My rating: (5 / 5)
I wish I could convince everyone I care about to read this wonderful, enlightening book.
What does living the “good life” mean to you? Is it an ever more abundant pile of “things” that fill our ever larger homes that we spend less and less time actually occupying? Is it a bigger pile of cash in your bank account or a fancier car or a boat that you barely get to use because of all the hours you have to work to pay for it?
John Robbins, born heir to the Baskin and Robbins ice cream fortune had it all as a child, right down to the ice-cream-cone shaped swimming pool, but he chose to turn his back on the fortune his family had made to pursue a different kind of good life, one centered around the relationships we make with other people, living harmoniously with the earth, and giving back to the world around us rather than relentless consumerism and pursuit of a transitory wealth that won’t carry with us when we leave this earth, no matter how hard we cling to it.
This book examines the trade-offs we make in our lives, from longer work days and dreary commutes to angry, violent children raised by a culture of television and convenience to an earth dying under the burden of too many people using industry to recklessly create too much garbage. How can we find real happiness, real contentment, among the rabble of today’s more-more-more treadmill? When statistics show that once you rise above the poverty level, money does not increase your happiness (the richest tiny percent of Americans are no happier it seems that the simple-living Amish) how do you catch that elusive wish for a good life? Is it by having a family game night? Using green cleaners in your home? Offsetting your carbon footprint by trying to walk instead of ride, eat vegetables instead of meat?
For everyone there is a balance to achieve, and this book is about finding that balance in your own life. Peppered with anecdotes from his childhood and simple adult life as well as recipes for simple foods and green cleaning products, it’s funny and useful and heartfelt. I appreciated the thought that went into this book, and the easy conversational style that makes it read like a chat with a good friend.