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Epicurean Simplicity

Epicurean Simplicity
Stephanie Mills
Island Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 218 p., $22

Consuming for the sake of consuming, going on shopping sprees, outdoing the neighbor next door, having an overabundance of things: Stephanie Mills condemns these ever-so-cherished values of our culture in this delightful, thoughtful and meditative book. Personal and insightful, the author explains that we can lead much more simple and rich lives by carefully observing the natural world around us. Rather than blinding our sense of nature with things, we can learn to appreciate life in its seasons without an abundance of objects blunting our sensitivity to reality. Ms. Mills is not arguing for a monastic lifestyle, but rather one in which modest tastes and a life attuned to nature reveal a different and parallel world to us, harmonious and breathtaking. Her philosophy owes much to Epicurus (hence the title of the book) and Arne Naess, the Norwegian philosopher (and alpinist) who originated "deep ecology," but this book is no dry philosophical tome. Instead, Ms. Mills demonstrates — by her own example — the power, utility and benefits of a simple and less materialistic lifestyle. A fascinating book, highly recommended!

— Edward J. Valauskas, Manager, Library and Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden