A Philosophy of Simple Living

Jérôme Brillaud

A Philosophy of Simple Living

Jérôme Brillaud

Distributed for Reaktion Books

200 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $20.00 ISBN: 9781789142273 Will Publish May 2020 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $20.00 ISBN: 9781789142655 Will Publish May 2020 For sale in North and South America only
Today, “simple living” is a rallying cry for anti-consumerists, environmentalists, and anyone concerned with humanity’s effect on the planet. But what is so revolutionary about a simple life? And why are we so fascinated with simplicity today? A Philosophy of Simple Living charts the ideas, motivations, and practices of simplicity from antiquity to the present day. Bringing together an array of people, practices, and movements, from Henry David Thoreau to Steve Jobs, and from Cynics and Shakers to the “slow movement,” voluntary simplicity, and degrowth, this book is as comprehensive as it is concise. Written in elegant, spare prose, A Philosophy of Simple Living will be of great benefit to all who wish to declutter and pare back their complicated, modern lives.
Contents
Introduction: What’s in a Name? 1 Simple Beginnings 2 Walking in Simplicity 3 The ‘Gift to Be Simple’ 4 A Simple Reform 5 Simplicity Made Simple Conclusion: A Simple Voice References Bibliography Acknowledgements
Review Quotes
Brendan Gleeson, author of "The Urban Condition"
“A powerfully insightful work that deserves wide attention at a time of unprecedented confoundment and burden in the human condition.”
Phillip John Usher, New York University
“Thoughtful and beautifully written. . . . A must-read in our era of noise and distraction.”
Publishers Weekly
"In this insightful debut, Brillaud. . . analyzes the 'simple life' by examining historical figures who 'saw simplicity as a way of life.' Among the exemplars of simplicity Brillaud surveys are antiestablishment spiritual pioneers such as the desert monks of early Christianity and the Shakers of the late eighteenth century, as well as philosophical giants including fourth-century BCE philosopher Diogenes the Cynic and American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. Each, Brillaud writes, sought to lessen the noise of a busy life in order to 'remain attuned to the quiet activity of living which transpired in and around them.' Ironically, in offering a diverse array of paragons and dissecting their choices—for example, when he opens the book with a deep dive into various stages of Greek philosophy, language, and history—Brillaud’s study gets pretty complicated. While the academic nuance helps illustrate different approaches to the simple life, one is left wondering what the simple life really is; Brillaud admits it’s 'a concept with far-reaching resonance' and that it cannot be reduced to 'static principles, lofty ambitions, or technological expedients.' Those looking for advice on creating a 'life governed by simple rules' will enjoy Brillaud’s inviting portraits."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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