A Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence

by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  23 reviews
With our environment on its knees, our great myths and cities crumbling, Ferenc Máté argues in this passionate, darkly funny book that now is the time to begin our lives anew, on a more human scale. With our lust for mechanized "progress" we have damaged and endangered not only our planet but also our communities, families, and even friendships. He wa...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 17th 1997 by Albatross (first published 1993)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 247)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
James
Ferenc Máté has produced a book that dares to be the impassioned argument for a reasonable life. Máté has done what no author that I've read recently has been able to do and that is to put into a well-organized narrative form, that which many of us who agree with him have been thinking for so long. It's one thing to read statistics about economic disparities between rich and poor and about the seemingly crushing economic and ecological weight of what most will probably agree is excessive consump...more
Mo Tipton
May 03, 2009 Mo Tipton rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: newbies to anti-consumerism
Recommended to Mo by: Kathy Sheridan
As other reviewers have pointed out, this book does read a bit like a vitriolic rant, but it might just be a rant worth reading. If you haven't begun to question the consumerist lifestyle, this book is an entertaining, eye-opening introduction to the "ills of modern society" and what the hell should be done about them, and I highly recommend reading it.

However, if this is a topic to which you've given a reasonable amount of thought, I doubt any of the information presented in the book will come...more
Hope
Apr 19, 2008 Hope added it
I FINALLY finished this book. It is full of great ideas for living a reasonable life, HOWEVER, the tone is just plain mean. The author writes as if every reader is an idiot who is stupid and as if every one who doesn't live the same lifestyle he and his family does is determined to ruin the earth. I hated him by the time I was done reading it.

I guess I am more of the ilk that if we can all try to make small changes in our lifestyles we can do our little bits to help. I don't think we should al...more
Dana Miranda
Mate's ramblings indulges the reader's horror at being disconnected from the environment while opportunistically pitching his dissatisfaction as an argument to man’s ills. this however forgoes that mother nature can only be the cause of our moral problems for as long as we live in nature. and thus is true only when humanity was housed in nature's womb and ceases to be applicable as soon as man created his own surroundings, made his own environment, of the fabric of his mental image, of which Ma...more
Julie
I agree with the other review I read on this site. This book reads like a rant from a highschooler. I do agree with some (many) of his principles, but they just aren't well thought out.

What I agree with:

1. That people have no idea what the actual cost (environmentally, socially, spiritually) of an item is. Everything has a price and we have been using the planets resources in an unsustainable way.

2. That the world and our lives can be dreary rat races where we are starved of meaning, relaxation...more
Jerry
One of the handful of books that has completely changed my thinking. It clearly explains how we've completely screwed our lives up with the priorities we've set, the junk we eat, and the mindless activities we engage in. Even if one doesn't want to blow up the t.v. and get back to nature, the book offers some ideas that can be used to improve the quality of one's life. In short, it's an indictment on the rat race and explains why even the rat who wins is a loser.
Tina
Feb 23, 2010 Tina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tina by: Sally Demarest
This was one of those books that makes you think--hard. It's about how our American lives are unsustainable, due to overconsumption, breakdown of relationship ties, and media. (I'm oversimplifying, but that's basically it.) The author advocates a return to an agrarian lifestyle, with a house you've built yourself. The author sounds almost crazy, but I had to agree with almost everything he said.

This book could be a life-changer.
Corrina
The book had a few good points even if it was preachy. I especially liked the point about how being plugged in to our electronic devices all the time reduces our attention span significantly. However, the part about growing your own garden didn't grab me. I prefer to buy produce from the local co-op or farmer's markets when I can. Gardening, aside from little dabbling, just isn't in my DNA.
Kristen
This is a blog style written book. It is an attempt to change human philosophy to include a more sustainable lifestyle. He is preaching to the choir, of whom want solutions rather than just bitchy rants. I agree with most of his conclusions. i don't like the way he writes them or his very narrowminded and contradictory resolutions, on the few paragraphs that he gives them.
Raehn Fahl
This book is a MUST read for anyone who dreams of a life of self-sufficiency, where big government and big business don't dictate how we live our lives and fulfill our need for self-actualization; where local economies and communities are the guy next door, not the guy across the ocean with no vested interest in anything but how to keep us dumb, ignorant and chasing that carrot.
Rachel
Mate gets you thinking about whether being as busy as we are is really making us happier. He makes some good points and interesting questions. He does take his argument several steps further than most average people are likely to go (everyone leaving cities and living in small self sufficient farms and hamlets), but hey, if you'd like to , go for it. :)
Sbuckley
Some parts were really funny about the things Americans spend money on. Lots of ranting and raving about how detached we have gotten from values of the past. Didn't come away with many concrete changes I could make in my life though.
Kathy
If you are interested in ecogolgy, sustainability and frugality, there is NO better book. Written with a degree of humor, he points out many of the errors in our thinking and where our government has gone wrong. Read this book!
Nic Hartmann
In spite of his tone, which is admittedly a bit condescending at times, Ferenc Mate's points still seem pretty relevant today; I wonder what the Internet's impact would make on this book if it were written now!
Kate
A thought provoking book on what matters (or should matter) in daily life and what we can do to make it simpler and more stress-free. I am looking forward to reading the recently released sequal "A Real Life".
Kate
Great enjoyable very thoughtful book that will make you hopefully think about your life and ways in which you might want to change it to enjoy it a bit more and remember what it's like to be human again.
Ishki
I anxiously awaited this book from the library, and had high hopes for it. While I agree with him on some points, I felt the author had quite an attitude which I didn't appreciate.
Mike
One of the best books I've read on the way we live our lives and what is truly important.
If you feel you are in need of a book to ground you I recommend this small, but very good "read".
jessica
I'm very interested in the concepts, but the book reads like a rant I would have written in high school. Lots of random punctuation, italics and sentences that end like this??!!
Sid Johnson
I found this book at a book sale while on vacation many years ago and read straight through it. It was life changing for me. I've recommended it to many people.
Cathryn
Jul 02, 2008 Cathryn is currently reading it
I find it very interesting that this book was first published in the early 90's. I am not very far into it yet, but am certainly intrigued.
Caitlin
A Reasonable Life: Toward a Simpler, Secure, More Humane Existence by Ferenc Mate (2000)
Aubrey
Funny and relevant. But also preachy, rant-y and negative.
Kaitlin
Kaitlin marked it as to-read
Jul 25, 2014
Quincy
Quincy marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2014
Zubz
Zubz marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2014
Ben
Ben marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2014
Joe
Joe marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2014
Sean Bradford
Sean Bradford marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2014
Adb121
Adb121 marked it as to-read
Jun 28, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
4122
Ferenc Máté has made a career of out documenting his own quests—whether it’s restoring a Tuscan ruin, building a vineyard from scratch, or sailing the seven seas.

Born in Transylvania, he escaped at age eleven when the Hungarian revolution was crushed by Soviet tanks. He grew up in Vancouver and has lived in California, Paris, Rome, the Bahamas and New York. He has worked on a railroad extra-gang a...more
More about Ferenc Máté...
The Hills of Tuscany A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream The Wisdom of Tuscany: Simplicity, Security & the Good Life - Making the Tuscan Lifestyle Your Own Ghost Sea: A Novel A Real Life: A Simpler, Secure, Healthier Future

Share This Book

“We seldom consider how much of our lives we must render in return for some object we barely want, seldom need, buy only because it was put before us...And this is understandable given the workings of our system where without a job we perish, where if we don't want a job and are happy to get by we are labeled irresponsible, non-contributing leeches on society. But if we hire a fleet of bulldozers, tear up half the countryside and build some monstrous factory, casino or mall, we are called entrepreneurs, job-creators, stalwarts of the community. Maybe we should all be shut away on some planet for the insane. Then again, maybe that is where we are.” 35 likes
More quotes…