Simple Living Ideas

Books, Guides, and Resources

Simple living ideas from modern and ancient writers and pioneers serve us as guides and mentors. We hope you share our enthusiasm for the inspirational and practical knowledge they offer.

The wonderful life we now lead here in the Arizona desert is literally built on the “shoulders of giants”. Our most important simple living guides have come from books - fiction and non-fiction, plays and poems, modern and ancient, spiritual, scientific, how-to.

We have been informed, encouraged, and entertained by books throughout our lives. Now, without the distractions of television and intentionally living a simple life on our desert homestead, we appreciate our books more than ever.

In these pages we offer you a list of the books and other sources that we use daily. We have broken our list up into categories that we hope make sense to you.

Our list will likely never be complete and will be added to often.


Simple Living Ideas by broad category:

These categories are our attempt to group authors and speakers who have visions and messages of some similarity.

Build Your Own House – These books and booklets are the resources we used in building our homestead in the desert.

There are many that we did not include, either because we don’t know them or they were redundant and we didn’t purchase them.

If you have a particularly helpful DIY building guide, please share it with us. We’d be happy to include it and to credit you with the heads up to our readers.


Share Your DIY Experience With Other Readers

Have you built your own house? Shed? Doghouse? All your experience counts. Share the experience of DIY building here.

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Ideas that Inspire We include titles and authors that have inspired us throughout our lives. Though we have had some of these books for more than twenty years, we regularly revisit them like the old friends they are.We will be adding new books regularly.


Wendell Berry, perhaps the most influential author in our lives, is at once a teacher, a novelist, a poet, an essayist, a philosopher, a social critic, an environmentalist, and a farmer. We urge you to explore an alternate world view far away from greed and consumerism.


Howard Zinn spoke for and of the people in the United States specifically and, in principle, of and for all people around the globe. His writings, speeches, lectures, and actions were an ongoing advocacy for equality and justice for all people.


Living Simply – This rather broad category includes authors writing about our earth and its environment, gardening, preserving and using healthy food, frugal living, economic inequality and more.

Michael Sandel, perhaps the most prominent college professor in America, offering a free Harvard course on Justice, has written numerous books on justice, public philosophy, and the role of money in our society.

Mathieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan's book, The Quantum and the Lotus, is a challenging dialog on perspectives of reality as seen by both modern science and ancient eastern philosophy.


We invite both comments and referrals. We would love to hear all about your favorite books and resources.


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