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Secrets of Simplicity

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Bulging in-boxes, out-of-control stress, and even climate change serve as reminders that when it comes to being happy and healthy, less is more. In this interactive journal, organization expert Mary Carlomagno leads readers on a journey toward release and discovery. Guided by the principle that the way you spend your time and money should reflect your true priorities, Secr ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published December 3rd 2008 by Chronicle Books (first published November 1st 2008)
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Jan 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who feels overwhelmed!
I just love this book! It is straight-foward, thoughtful and insightful. To some, these ideas and suggestions might be obvious, but not for me. I always feel overloaded, overwhelmed and exhausted and don't know how to help myself. This book is helping me to let go, simplify and focus.
Heather the Hillbilly Banjo Queen
I liked that this organizing book not only looks at the stuff around us, it looks at the stuff within us. The reason we have clutter is more about our spiritual selves than it is about our physical selves. I liked the exercises she included that really got me thinking about what is important in my life and why. Happily, I have discovered a lot of what was included in this book already on my own, however, I like how she discusses how to actually use those discoveries and create lasting change. I ...more
Oct 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-read
From the back of the book:
"By picking up this journal, you've taken the first step toward transforming your life into one of ease and serenity. Guided by organization expert Mary Carlomagno's thoughtful advice, you'll learn to release unwanted clutter and take control of your time and money. The simple, practical steps she offers will help you achieve a newfound clarity and peace of mind, freeing you up to focus on your priorities and fulfill your true passions. Ample space is provided for you t
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any and all looking to "clean-up"...
Recommended to Donna by: Patrick Woodward
I had the joy of meeting Mary Carlomagno, with the idea I would garner great info on organizing my home, in my classroom, and with my (Alzheimer's ailing) mom's life. Surprise! It is truly about organizing me "inside."

Reading this in bits and pieces till now, I have addressed several areas within myself that needing emptying out, and the rest is falling into place. One day at a time....moment by moment. Amen. I am now reading from "cover-to-cover" to embrace her message.

Meeting Mary is
Full of pretty illustrations and quotes from big men... oh! And lists that you have to do and fill up to help you contemplate things! which is exactly why this book isn't really working for me. Too 'high level', I guess. Feels like I am being nagged at by an auntie who wags her finger at me and telling me I'm doing things the wrong way and I should sit down, be a nice girl, make those lists, meditate and do yoga while I listen to her quoting sayings from Buddha and other enlightened masters of p ...more
Mar 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
I'm on a self-help kick. If you look over my recent reading, it feels like I'm reading lots of self-help books. While I agreed with the message of the book, something just didn't work for me.
The book is divided into 7 sections: Release, Simplify, Treasure, Focus Invest, Discover and Thrive.

Each section has personal stories from the author, questions to help you explore these ideas, quotes from very illustrious historical thinkers, specifics on tackling the chapters main ideas, and what I'm goi
Connie  Kuntz
My kids have a book about buttons. One of the pages has a bunch of buttons lined up on it. Regarding the size of the buttons, the child-narrator says this: "When does little turn to big? I can never tell."

This book sort of touches on that strange time when clutter (I'm talking about mental, physical, and spiritual clutter) accumulates. When does it happen? I can never tell.

I'm actually okay with clutter, and I didn't particularly enjoy this book. Too many quotes, too much mindful this and mindf
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
I think the flavour of this book suits me very nicely. I enjoyed the quotes which allowed me to reflect and think deeply for a few minutes.
The layout and the engaging simplicity of the wording does compel me to do the worksheets. I haven't actually done them, albeit only in my mind. Maybe putting it to paper will do wonders.

I gained new knowledge about references such as Thoreau's Walden pond which I have not heard before this. I also like Carlomagno's ideas about clearing clutter.
Grant Jackson
Short book. Tough read.

This book isn't very long but I had a hard time reading it. There are lots of quotes, lots of blank lines to write notes on (pointless in a Kindle book), and no real continuity to any thoughts. Exercises are suggested but I don't really understand why I should do them or what results I should expect. For a book about simplicity, I found it quite busy.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The author reminds the reader what is really important in life, and how to go after your dreams with perseverance, goals, and fun thoughtful exercises. Lots of great, inspirational quotes on every page as well! Changed my attitude on the everyday, so it gets five stars.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book is easy to read in small chunks, which worked for me because I could reflect on each section. What I didn't like about this book are the large amount of exercises that we are to complete as we go through the book. I was going to give the book 3 starts because I personally didn't feel like doing the exercises, but I thought the book deserved a higher rating considering how much I highlighted sections of it. In particular, I like the Eastern philosophy gems of knowledge that we expertly
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Helpful questions and simple exercises. Nothing earth shatteringly new, but a useful reminder of basic principles for a calm, happy life.
Glenda Lynne
May 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read this book on Kindle, and there were so many errors, that I sometimes completely got lost. Paragraphs would end mid sentence only to pick up on another page or more later after reading something completely different. Such a shame. I plan to ask Amazon for a refund.

As to the content, I think there was a lot there for someone who is just starting out on this path. I was hoping for something new and found very little I had not seen before. That is not the author's fault. I should have believe
Mar 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Introspective people
Recommended to Gloria by: Oprah
Shelves: non-fiction
This is really a workbook that makes you think about what is really important. It interweaves philisophy from the Christian, Buddhist and Hindu traditions. It is a bit "simplistic" but I think would be quite useful for someone starting on a voluntary simplicity journey or project. Author was featured on Oprah.
Dec 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I like books that include worksheets and walk you through all the steps. The book is broken into sections such as release (getting over certain ideas), simplify (how things can be stressing you out), treasure (as in clutter vs. treasure), focus (what's important), and other areas that make you go 'oh yeah' in a thoughtful tone of voice.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Written in workbook form, this is a good choice for visual learners. It may be too new-age touchy-feely for some readers but really the title should give an idea of what's in store for readers. I appreciated the fill-in the blanks and solve your own issues style. I could skip areas where I didn't need to create change and spend time on the areas I felt the need to make changes.
Chris Webber
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." ~Unknown.

This is a simple, back to basics for creating simplicity in your life. It has a questionnaire to help you identify the things in your life causing complexity and then gives you some common sense paths for reducing overall clutter, creating simplicity in your life.

this is a beautifully illustrated book, the flow of logic makes so much sense
I've just finished this book and it is a keeper. I'm considering buying for my collection. It not only inspires, but gives you helpful exercises to work through. I savored the last 2 chapters.
May 14, 2009 rated it liked it
The book is full of pretty illustrations and useful information I think everyone needs to be reminded of regardless of how well organized or simplified their life might be. I couldn't have timed reading it at a better time seeing how I was moving the same week I picked it up from the library.
Jodi Robinson
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding tool for organizing from the inside out. Full of philosphical material that helps you dig deep enough to uncover the clutter. Loved it. Shared it. And can't wait to use it over and over again.
May 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reference
A few good insights and thought-provoking questions to ask yourself. But I think a more serious and thorough approach to the subject would be more helpful, and it seemed to me the author was primarily addressing women; something more balanced would have been appreciated.
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
Nothing earth-shattering new thoughtwise, but the presentation, the calm voice, the approach, all very appealing and thoughtful and helpful - like a good friend reminding you to do stuff you know you should do but keep forgetting or neglecting...worthwhile.
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book to get you moving on simplifying and focusing your life. I liked the "workbook" parts that made you put it on paper and I can refer back to it, mark off my progress and update my goals/accomplishments/priorities.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I'm not really someone who will plow through a workbook. I liked what the author had to say, but it seems like to really get everything out of the book, you should be doing the self-reflection exercises after reading her prompts.
Mar 17, 2009 added it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I can't actually say I read this book cover to cover, but I skimmed through it. There were some good ideas about simplifying, but to be honest, I thought it was a bit too simple. :)
Lisa Albrecht
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a great though provoking work book that will help you evaluate your life and determine what is truly necessary and what is standing in your way.
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I loved the illustrations!
Nov 12, 2009 rated it liked it
I really liked how this book was set-up but it was not very in depth ... more like a journal for you to keep track of your progress toward simplicity
Feb 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
so far so good...simpler is so much easier.
I should especially read the section called "Focus."
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Mary Carlomagno is a bestselling author, organizer, speaker and spokesperson specializing in helping individuals and groups embrace simplicity in everyday life. She is one of the nation’s leading experts on organizing and a frequent contributor on national television, radio and print.

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