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Living More With Less

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  423 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Out of print.

In 1980, before living simply and green; became trendy and popular, Doris Janzen Longacre, author of the enormously popular More-with-Less Cookbook (over 900,000 sold), wrote Living More with Less, a practical guide for living in simple, sustainable, and healthy ways--ways that keep the future of the planet, and the plight of poor people, in mind. Thirty year
Paperback, 295 pages
Published June 2nd 1980 by Herald Pr
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  423 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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C. Janelle
Dec 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: simplicity
It took me a long time to read this book. There is a lot to chew on in its pages, and a lot to challenge me towards action within my home and my person, within my community, and within the world at large. I plan to write a more reflective review hopefully in the next day or so, but for now, I just want to note a few things that were particularly interesting to me about this book.

1) This is not just a book for Mennonites. Although it's clear from some of the cultural references and jargon (for la
Marie Bee
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Having grown up in "Amish country" in eastern Pennsylvania, I have always had a healthy respect for and curiosity about the Mennonite community. While reading this book, I was impressed to discover that they are much more progressive than I had thought, choosing to live simply out of a respect for the earth/energy conservation/community values/mindfulness, rather than an outdated fear of evil technologies (as I had assumed). That being said, the book takes on a very preachy tone, and is heavy on ...more
Emilia P
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-books
I read this on the plane home from Texas, with my new smart phone, and my Kindle for playing Fruit Ninja on (and reading a million books!) in my fancy Vera Bradley purse (but I got it for 15 dollars so it's ok right?) ... so my point is, why was I reading it? A couple of reasons -- first of all, we just got home from living out of two big suitcases in China for 4 months, and I'm overwhelmed by having access to my 12 ft truck's worth of STUFF again. So I really want to pare it down. Secondly, we' ...more
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I have a lot of thoughts about this book. It is a fabulous, living giving work of many people full of compelling arguments and practical wisdom. I took a really long time to read this book, partly because I misplaced it but partly because I didn't want to find it again. Reading this book was not a comfortable experience for me.
On the one hand, the Holy Spirit was there convicting me, speaking within me, reminding me of importance and relevance of what I was reading. My best friend's mother came
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I was getting a "Helpful Hints" book when I scooped this up at the library, but when The Syracuse Cultural Workers were mentioned early on ( a group which I am very familiar with and don't always agree with..) I realized I was in a whole different sphere! The book is packed with thought provoking ideas instead of lists helpful hints (sort of what I was looking for! basic mindless hints!) , that's fine but it gets very serious so be prepared! It's mostly about how to live as a good Menn ...more
Feb 21, 2009 rated it did not like it
I haven't looked at this book in eight years, but the fact that I still remember so vividly how much it annoyed me convinced me to write a review. I love Longacre's cookbook (the predecessor to this volume), and I bought this hoping for more practical ideas for living a simpler life. I was expecting some pontificating, since that is inevitable in these sorts of books, but a large part of the book consists of anecdotes built on the "All the evil consumers do X, but I do Y" model. One example stil ...more
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this is an excellent book with very useful information, I did not find it to be particularly helpful because I have been reading these types of books for at least the last 5 years. I am certain that this book was revolutionary when it was written, but this is not the case now.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the original of this book back in the 80s and loved it then. And I love this anniversary edition even more. The speed at which the world has changed in this 30 years is breathtaking, and the social and spiritual implications for our way if lucking are enormous. This book presents these truths and how we respond to the truth in a myriad of ways. I love the practicality of the book, the challenges it presented me, and the variety of voices.

Although it was written from a Christian perspecti
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot to admire about Living More With Less. It's full of stories and tidbits from many individuals, families, and communities who are dedicated to living simple, low impact lives. I love that, and I dog eared a few pages to return to with some tips I'd like to implement in my life.

When I picked this book up at a Free Little Library in DC, I didn't peruse it carefully enough to realize it was published by and for Anabaptist Mennonites. While I appreciated a Christian perspective that I
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book had a lot of why, but also a lot of how. I was challenged to find ways to save resources within my own home. It's so easy to get complacent and just do things out of habit, like throw something alway instead of fix it, drive somewhere close by because it's quicker, and to consume consume consume. I hope I will break some habits and be more mindful of people who are without the things I take for granted. ...more
tonia peckover
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A re-read. Written in the late 70's, early 80's, Longacre asks us to look at every aspect of our lifestyle and consider if it is just and equitable. The treasure of this collection of essays, testimonies and advice is that much of it comes from people living in other countries - often impoverished countries. This brings a tremendous perspective shift that is necessary for the North American reader. It's amazingly timely and pointed advice, even though it was written forty years earlier. ...more
Mar 18, 2021 rated it liked it
I love the concept associated with the book's title, but the revamp of the original publication from 30 years ago doesn't go too far in updating its previous content. Much of what is contained has become common knowledge on many fronts.

While I am not religious, I did find the premise of "Do justice. Learn from the world community. Nurture people. Cherish the natural order. Nonconform freely" to be in line with my own beliefs.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ethics-justice
Helpful book in terms of engaging in the pursuit of justice on a personal and communal level.
Sydney Bollinger
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely enjoyed this. Not too much new information to me, but it's definitely a useful and inspirational resource. ...more
I found this book at ten thousand villages while perusing the usual exciting knick knacks. I bought it not realizing that it was a Christian-themed environmentalism book, so I was a little perplexed by the introduction. Once I'd realized the target audience, I wasn't so confused.

I think this book has a lot of nuggets of thought-provoking wisdom (even for non-Christians). I especially like the idea of 'nonconformity' in that it challenges the standard american ideals of excessive consumerism and
My only issue with this book is that I am now curious as to what the original book was like as this barely seemed to have much by Doris Janzen Longacre, who wrote the original book in 1980. This book is mainly a compilation of more recent accounts of people and how they believe in sustainable living in order to help the creation God put His joy into (the earth, the air, the animals, and most of all the people). How can we help conserve energy or enjoy each other's company more by working togethe ...more
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not realized when I picked this book up that it was meant for Mennonite Christians. I read it anyway and as several other reviewers have noted it is good to take this book in small sections, mull them over, see how it applies to your life.

There is a very broad range of ideas. Some of the suggestions in this book don't even seem frugal to me, they sound like how normal people do things and not us weird conservation freaks. Others are way too extreme for me and a great many fall in the middl
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Doris Longacre wrote the Living More with Less Cookbook in 1976, as part of her Mennonite Community work. This followup book was begun a few years later, but unfortunately Doris died of cancer before she could complete it herself. Others finished it for her and it was published in 1980. It was interesting on several perspectives. First, it had a world view, sharing not only how Americans could live more with less, but also how others, around the world regularly did. Second, in many ways it paral ...more
April Yamasaki
An updated version of Doris Janzen Longacre's classic. Reading it confirmed how much living more with less is already a way of life for me--I certainly don't have to try hard to take a sabbatical from air travel for 6 months! Or to beat eggs with a fork instead of an electric mixer since I don't have an electric mixer anyway! These and some of the other ideas in this book are already second-nature to me, and yet there is also enough to make me reflect on my life--can I do without the car one day ...more
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I also read and own the 1980 version of this book. Happily I also attend a group where we read and share about these topics in person, because the details of the way we live are too easy to ignore or belittle. My group started out reading the chapter on "Money and Stewardship" and, so far, whenever later topics do not spark conversation, we return to money. Money dependably brings up those topics we need to air, confess or question. Insurances, Bank accounts, Car habits, spending on this or that ...more
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible book. Written from the perspective of a Mennonite. Sole focus is about making a conscious choice to do more with less. Tons of ideas for everyday life. Non-Mennonites (like me) can still gain from reading. We in our household already live fairly simply, but this book takes it to an entirely different level. A quote that really tells this book's story: "It sounds too simple, even for a book on simple living. But when we are more content to stay at home, to think and to pray, we ...more
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was actually the 20th anniversary addition. It was a good reminder of how to live more simply but reading it with a woman who talked a lot about doing things to the extreme but was the laziest person I knew kind of ruined it for me. I appreciated the author reminding the reader that these are only examples and that just because you don't do them doesn't mean that you are a horrible human being. The book was just a reminder that we are fortunate and can do more to make sure everyone gets what ...more
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What I'm learning:
1) Simple living isn't something that can really be quantified, and it is a process of learning and being teachable, as well as a position of the heart; much less a place that we "arrive at."
2) There are many practical ways that we can learn from each other, and that we should learn from each other. Specifically, that the western church can learn from the rest of the world.
3) Community unity and nurture are key elements.
Jun 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
One word: Inspiring. Did not read like a 30-year-old book. Sad that most of what the contributors are suggesting still isn't being done on any grand scale. But it made me feel that I'm not alone in the wilderness. Also a delight to hear about what people are doing in other places, and how they view American excess. That it is centered in a peaceful Christianity is also comforting. Oh, yeah. *THAT* Christianity.... ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Two years ago I read the 1980 version of the book. Today I finished the 2010, 30th anniversary edition of the book. The updates to the book were refreshing and held a lot of meaning for me. What a great book to help me make necessary changes in my life as a young adult coming of age in the Great Recession, but also as a member of a Church of the Brethren. I need to live more simply and to live with better purpose so that my global brothers and sisters may also simply live.
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Spiritual Lifestyle Enthusiasts
Shelves: non-fiction
While some of the suggestions may seem a bit austere for some, this is the Mennonite guidebook for living well, but very frugally, all with the intentional of leaving a lighter footprint in the world and perhaps making life a bit better in less advantaged countries. Originally published 30 years ago, this is updated with contemporary examples. There is a definite spiritual tone to it, but even those who are not religious will find many take-aways.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
My first book club book ever! This summer a bunch of friends took the Living More with Less Challenge and we've been making our way through this book, touching base on a weekly basis to discuss our thoughts, our challenges and our successes. I have made many tweaks to the way we do life here at home, and feel like this book will be one I pick up over and over again to continue to challenge myself to be a better stewart of this earth! ...more
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Almost 30 years old and still relevant today with tons of information on how to live simply. Perhaps more relevant in today's world of cutting back than it was even 10 years ago.

I read it right out of college 10 years ago and just skimmed it again. From ideas on how to simplify birthdays and holidays to recipes for ecological housecleaning products, this book has it all.

This book was written in 1980 so some of the tips and ideas are a bit out of date. However, there is still some good information here and the chapter introductions are quite thought provoking. If you are looking for simple living tips you may find a newer book to be more beneficial, but if you are interested in the philosophy of simple living the information here is timeless.
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Doris Janzen Longacre was born February 15, 1940 in Newton, Kansas. She received her BA degree in home economics from Goshen College and did graduate studies at Goshen Biblical Seminary and Kansas State University. With her husband, Paul Longacre, and two daughters, Cara Sue and Marta Joy, she worked with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Vietnam (1964-1967) and in Indonesia (1971-1972). She se ...more

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