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The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  576 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
In The Wisdom of the Shire, Noble Smith sheds a light on the life-changing ideas tucked away inside the classic works of J. R. R. Tolkien and his most beloved creation—the stouthearted Hobbits.

How can simple pleasures such as gardening, taking long walks, and eating delicious meals with friends make you significantly happier? Why is the act of giving presents on your birth
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published January 1st 2012)
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Rating details
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Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for a review where the reviewer overlooks niggling errors because the text is so inspiring, move on. If you are looking for a review where the reviewer fails to mention egregious errors regarding the source material, click on through- nothing to see here!

If you've read many of my reviews, you know I'm a Tolkien, um, fan. I can see that Noble Smith is also a fan, but he's a fan in need of a fact-checker. Especially because of assholes like me, who get all twitchy the instant s
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alas, this is an audiobook for me because I just want to hug it to my chest and close my eyes repeatedly. Such sage advice, such interesting facts. It makes me want to read the trilogy for the fourth time
Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー)
2.5 Stars

Have you heard the following advice before?

1)Get more sleep by avoiding the internet before bed.
2)Don’t let narcissistic and annoying people get to you.
3)Enjoy healthier food.
4)Money isn't everything. Enjoy your family and friends.

Now combine this run-of-the-mill advice with a synopsis of Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and some mediocre writing and you have a book. Just not a very good one.

There is a slew of Tolkien-inspired books out there. They range From high fantasy with Middle-eart
This is one of those delightful little books that “does exactly what it says on the tin.” It explores the Shire and visits with the Hobbits who live there like old friends, as well as stopping by various other places in Middle Earth and introducing us to elves, wizards, dwarves, and even ents, as we get to know them better and discover exactly what it is that makes Hobbits so, well, Hobbit-ish.

Hobbits, of course, are some of the best-loved characters in literature, and there is barely a person y
May 06, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this. I made it through the first three condescending chapters and a randomly selected chapter in the middle before returning it to the library.

Its biggest failure is one of the worst mistakes an author can make: it does not know its audience. You do not need to retell The Hobbit to an audience of readers that chose to pick up a book called "Wisdom of the Shire". Clearly, that reader is already a superfan, and doesn't need to be reminded about the circumstances of Bilbo's departure from
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien, favorites
This is a unique and engaging self-help book, perfect for any fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Noble Smith encourages readers to take a step back from their hectic lives and the many problems that they deal with on a day-to-day basis, and live in a more simplistic manner, just like the hobbits of Middle-Earth.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have been completely enamored by the hobbits and their way of life ever since I first picked up Tolkien’s books. Good food and cheer, what could
Markku Kesti
Itse kootut viisaudet olivat pahinta näennäisnerokastacoelhonallepuhhumanismia ("Kanna sormustasi vain niin kauan kuin tarpeelliselta tuntuu. Kun oikea hetkitulee, heitä se tuleen ja vapaudu taakastasi."), mutta muuten jorinat siitä mitä hyvää eläminen hobittityyliin voisi tarjota meille oli ihan mukavaa luettavaa. Kaksi ja puoli tähteä ja noiden luvun mietinnät sisältävien idioottitiivistysten takia siis vain kaksi.
Сибин Майналовски
Е няма толкова малоумна книга!!! Честно. Да доиш Хобитът и ЛОТР - очевидно може, Питър Джаксън трети милиард вече трупа в банката... ама това, дето го е направил този, е дебилно в най-добрия смисъл на думата. Четиво за отчаяни съпруги и нискоинтелигентни домакини, които биха чели всичко - от Паулу Коелю до розовите романчета с оня напомпан бастун на корицата от началото на демокрацията. И дори може би и на тях ще им се стори инфантилно и изсмукано от пръста (няма да казвам кой точно).
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Uniquely original and profoundly thought-provoking, this fascinating perspective that draws from JRR Tolkien’s works is astonishing!

Since childhood devouring ‘The Hobbit’ and other Tolkien’s works such as ‘The Silmarillion’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ I was naturally really excited, upon being presented with the opportunity of discovering Noble Smith’s ‘Wisdom of the Shire’ which contains references to JRR Tolkien’s epic creation. Journeying into the heart of the Shire and exploring Hobbiton, I fel
This review is for the audiobook version of The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith, read by Simon Vance.

This book had me utterly charmed at the dedication, which is a hint at all the goodness that lies ahead. There is no way to put the book down after reading that gem.

Much of the wisdom presented is common to 21st century denizens with any civic conscientiousness and environmental awareness- reuse, recycle, eat local, make nice with your own personal Gollum- but presented through the lens of Ho
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you're a well seasoned Tolkien fan, or brand new and just curious, this book is such a wonderful find. I've read quite a few "self help" books, but this definitely isn't like the rest. It doesn't point out your faults, but rather it goes back and forth telling stories and the author even sharing his own mishaps. When I was first introduced to Tolkien's lengendarium, all throughout my high school years, I wanted to be an Elf. Ethereal, graceful, beautiful, etc. But I was always dismayed b ...more
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien
I recently had the pleasure of reading Noble Smith’s The Wisdom of the Shire (“a short guide to a long and happy life”), which came out last month. Having heard many good things about this book from critics and fellow readers alike, I was more than eager to read it myself!

In The Wisdom of the Shire, Noble pulls us away from the craziness of our own lives and sticks us in the heart of the Shire, where its Hobbit citizens live simple, yet rewarding lives, and whose Hobbit holes are the true defin
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as an ARC from Goodread's First Reads program.

while it's obviously helpful to know the basic story of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy while reading this to get the references, they are not required to get the life lessons Mr. Smith imparts as "wisdom of the Shire." I want to say I ascribe to almost everything that was suggested or have tried to in the past, which makes me feel a bit like a Hobbit, which is a compliment in my humble estimation.

I've read the actu
Anne Marie Gazzolo
Noble Smith rocks! This wonderful guide proves that practically all you need to know about how to live a moral, happy, and fulfilling life you can learn from hobbits and other inhabitants of Middle-earth. Smith points out the many things that have gone wrong with our lives and our world and then shows us how we can heal the wounds by living more like hobbits. We can replace selfish ambition with selfless service, greed with contentment and simplicity, lust with love, betrayal with faithfulness, ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don't review books regularly, or at all, to be fair. This is the first review I'm writing on here, but this book has earned it. It is a short, quick read, though you'll most likely want to take your time to read and let it all sink in. I have loved the melting together of two of my favorite things: Tolkien's work and life. This is a smoothly flowing, well-written book, that made me smile more than once, sometimes out of joy, other times out of melancholy, or because I recognized the advice giv ...more
Dale Craven
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply put, this book is fantastic! I discovered this treasure on day at work, I've read it several times since! Noble's approaches to the Hobbit lifestyle is pure and a delight to read. It truly can help brighten ones day up, whether that involves you breaking into a song whilst eating a good hearty second breakfast, or spending a day barefooted in the garden sowing seeds! Perfect for both Tolkien fans and those looking for something different alike! I would recommend this book to anyone. So fo ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
I would recommend this book to anyone who is slightly interested in the Lord of the Rings series or Tolkien's works in general. This book was interesting, witty, and brought up a few good points about life in this modern society which we live in. So, I did enjoy it. The two problems I had with it were that sometimes it felt like an info-dump of the Lord of the Rings universe, and that the author repeated a lot of things to bring up a new point. Other than that, it was a fairly worthwhile read.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
It was ok, nothing new really. Maybe I've read too many books on the subject? I love all things Tolkien and having to do with the shire, Hobbits, etc. It was a sweet book, and I appreciate the author's love for everything having to do with the shire.
Ivy A.
Apr 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Should have trusted my general dislike for self-help books. I was misled by the cover. I'm not saying it's a bad book, I'm just saying it's not a book I enjoyed, and I recommend it to Tolkien fans who also enjoy this sort of non - fiction books.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it
A nice little books about getting back to a more simple life where one appreciates the beauty of nature and the joy of good company (while sharing ale and delicious food with them of course!). It gets a bit repetitive at times but it was a pretty enjoyable read.
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
A little too patronizing
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I was really dissapointed! It started out so promising and then I lost interest :(
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Instant favourite!!! I listened to the audiobook its short but full of real life lessons and values all gathered from J.R.R Tolkien's LOTR trilogy. Mainly from the hobbits themselves, however it is all encompassing with snippets from various creatures and characters in the saga.

This book magnifies Tolkien's brilliance that he packed neatly away in his books, still awaiting to be discovered for decades after, and cherished by many who have already delved into his writings.

It's something I will
Tanya Stoinova
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Като цяло книгата е добра и със съвети с житейски характер. Харесва ми и основната идея на творбата. Тя обобщава събитията от книгите на Толкин и до голяма степен авторът разсъждава над действията и причините зад тях. Допада ми гледната точка и начинът на мислене на Ноубъл Смит. Книгата се чете бърво и не осъзнаваш кога от първа си стигнал до единадесета глава. Накрая на всяка глава има съвет, за това как може да се освободим от оковите на днешния свят. Често и на мен ми се иска просто да се отк ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of those "exactly what it says on the tin" books. Not that it was bad, I think I was just expecting more. If you're looking for your typical self-help "living simply" tips like a) get more sleep or, b) eat local foods and stuff you grow, or c) don't let negative people affect your life, and then peppering those tips with references or connections to Tolkien's works, than this is the book for you. Just not what I was looking for
Gretchen Lindemann
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a positively delightful book! It is heartwarming and encouraging all the way through. If this doesn't make you want the simple and beautiful life of a Hobbit, I don't know what will! A true joy to read.
Mounir Bashour
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think "condescending" is a good word to describe this book. I was originally going to pick "preachy" and that may also be a good word, but "condescending" definitely works, too.
Eszter Kálmán
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love it!
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!!
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From the Author: What's your favorite thing about Hobbits? 3 9 Dec 28, 2014 02:35PM  
Tolkien's T.C.B.S: The Wisdom of the Shire 1 5 May 08, 2013 07:30AM  
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I am an award winning playwright, author, documentary film producer and interactive writer.

My book The Wisdom of the Shire is published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, and has been translated into 8 languages. Kirkus Reviews praised it as "A life-affirming, must-have morsel for Tolkien's colossal fan base."

My historical fiction action/adventure Sons of Zeus is published by Thomas Dunne B
“Kick off your shoes. Unburden yourself with song. Tell each other tales. Dance around the table. Leave the cleaning up for the morning. Then go outside and look at the stars.” 4 likes
“We'd all be lucky in life if we had the chance to experience an unexpected adventure, and then make our way back safely to a place of comfort. Sometimes the only way we can appreciate our home and the simple happiness it has to offer is to be away from it for a while.” 3 likes
More quotes…