Meaningful Books

I tend to read quite a bit, here is where I will list books that I have read with comments on what I thought of the book. For anyone looking for a good book to read on a simpler life, downsizing, or just wanting to know what I read, hopefully this list will be helpful.


Books That Changed My Life


  • Get Satisfied: How twenty people like you found the satisfaction of enough
    This book was the most important book I read when I knew my life wasn’t working. I wrote an entire post on one of the stories that inspired me you can read it here.
  • Your Money Or Your Life:  This book originally taught me to question how I spent my money.  While the book is still pertinent to today, I don’t suggest anyone follow the investment advice right now in such economic turmoil.
  • Radical Simplicity: Small footprints on a finite Earth by Jim Merkel:  This book took up where Your Money or Your Life ended for me. It was this book that achieved the monumental task of getting me to sit down and measure my ecological footprint, then strive to do better.
  • Native Wisdom for White Minds: Daily reflections Inspired by the Native Peoples of the world by Anne Wilson Schaef:  I have always viewed the Native People as our first environmentalists. They lived by the land, taking only what they needed.  This book shares much of the wisdom that we can learn to live lighter on the planet and learn to treat all living things with more respect.
  • Toxic Free by Debra Lynn Dadd:  I found this book to be well organized, in terms easy for anyone to understand when discussing the chemicals we are exposed to. One difference in this book from other books on toxic chemicals was the connection to the body and how these chemicals can/will affect us. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to learn more about the effects on your health from the toxicity in your environment.
  • Easy Green Living by Renee Roux:  This is by far the best book I have found on how to replace the chemicals in your home with plenty of easy to use recipes from body care to cleaning your home.
  • Other Books I’ve Read 

    1. Soul Space by Xorin Balbes:  This book helped me see my home as a place of sanctuary and helped me to let got of the items in my home (even the family heirlooms and gifts) that didn’t suit me or made my home feel like it belonged to someone else.  The only downside to this book is that I would have loved to  have seen pictures of the spaces he describes.
    2. One Man’s Leg by Paul Martin: Again I found this book inspiring to me as some one with limited mobility. There are days I wake up and want to quit, I don’t want to struggle with the mobility issues I have and would rather stay in bed and curl up with a book rather than feel pain and push myself to keep going.  I have a hard time giving in to these feelings when I think of what Paul had to go through to get where he is.  I wrote a post on this book as well which you can find here.
    3. Little House on a Small Planet:  I had heard about this book from many people so when I found it at my library I had to read it. I was not disappointed as it reinforced my decision to live lighter and save resources.
    4. Room to Grow an Appetite for Life by Tracey Gold:  I suffered from an eating disorder for many years, it was hard to hide this fact from people closest to me, but I couldn’t imagine how it would be to grow up in front of the camera on a weekly sitcom while dealing with such a problem. Tracey did a great job in showing what she went through with out sharing the tricks one learns along the way to “perfect” the systems we put in place or to glamorize eating disorders.
    5. Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs:  This is a wonderful book for someone just starting out on a path to simplicity, for me I found myself nodding my head and wanting to skip around.  I would still recommend this book to any one who feels there is more they could be doing.
    6. Living With Ed by Ed Beagley Jr.:  This was a book I wanted to like more than I did.  Many of the things I have either done or are out of my price range.  The one redeeming part of the book is at the end where you will find checklists which start with the easiest and least costly ways of greening your life and move through the process until you come to the final most expensive steps.  You can easily pick and choose what your needs are, even making your own check list from this list of the things you want to change.
    7. Cradle to Cradle:  I found this book hard to enjoy. It has a lot of great ideas in it that are inspiring, if you are a business owner who is looking to lessen your impact on the planet.  It would be nice to have products that never need to be tossed out, but the average consumer can’t make that happen.
    8. Better off by Eric Brende:  Eric and his wife moved to an Amish community to learn from them how to live sustainably and without the machines we all take for granted.  People have mixed feelings on this book.  Knowing the Amish and Mennonite communities around me as I do, I wasn’t surprised that Eric and his wife conformed to the traditional male/female chores and behaviors.  If you can look beyond that I believe there is a lot to be learned from this book.
    9. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin:  I thought I would enjoy this book but it came off to me as a chore.  Gretchen sets goals for each day to see if she can make herself happier.  I don’t think we can force happiness.  She had plenty of moments when she would expect someone to praise her for holding her tongue, or would be upset that she wasn’t getting the recognition she believed she deserved. Many people like this book, I’m just not one of them. Choose for yourself.
    10. The $100 start-up:  I walked away with a positive feeling about this book.  It’s not a how-to book if that’s what you were looking for and the examples won’t work for everyone, but it will get you thinking.
    11. Grandmothers Council the World:  This is a book about 13 grandmothers from 13 different Native Tribes from around the world who came together to share their views/visions on the damage we are doing to ourselves and the world.  I was a little let down by the book, basically it says we need to support each other and stop damaging the planet.  There were few real insights I gleamed from this book.
    12. Go Green, Live Rich by David Bach:  There were plenty of good ideas, but all ones I’ve heard before.  David does a good job showing you how much money you will save by, for example, insulating your home but doesn’t compute the initial investment you had to make. Not a bad book, but there are better books out there.
    13. National Geographic Green Guide:  I had high hopes for this book and it does have good information, but it falls flat when it contradicts what science and long-term studies have shown, one example is the opinion of fluoride, a toxic substance, yet we are told to think twice before switching to a non-fluoride toothpaste as their opinion is that we need it.
    14. Soul-ful Eating by Maureen Whitehouse: This book promises 15 rules for mindful eating, yet basically it comes down to a few simple rules, eat locally and organic, avoid animal products, drink plenty of water and take your time to enjoy your food.  Nothing new here except for the way it is presented.
    15. Simply Green Giving by Danny Seo: The title to me is deceiving. This book wasn’t about gifts but instead how to wrap them.  This is a little better than the book Upcycling (see below) but not by much.  One example I can give you used an old VHS tape to use as ribbon, and that was one of the better ideas.

    Books I hated

    1. Green chic: Saving the world in style:  I’m not chic by any means.  My favorite clothes are flannel shirts and sweat pants if that tells you how chic I am not.  So I’m not surprised I loathed this book. When you share that you buy one thing green but then have to have those Jimmy Choo shoes you’ve lost me.
    2. The Salvage Sisters Guide to finding Style in the Street and Inspiration in the Attic:  There was one project I didn’t mind, but basically I found the projects to be of poor quality to be published in a book format.
    3. Upcycling by Danny Seo: While Danny Seo is considered the man in organic furnishings his projects in this book were downright tacky and anything but “green”.  One project has you filling a plastic bottle with concrete then when dry cutting away the plastic to have a concrete mold of the plastic bottle to display. No it’s not a vase, just a concrete statue to remind you of that 2 liter pop bottle.  The entire book was filled with projects of this nature.

    Gardening Books

    Craft Books

    1. Big Book of Weekend Crochet by Readers Digest: I found some amazing patterns in this book but finishing one of these in a weekend?  Not me.  Other than the deceiving title I would highly recommend this to anyone who crochets.

    Fiction Books

    1. Finding Grace by Kathy Gottberg:  This book is available to download from the Kindle store and was a very thought-provoking story which resonated with my values as I express them here on the blog.  Kathy is a fellow blogger, I wrote a post about Finding Grace which you can find here.

    Children’s Books

    1. Press Here:  This is by far the most enjoyable interactive children’s book I have ever seen.  Children from 2 – 8 have enjoyed this book and ask for it every time they come to my house. It was loved so much I gave it as a gift to 2 children this past Christmas.


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