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Ready to unplug and slow down? These 26 books about simple living will help you get out of the hustle and bustle of modern life and sink into something slow and cozy. Make yourself a cup of tea and unwind with one of these simple living books!
What is simple living?
Simple living is a lifestyle that takes a few steps back in time. So many of us are hooked on our devices. We scroll for fun. Even when they aren’t, we sense our phones vibrating. We think in terms of hashtags and posts. We check our devices compulsively.
Everything is immediate. Everything is right now. We are so used to instant gratification, to our order being delivered the next day.
Simple living is an intentional lifestyle that aims to find a balance between the competing interests of the modern world and our own need for rest and downtime. Instead of work-work-work, simple living is about cycles of rest and productivity. It’s about living within your means (economically and environmentally) and experiencing the pleasure of having less.
Is simple living the same as minimalism?
You can practice simple living without being a minimalist, but minimalists likely practice simple living strategies like…
- Making do without something
- Caring for the same items again and again
- Prioritizing family and connection, not shopping
- Being thoughtful with your time & purchases
The 26 Best Books about Simple Living to Help You Unwind
Simply Living Well: A Guide to Creating a Natural, Low-Waste Home – Julia Watkins
My favorite thing about this book (besides the absolutely stunning photography) is the author’s focus on natural, sustainable living. I love her blog (and Instagram profile). She’s all about living a low-waste life (and we are too!). Think homesteading…but without the chickens. Drying herbs. Stoneware bowls. Time in the garden. Watching the light shifting on the wall. Beautiful.
The Simple Home – Rhonda Hetzel
Looking for a book to ease you through the transition to a simple lifestyle? This is Hetzel’s expertise! In this book, she’ll help you shift towards a simpler life one month at a time. This book is ideal for beginners who want to learn how to cook from scratch, clean without chemicals, and run your home.
Seeking Slow: Reclaim Moments of Calm in Your Day – Melanie Barnes
In just 128 pages, Barnes keeps simple living as it should be: simple. She offers specific acts for you to slow down and feel more present. I especially love her focus on seasonal living as that’s been a transformative practice in reducing my anxiety.
The Art of Simple Living – Shunmyo Masuno
If you’re someone who needs more action and less philosophizing, this book is for you! It features 100 daily practices from a zen monk, including things like putting down your fork between bites, taking in the sunset and more. This is perfect for a 100 Day challenge!
This is Home: The Art of Simple Living – Natalie Walton
This text is all about positioning your home as the heart of your simple lifestyle. It’s all about home design and crafting a home you love. It’s packed with photos to inspire you on your journey, too!
The Abundance of Less: Lessons from Living in Rural Japan – Andy Couturier
This book shares the stories of 10 people who swapped the business of everyday life for slower lives in rural Japan. In the process, they found the abundance you can experience from requiring less. An important less!
Almost Amish – Nancy Sleeth
How many of us have looked to the Amish and wondered if they’ve got this whole thing figured out? More play, more nature, more community; less technology; less rush. Learn about the lessons the author learned in her journey to a simpler life.
Mindful Simplicity: Practical Strategies for Finding Harmony in Your Home, Work, and Life – Yolanda Acree
At the heart of simple living is a desire for a feeling grounded and balanced, for having a sense of inner peace. Mindfulness can offer lessons for this journey, including strategies for achieving balance across the different parts of our lives.
Living Slower: Simple Ideas to Eliminate Excess and Make Time for What Matters – Merissa Alink
Newly released in 2022, Living Slower is the second book by the author of Little House Living. I’ve followed Alink’s blog for years.
She’s an expert in helping people live a different type of life: one slower, less processed, and handmade. This book takes her message of frugal self-sufficiency a step further by helping readers develop an intentional practice of slowing down.
This book has Christian overtones, but there are lessons to be learned for people of all backgrounds.
Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life – Tish Harrison Warren
I absolutely love how Warren reframes the mundane reality of everyday life as something sacred, something to behold. This book about simple living is perfect for people who are always rushing to the next thing.
The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential – Leo Babauta
This book helps you get a handle on what really matters to you so you can be more focused and intentional both at work and at home.
Things That Matter – Joshua Becker
Becker is a loud voice in the intentional living world and for good reason. He has a way of speaking right to the heart of things. I’ve enjoyed reading his posts and weekly newsletters for years and his new release, Things That Matter, is a must-read for people ready to live intentionally.
The Year of Less – Cait Flanders
This book dives deep in Flanders’ journey to shift her relationship with stuff. Instead of just decluttering a cabinet or a drawer, she completely changed her relationship with consumerism for good and inspires others to do the same.
McAlary is the blogger behind Slow Your Home. In this book, she shares rituals to help you find peace even in the messy chaos of regular life. She has several other titles to help you too.
Grounded: Slow, Grow, Make, Do: A Companion for Slow Living – Anna Carlile
This book hits the nail on the head for me. I believe that simple living is really about reclaiming our connection to the earth and feeling rooted. That’s Carlile’s whole focus in this book, which she loaded with stunning graphics and simple practices to reclaim our connection to the planet.
The Cottage Fairy Companion – Paola Merrill
I was a little hesitant about this book by a famous YouTuber, but it seriously exceeds expectations. Merrill’s meditations, questions to ponder while your plants are growing, and other exercises truly help you sink into a slower, more simplistic life. Plus, it’s gorgeous.
Sustainable Minimalism – Stephanie Seferian
Seferian is the host of the amazing podcast Sustainable Minimalists and is a veritable font of knowledge about shifting your relationship with consumer culture while also taking small steps to help the planet.
If you’re craving a less stressful, less cluttered, less wasteful life, Sustainable Minimalism is the book for you.
The Joy of Less – Francine Jay
The secret to simple living is really accepting the idea that less is more. Jay will energize you to launch your decluttering project and help you complete those projects once and for all. It’s way easier to slow down and simplify when you don’t feel overwhelmed by a mountain of clutter.
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times – Katherine May
Bear with me as this isn’t exactly like the other books on simple living. One of the most important tenets of simple living is accepting every season of life.
In this book, May helps you understand the role of rest and of giving yourself some time. If you’re an always-on people pleaser or struggle to give yourself room to grieve, grow, process, and heal, make some space for this title this year.
Everything That Remains – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus
Millburn and Nicodemus were some of the most prominent voices advocating for minimalism over the last 10 years.
In Everything That Remains, Millburn and Nicodemus share their personal journey to find out what happens when they focus more on people and less on stuff.
Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit – Lyanda Lynn Haupt
This is the book I’ve been waiting for. I’ve always believed that one day, science will start to catch up to the knowledge and folkways of people across time. Haupt writes like a mystic enamored with the beauties and tragedies of the everyday.
Rooted invites you to uncover your inner child and allow different, sometimes competing, schools of thought to find peace together.
Seasons at the Farm – Shaye Elliot
I’ve been following Shaye Elliot and The Elliot Homestead since 2012. She is an exceptional storyteller who sweeps you right up into her life.
This book breaks down life during the four seasons on her Washington farm, inviting you to join in with special recipes, decor ideas, and more.
This book is a lighthearted but touching way to introduce you to shifting how your home, meals, and energy level at different times of the year.
Zero Waste Home – Bea Johnson
Johnson is one of the pioneers of the zero waste movement. In this book, she helps people new to this way of living understand how zero waste living is really just a return to a simpler life. If you’re ready to produce less waste in 2023, this is the book for you.
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living – Shauna Niequist
Every time I pick up this book, I hear a quiet “yessss” streaming from inside of me.
Niequist is a masterful writer and I love, love, love her message that it’s better to be your true, imperfect, flawed self full of grace and wonder and compassion than this stressed-out machine trying to be everything to everyone at all times.
If you’re feeling like you’re not even sure who you are anymore, please pick up this book.
Soulful Simplicity – Courtney Carver
Carver is the blogger behind Be More With Less and Soulful Simplicity is the story of how her life changed when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When your body says no to doing all of the things all the time, you have to reimagine a new life.
This is the kind of book that can change someone’s life. If you’re feeling stuck between who you want to be and who you have to be, try this one. Carver is a phenomenal, raw writer you’ll really relate to and trust.
Which simple living books are your favorite?
Have you read any of these? Do you have another suggestion to share? Add it in the comments below.