Lists to Live By for Simple Living - Book Review

Whitney Hopler

Compiled by:   Alice Gray, Steve Stephens, John Van Diest
Publisher:         Multnomah Publishers

The frantic pace of modern life and the incessant pressure of our consumer culture can easily crowd out the simplicity God wants people to have in their lives.  Many people yearn to live simpler lives, and perusing a simple book such as Lists to Live by for Simple Living is certainly a good way to begin exploring the topic.  But there is no quick formula for achieving simplicity--it must be pursued through a process of deep thought and prayer.  People who genuinely and successfully live simple lives are those who have invested the time and energy needed for God to transform them at deep levels.

So, as nice as many of this book’s principles are, they barely scratch the surface of what it means to live simply.  The lists (which were compiled from interviews and previously published material in books and magazines) contain lots of clichés, such as “Count your blessings” and “Enjoy the little things.”  Still, as trite as some of it seems, it is always good to be reminded of basic wisdom.  And it’s also useful for busy readers (the kind who are most likely to yearn for simpler lives) to digest a book when it’s in the form of lists.

If people merely read Lists to Live by for Simple Living and leave it at that, the material might do little more to transform them than a brief phone call from their mothers would.  But if they use the book as a tool to begin deeply thinking and praying about simplicity, the book will impart real and lasting value into their lives.  Thankfully, the editors have included some pages at the end for readers to write their own lists of ways they could begin living more simply.  This encourages them to more deeply consider the principles they’ve read.