Meaningful Books

As a child I could lose myself in a good novel.  As I grew books became a tool to learn from as well.  These are the books which have helped me form the opinions and direction I want my life to go in.


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. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. What’s the Economy for Anyway?: This is an excellent book which shows just how far the US needs to go to provide the appropriate work/life balance and why the current measures of the economy (GDPGNP) need to be revised.
    10. Collapsing Consciously: Transformitive Truths for Turbulent Times:  Unlike most books on the coming economic collapse, Carolyn Baker takes us on a journey of positive thinking and how we can prepare for a life of less with the second half of the book being mindful meditations which can be helpful preventing depression when considering what may come.
    11. Garbage Land: On the secret trail of trash:  There is so much we don’t know about where our trash goes, including our sewage that comes to light as Elizabeth Royte follows her trash and recyclables from her home to their final destination.  From this I learned the truth about recycling and why it should be a last resort after refusing, reusing and repurposing. A Must Read.
    12. The End of Growth:  Richard Heinburg rather than show us gloom and doom, points out a realistic view on how economic growth is unsustainable.
    13. Slow Death by Rubber Duck:  The most redeeming quality of this book is the insight to how pervasive the chemicals used in plastics are in our lives.  From our food and how it is prepared to what we wear and other every day products along with medical proof that these chemicals affect our bodies and enter our bloodstream almost immediately upon contact with them.
    14. Plastic Free:  Beth Terry has compiled a must own resource for every home.  Not only will you find ways to eliminate plastic from your life but for those items you can’t eliminate she has found companies who will repurpose these items (keeping them from the recycling system they may slip through ending up in the landfills).

    Gardening Books

    1. Paradise Lot: Two plant geeks, one-tenth of an acre and the making of an edible garden oasis in the city:  There were many things which drew me to this book.  First, this edible garden is in the northeastern US yet shows that many plants can be grown in this region that were previously believed to need a warmer climate.  Secondly,  I learned from this book how to protect plants from warming climate by using taller plants to shade and reduce the amount of water needed and finally, this book shows that I can provide for almost all my food on a smaller piece of land than I previously believed.


    1. The Real Food Daily Cookbook:  Divided by season this book uses all real, whole foods to create meals which normally uses heavy creams or other processed foods.  Perfect for vegans.
    2. Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow cooker:  Nothing is easier than tossing all ingredients into one pot and walking away until dinner time.  This whole food, vegetarian approach to the slow cooker is a staple in my kitchen.  You will find everything from appetizers and side dishes to complete meals and even desserts.

    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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