4 Mind-Blowing Motivational Books For Living A Simpler Life

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Are you sick and tired of the rat race blues?

Fed up with repetitive, soul-sucking office hours, repeatedly hauling top-heavy shopping bags when you’re finally off the clock, looming credit card surcharge and liability, stress headaches, and other bullshit?

Once you’re aware of  your trivial, unrewarding existence, a simpler life may be tempting.

Thoreau, who went to live alone in a modest cabin on the shores of Walden Pond, put it like this, he ‘did not wish to live what was not life.’

But how to unshackle?

You could use a push in the right direction, couldn’t you?

Insights to help you rid the shenanigans you’re pulling on yourself. Some motivation to re-discover what it was again what really matters in life.

Fortunately, great thinkers have gone before you.

Their books can help you evade the iron grip of our modern lifestyle and shift towards a more simple and meaningful life.


A book on the material aspects of living a simple life

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

the-japanese-art-of-decluttering-and-organizingThis book does more than help you tidy up your home, office and car. It goes even further than decluttering your mind. It propels you towards a whole different mindset.

Its practical and proven organizing tips (the Japanese Zen guru of organizing has a 3-month waiting list) eventually help you calm down as well as feel more energetic.

Getting rid of unnecessary possessions is essential if you want to live a simpler life. Your stuff is holding you back as it causes stress, drains energy (‘Don’t water your weeds.’), clouds your thoughts, interferes with creativity, and subsequently limits your freedom.

The things you own can force you to work in a high-paying job you don’t like. Or to live in a place you’d rather not. It can force you to pay a monthly fee for a storage facility or to feel the need to move to a bigger home every few years. It can cause you to work well into your retirement years by thinking, “I will live later”.

Marie Kondo makes you realize that each item you own can hold you in the past or propel you forward. Her insightful wisdom exceeds merely decluttering.

When it comes to living a more simple life, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is one of the best sources to tackle the material part of your life.

It changes your perspective, helps you develop good habits and increases your happiness. Without being woolly it lives up to its title.




A book on the spiritual aspects of living a simple life

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

a-new-earth-eckhart-tolleThis book is an eye-opener of the first magnitude. It has been such a profound guide for finding inner peace that I’m reading it for the third time now. I treat it like my bible, it’s on my nightstand and every day I read at least a page. Once started, I always read more.

If you don’t already have the desire to live your life more simply, more in touch with what really matters then this book will flare your inner flâneur.

It will help you transform to being less in your head all the time. You may become someone who takes life a bit slower. Live more in the moment because that that’s what causes happiness. As a result your need for material possessions will wane.

That aside, I really dig the references to Christianity and other religions and the true meaning of these teachings. For instance, when Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven” he was referring to the absence of attachment. Not only to things but also the letting go of dogmas, principles, negative thoughts, attachment with childhood issues.

No mental concepts, no inner baggage, no identifications that link to the self.  This leads to the joy of Being, in other words, the kingdom of heaven. Buddhists call this enlightenment. Thanks to this book I’m more open to seeing the beauty of simple things. I pay more attention to the clouds or birds. It helps you find back that childlike wonder the Bible speaks of.

Note: You have to be ‘open to it’. For some people such esoteric books are just abracadabra. For others they are life-changers that help them go back to the core of our existence. I suspect it helped that I had read The Power of Now first, a few years ago. That didn’t stick with me as much as A New Earth.


“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau



A book on the inter-personal aspects of living a simple life

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

-the-four-agreements-don-miguel-ruizThis book can help you mark your words and thoughts. Its goal is to use these four agreements as mantras.

You will realize that comparing is judging. Even simple thoughts like ‘I go jogging while others watch TV’ is not giving yourself a pat on the shoulder.

It’s the inner demon called The Judge whispering from your shoulder. You are using words against yourself. “The word is the magic wand of the Toltec sorcerer” has nothing to do with magic but everything with down-to-earth advice on relationships with others and yourself.

Once you realize this you will start to treat the people in your life differently. And, as the Mexican author of Toltec spiritualist and neoshamanistic texts claims, thus you will treat yourself better. They way you treat yourself is the same as you treat others, and vice versa.

His Ancient Toltec teachings help you achieve happiness. Ruiz, one of The Watkins 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2014, may come off as ‘new-agey’ but this book is very to the point and down to earth.

The Four Agreements, advocates personal freedom from beliefs and agreements that we have made with ourselves and others that are creating limitation and unhappiness in our lives.

The Four Agreements are:

  • Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  • Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  • Don’t Make Assumptions.
  • Always Do Your Best.

Together with his son Don Jose Ruiz, Don Miguel Ruiz’s have released a sequel, The Fifth Agreement, which adds a further agreement:

  • Be Skeptical but Learn to Listen.

Don Miquel Ruiz, made a presence in the inspiring documentary Living Luminaries.



A book on the transcendental aspects of living a simple life

Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna

food-of-the-gods-by-terence-mckenna If you don’t know psychedelic techno-shaman Terence McKenna yet, do yourself a favor and go listen to some of his lectures on Youtube.

Anyone who is open-minded and didn’t already frown at A New Earth may enrich their thinking by dipping their toes into McKenna’s lectures.

The criticaster of modern Western culture teaches us exactly why the ‘BMW and the Harvard degree are hyped’. In his book Food of the Gods he explores mankind’s connection with the Earth as an organism. His speculations on our long lost mutualist relationship with plants has disastrous effects on our existence and survival even.

Doomsday scenarios aside, you will get a much clearer view on where we are as a society in the course of time. Concepts as our current ‘dominator culture’, the loss of feminine, our abuse of plants, drugs, and nature as a whole, the psychedelic experience with its ego dissolving effects.

Transcendental here means, reaping mind boggling insights into our role in the larger picture of the whole creation of life and the expansion of the universe.

McKenna’s theories are not science-backed but utterly fascinating to say the least. If they do not blow your mind and make you see our world and humanity in a whole other light then at least his poetic way of talking will mesmerize you.

Even if you would read it like a sci-fi book, I guarantee Food of the Gods, The Search for The Original Tree of Knowledge will make your mouth fall open.


“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.”  Henry David Thoreau




Which of these books will become the wind beneath your wings?




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