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The Quest of the Simple Life

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  23 reviews
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.
Kindle Edition, 93 pages
Published May 17th 2012 (first published January 1st 1907)
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Daniel Frank
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
An absolutely delightful book. I read this in one sitting on my balcony with a cup of tea and Ryan Adams in the background and had a smile on my face throughout.

Written in 1907, this book laid the blueprints for the FIRE movement (Financial Independence Retire Early). I highly recommend this short book for anyone interested in nature, minimalism, stoicism or FIRE.
Camille Michiko Gica
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am truly grateful for this book.

Having stumbled upon "The Quest of the Simple Life", I would have gladly paid the price for it. I don't know what else to say, but for those who somehow have the desire to live simply in their hearts, I would recommend this book. And maybe for those who are somehow forced to live simply due to some circumstances, this might be insightful to them. I enjoyed this book. It serves me well and I am truly grateful for it. It is not a page-turner kind, but it has somet
Siddarth Gore
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
It starts off well. The language is different and rich. I was learning a new word on very page. It is honestly and earnestly written. A worth while read.

Then then like all autobiographical books the authors life diverges from the things that you can identify with. After that identification is lost you really cannot keep on reading it. If some happens to share the exact same tastes as the author then surely they will enjoy this till the end.
Sandeep Chandran
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful memoir based on transcendentalism which emphasizes How little a man needs to have a heartful and a fulfilled life. Resembles Thoreau's Walden and Emerson's Nature ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was looking more about Slow Life when I found this free ebook in the Kindle Store. It's written by a man living in London in 1907, he was tired of the city, his job, feeling just alive and not living. I can't relate more while reading it because I'm stuck in a big city during the 2020 covid19 pandemic. He has a really poetic way of writing, with old words and really long sentences. It's a slow read, with patience, we are not used to this anymore. It's nice to see all the changes the world made ...more
Sam Klemens
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I oddly liked this book. It was sort of hokey and biased and silly at parts. Even long winded in the beginning. But there was something about it. Maybe just that the author seemed earnest and I thought it was cool that he had the wherewithal to give up his city life and transplants his family.

It was almost like a very, very lite version of Emerson. It's a short book anyways, I think it's worth reading.
Colleen Mertens
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This book chronicles one writers desire to leave London for a simple life in the country to determine if it could be done. For this author, it could and was quite nicely. The tome expounds on simple vs city living to determine which is closer to how man in general should live. It was interesting to read his thoughts though at times the tone is a little dry.
Vikas Suresh
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on living, the title is so apt. I like the parts on expenses, though it’s a century old book it is striking how true it is even today. It’s no surprising that 30% to 40% of our income goes on keeping up with the joes.

It is one of those books that you keep coming back to.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Intriguing example of previous century Londoner coming to the realization that he preferred to live and raise his family is a different environment than the expensive big city.
Soham Banerjee
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book for me was a debate about the choices a Man must make when he chooses a mode of life, a life that is self sufficient, isolated, avoiding the conflicts of life's struggle, or a life that is in a constant battle with his contemporaries, his leaders, but collectively is a progress for the race. I found the arguments on both side to be just in their own thought. That man's action should not be judged by his individual outcome but rather by the collective outcome of the race. It should also ...more
Author started with criticizing city life, then he went to a village and settled there and started praising how village life is economical. Though I am a city - guy I agree with so far. Then he produced a counter argument that living in city itself is kind of philanthropic and called going back to village is selfish. He lost me there. Then he refuted it and wrote how change happens in the society , totally agreed with that point. Then he went on talking how a city should be. That's where I stopp ...more
Matthew Wilson
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this randomly in the gutenberg project catalog of free books.

This is a memoir by a dude living in London in like 1905, working in a white-collar middle class job, trying to get ahead.

He loves the energy and excitement in London. But he also feels like there's more to life than just trying to win the rat race. So he decides to do something about it.

This guy died before my grandparents were born. But when he talks about feeling frustrated in city life, I felt like I could have been reading
Dave Bolton
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though written a century ago, this small book shows that the alienation of the individual spirit in a big city was just as much a problem then as now. I'm assuming that since the industrial revolution was much more recent when Dawson wrote this (indeed, it was still in swing, as apparently a large proportion of people still earned their keep through agriculture) that the idea was a little newer though. I thought it was engaging and honest. Enjoyable. ...more
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book may not be for everyone, but I found it while reading free Kindle books on sustainable living. It was REALLY cool to read about one man's quest from 100 years ago to leave the hustle-and-bustle of London life in pursuit of things truly valuable. He waxes a bit preachy at moments, but as a voice of the past it is remarkable how much he sounds like a lot of my friends now! A fun piece of history. ...more
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vintage-novels
This book was written in 1907, but most of it can easily be applied to modern life - I guess it goes to show that some things never change? The first 3rd of the book hit home with me most of all, when he goes into detail on his thoughts on living in a city and working for a living. Well worth a read!
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
It is a little slow. Some may find it boring, but I love getting a glimpse of his quest to simplify life. He talked of walden pond some.
So many great quotes from it. I love him and his boys just waking up and going into the woods to swim and enjoy themselves, then coming home to read classics together. Sounds refreshing.
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I found this book intriguing. I agree with much of what Dawson wrote, though I feel the second to last chapter was a better ending. The final chapter talks about a future that 'may one day be' for London. I suppose the first-hand experiences were easier to read than his thoughts of the future. ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this book was written nearly 200 years ago, many of the ideas and arguments hold up well even today. For anyone who has felt trapped by city living, numerous material possessions, and a yearning for the simple life, this book is highly recommended.
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As relevant today as it was then. Wonderful read.
Angela Stull
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great book: timeless!
Marcia Martin
Taking into consideration the time it was written, I found this book a beautiful and informative read.
Roberto Cardu
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Jul 30, 2016
Dave Brey
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Sep 01, 2016
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Jul 26, 2016
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Jan 24, 2016
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William James Dawson (1854–1928) was an English clergyman, author, and the father of Coningsby Dawson. He was born at Towchester, Northamptonshire, was educated at Didsbury College, Manchester, and entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1875. He resigned from the Wesleyan ministry and entered the Congregational in 1892. in 1904 he resigned his charge in London to devote himself to evangelistic work.

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