setting the global agenda of change for over 50 years. He settled in the United Kingdom after an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage and became editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he held from 1973-2016. During this time, he founded Devon's Schumacher College, authored several books, and presented the successful documentary Earth Pilgrim. He lives in Devon, UK.
"A wonderful manifesto for a life well-lived... like its author, this book is wise, warm, and simply elegan."
David Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics Emeritus, Oberlin College
"Satish Kumar's book Elegant Simplicity is the distillation of his lifetime of ideas and actions. It shows the intimate connections between the inner and outer world, soil, soul and society, beauty, joy and non-violence. It indicates that solutions to the big problems of our time — climate change, hate and violence, hopelessness, and despair — lie in thinking and living with elegant simplicity, reducing our ecological footprint while enlarging our hearts and minds."
Vandana Shiva, activist and author, Earth Democracy and Who Really Feeds the World
"Satish Kumar embodies the elegance of simplicity in his life and his teachings. I have learnt both wisdom and creative solutions from him to complex problems. Follow his path to make your life simple elegant and inspiring."
"An inspiring explanation of the fruits of simplicity and what living simply involves, by a writer who has experienced what it means to live a simple life."
Mark Tully, former Bureau Chief of the BBC, New Delhi, journalist and author, No Full Stops in India
"In Elegant Simplicity, Satish Kumar shares extraordinary insights from his incredible life of spiritual activism, teaching, and practical living. A profound and accessible guide to an ecological civilization of peace, material sufficiency, and spiritual abundance for all. A must-read for all who seek an alternative to an economy now driving us to self-extinction."
David Korten, author, When Corporations Rule the World, The Great Turning, and Change the Story, Change the Future
"There is no one on the planet better-equipped to tackle this project, and his insights will make you think and rethink how you're living and how you might change. Powerful."
Bill McKibben, author, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
"My parents married during the Great Depression, which shaped their values that were passed on to me: "Live within your means," "Save some for tomorrow," "Share, don't be greedy," and "Work hard for the necessities in life, but money does not make you a better or more important person". Those life lessons were swept aside as post-war America chose consumption as the way to economic recovery. When the economy becomes society's goal rather than a means to a higher end, Donald Trump is the ultimate consequence. In this moving and eloquent book, Satish Kumar takes us through his own journey to a simpler, happier life with a low ecological footprint. In a time of lavish consumerism, loneliness, and alienation, Kumar's message is an uplifting gift that is a welcome antidote."
David Suzuki, award-winning geneticist, author, broadcaster, and environmental activist
"Reading Satish Kumar's books is always uplifting! In Elegant Simplicity he distills a life of commitment to positive action and experience into his deep love for the human family and all life on this beautiful, endangered planet. He honors us all at the deepest level by acknowledging the abundance we create when we trust and care for all in our biosphere, practice forgiveness, and enjoy all the simple delights of everyday life. Beyond all sects and ideologies, this book is a benediction."
Hazel Henderson, author, Creating Alternative Futures, and founder & CEO, Ethical Markets Media
"Weaving vivid stories and lucid wisdom teachings, gentle yet direct, this book is a magnificent embodiment of its title."
Charles Eisenstein, author, Climate: A New Story
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