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Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  313 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
In his bestseller Affluenza, David Wann and his co-authors diagnosed the debilitating disease of over-consumption. In Simple Prosperity he shows readers how we can overcome this disease by investing in a variety of real wealth sources. To recapture a more abundant and sustainable lifestyle, try:

- Creating a richer life story through personal growth incentives
- Forming hig
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin
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We were very excited to read this book. The move to Indiana and the desire to simplify made us eager for advice. Unfortunately this book provides only bad jokes. It told us what we already knew - real food, real people (as opposed to those on tv), real activities - this is what to spend time on. Unfortunately the many anecdotes about people who found that this was a great way to live were totally unhelpful. Deep down, there was no deep down. This book never made us really think. Fipp made us sto ...more
Okay, I don't think I can make it through this one. I love the idea of the book, but the tone!! Arrgh! Insufferably superior! I get it, David Wann, you're way better than the rest of us mindless consumers. You're practically a god of anti-capitalism. We should all kiss your dumpster-dived boots. But this is not a user-friendly approach to living a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle - more like an environmentally conscious version of S&M. Getting beat over the head with recycling bins isn't ...more
Oct 19, 2008 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read it pretty enthusiastically for the first half, finally getting tired of the preachiness and personal anecdotes. Just skimmed the rest of the book, hoping for (but not really finding) useful information to apply to a normal lifestyle. I was hoping it would be a life-changing read, which is how I read Jane Goodall's Harvest for Hope and Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I do like the idea of the book and hope that super-consumers can make some life changes after reading it (i ...more
Mar 11, 2008 Ana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had some great quotes and helpful info. I liked the general idea, but not so keen on the author's constant references to himself and the way he does things to live more greenly. I understand him wanting it to be sort of personal, but this was not a memoir. Him making it so personally was sort of like him giving a lot of advice rather than just some good examples to live more greemly. Otherwise overall good message.
Melody Warnick
Dec 09, 2008 Melody Warnick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About eschewing the money-is-everything/never-slow-down lifestyle in favor of treating ourselves and the planet more humanely. I especially enjoyed the chapter about “the real wealth of neighborhoods,” which reminded me that having a sense of community and easy access to supermarkets and libraries is worth more per square foot than a bigger house or bigger yard.
Sep 15, 2008 Desi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Decent amount of information on ways to cut back on spending and our negitive effect on the environment. Very wordy; it takes a while for him to flush out thoughts. Not a lot of new information, but you can tell that he is very passionate about his topic. Good information, not really worth owning personally.
Ended up purchasing this one from the earth day display in the bookstore at work; it's interesting, but not a whole lot of ideas new to me. Not so much of an action plan (Your Money or Your Life is a good one for that), as more of ways of thinking about your life other than the mainstream American way.
May 09, 2009 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment-etc
live simply. buy less (actually, buy better). do without the tv. green is good. yup, got it. am doing it.

it was ok, maybe even good, just felt like it sometimes waffled between bragging and kooky. of course, you'd pretty much have to, wouldn't you? aren't prophets kinda like that?
Apr 27, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Money is not wealth. This is an excellent starter book for someone who has been thinking about a more sustainable lifestyle but didn't know where to start. I highly recommend it as it will change your definition of success.
Jun 12, 2008 mindi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish, 2008
gave up after the first 100 pages and then skimmed to the end. don't plan on finishing.

nothing really new or enlightening, unless you're new to this concept of living a simple, sustainable life.

glad it was a library book, and not a purchase :)
Oct 31, 2008 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not even halfway thru and I'm having a hard time. I feel like the author has repeated himself so many times already and there are tons of anecdotes that seem peripheral at best. I'm not sure I am going to be able to make it all the way thru the book
Aug 21, 2008 Rob rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
lots of good ideas but very preachy...thought i was back in church listening to a minister go on and on about how i should live my life...which is not to say, again, that i don't agree with's just i avoid clubbing on my head
I wish everyone in the United States would read this book.
Jan 15, 2017 Jonny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I did not enjoy this book. But at the same time, I can’t confidently say it is useless to everyone. I can’t even really say exactly what I found wrong with it.

My best guess is that I think the author is just a crappy writer. There may be other problems, but there is good content in this book, it’s just stitched together in such an ineffective way. I’m still not sure what this book is meant to be. Is it a personal handbook for change? Is it a treatise to society as a whole? Is it personal reflect
I think that this is the natural follow up to other eco-community related books that I've been reading recently such as "Eat Pray Love", "Omnivore's Dilemma", "Deep Economy" and "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"-- and I'd say that while I'm glad that I read this, it wasn't as ground-breaking as I'd hoped it would be.

What I liked: David Wann does the one thing that many other books that talk about sustainability, light carbon footprints and local food movements fail to do: provide specific, realistic,
A decent book, but it makes the all too common mistake of preaching to the small crowd of people already living this way.

In my opinion a book like this should reach out to people who may not know how they can really make a difference, might not know how to go about making changes, or why they should. It should focus on discussing the very real benefits of simplyfying, helping people understand what a huge impact small changes can make, what those small changes look like, and especially describi
May 22, 2008 Willy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are still asleep and need to WAKE UP
Shelves: environment
A criticism I have for this book is that for those of us who “make Earth Day everyday” there is very little new information or inspiration. We already understand local food, drive less, eat simple foods, understand the importance of community, we don’t shop the big box stores, etc On second thought, I realize that his underlying replacing fear with love and hope, might represent a new idea for many people.

To be fair, Wann may reach an audience not previously indoctrinated in the religion of env
Jess Dollar
First half was surprisingly engaging. I admit I didn't read the last three chapters as they seemed boring to me and I had gotten what I felt like was the main point of the book.
It's nice to read of others that are turning away from our consumer culture and being satisfied with less. I am much happier in my small house on 3 acres than I was in my big house in a subdivision. Once you get off the crazy train and stop spending money on STUFF life gets a lot simpler and options open up for more meani
Feb 10, 2009 Warren rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I thought this was going to be an interesting read since 'sustainability' was a topic that I am excited about. However, it turned out to be the rantings of a crotchety old hippie. (That became evident in Ch. 15 when he griped about movie theater loudness and needing government regulation on advertisements.) I didn't really get into this book. In fact, I thought about abandoning the reading after the first several chapters. The only redeeming value was that there were some suggestions on how to l ...more
Apr 10, 2008 Leah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm working on this book little-by-little, as it is a whole lot to digest. Wann has some unquestionably salient points and suggestions for a simpler, yet higher-quality life(style). He also, however, takes it to the extreme in his personal life, which I find difficult to connect with: While I agree that buying a car for longevity and fuel economy makes sense on a number of levels, I do not find my life considerably changed for the better when someone gives me his old $5 plastic blinds to re-use ...more
Miz Lizzie
How to live more simply and save the planet. David Wann is preaching to the choir for this reader. As such, I just skimmed the first two chapters which were devoted to convincing the reader that changes really have to be made for our ultimate survival as a species. Already there. I was more interested in what actions to take. Nothing there I wasn't already familiar with (and in some cases doing or have done) but Wann's stories and examples are inspiring. Published just before the recession hit, ...more
Aug 12, 2008 Wendy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As others have said, this doesn't have anything new for people who are already familiar with the ideas of "real" community and sustainability, and even though it was published (edit) in 2007, this already feels very dated. It just makes me want to get out my copies of the Tightwad Gazette books for some reading along the same lines that is more practical, funnier, and--if you can believe it--less self-congratulatory than this book.

ETA: I finished it, and it never really got better... what's wit
from the library c2007 busy at the library
copy suggested reading list

ch1 taking stock
ch2 evolutionary income
ch3 parsonal growth
ch4 mindful money
ch5 the bonds of social capital
ch6 time affluence
ch7 the stocks of wellness
ch8 the currency of nature
ch9 precious work and play

CH 10 the real wealth of neighborhoods
ch11 higher returns on investment
ch12 energy savings
ch13 the benefits ofr right sizing
ch14 trimming the fat
ch15 infinite information

Mar 07, 2008 Jeanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ehhh, I enjoyed the book. Glad I read it. Reinforced some of my beliefs. Helped to spur on my commitment to less stuff, more experience and depth of relationships. I didn't give it a higher rating because I was offended, several times, by the authors stance on religion. I did not care of his tone and the way he injected his broad-brushed sterotypical opinion of Christians (apparently we all love Wal-mart, care diddly-squat about the environment, and are unable to form meaningful relationships - ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Philippe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: systems-thinking
A solid four stars for this well argued diatribe against our wasteful, consumerist culture. Wann doesn't mince his words but writes with humour and panache. I particularly liked the tight organisation of the book, which makes it easier to appreciate the systemic nature of our lock-in. Many of the barriers to change are interconnected. Learning to slow down and take time to appreciate life's simple pleasures is a good place to start in moving towards a more rewarding and sustainable lifestyle.
Oct 10, 2008 Martin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I was expecting. Lacks depth and originality and is way too personal considering how it was sold. A lot of his points are valid, but this is not a valuable book to me. I feel as if I now know way more about David Wann than I really want to know. His extended family, friends and neighbors (in the community he designed himself!) may be great people but hearing about them was not why I picked up the book.
Alison Kenney
Feb 22, 2009 Alison Kenney rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
David Wann is the author of "Affluenza" which I didn't read, but I guess I assumed his books were a bit scholarly and researched. However, this one is not at all like that. It's basically his personal, rambling account of how to live a more simple life -- everything you already know and not too many revelations.
Jun 24, 2010 Kerrie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The only really helpful part of this book was the introduction. The rest of the book devolved (as mentioned by other reviewers) into a totally personal memoir of sorts rather than giving steps that could help in general for people and communities. I'm not sure where Wann lives, but I can't imagine his "hints" for making a neighborhood connected working here in the city limits of Albuquerque!
Jan 25, 2009 Woz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed parts of this book but at times found myself daydreaming as I did when I read textbooks in college. There are some good concepts but nothing really new to me. I read it as a kick off to a year of less stuff for me and it did its job in that arena in reinforcing that less stuff doesn't mean less happiness.
Carisa Crosbie
Feb 21, 2010 Carisa Crosbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read many books on the environment, conscious living, and sustainable lifestyles. Some of them can be a little depressing. I enjoyed this book because it had a ton of research and information, but was also quite encouraging. The author is a bit annoying, but if you can overlook that it is a great book that I think everyone should read!
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The Aim of Simple Prosperity, by the author 1 11 Jun 21, 2008 11:17AM  
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David Wann is President of the Sustainable Futures Society; a board member of the Cohousing Association of the U.S.; a fellow of the Simplicity Forum; and recipient of various lifetime achievement awards for his work on sustainability. He’s been a passionate gardener for 25 years and now coordinates a neighborhood garden in the cohousing community in which he’s lived for 11 years – Harmony Village ...more
More about David Wann...

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