The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less by John Robbins
Jeff and I read this book together. It was one of those times I was just browsing books and stumbled upon it. I read his earlier bestseller, Diet for a New America, years ago and thought he was brilliant. I didn’t recall much about his life other than the fact that he walked away from the Baskin-Robbins fortune. In this book you learn more about his journey, following his dream and making it doing something he loved and felt passionately about. Then he is ripped off in an investment scam. He loses his entire life savings AND is put in financial despair, very nearly losing his home.
He talks about measuring our happiness and success through a different filter. Instead of acquiring more and more material things, he proposes what makes us truly happy is living simply and true to yourself. He believes we need to learn financial restraint and define a new meaning of what success is. It’s not an ordinary book on frugality because he’s not suggesting living in a deprived state but that we carefully consider how and why we buy things and suggests that material things are definitely not what truly matters. There is a chapter on understanding you and your partner’s financial type and then he talks about how to achieve financial freedom.
I found the chapter on assessing how much you actually make really interesting. He includes costs I’d never considered before. I was struck by the cost in time, energy and money for “decompression” after the work day in particular. I’d never considered my booze budget a cost of working before.
He also talks about how to eat. He’s a vegan and in addition to costing less, he speaks very clearly on how how a vegetarian diet would help save our planet. I particularly like this line, “People have begun comparing little or no animal products with driving a Prius (“Vegetaranism is the new Prius”) and likewise compared eating meat with driving a Hummer. But this comparison, as striking as it is, actually understates the amount of greenhouse gases that stem from meat.”
I find myself continuing to think about many of the gems in this book. I’ve thought for years that simplifying life as much as possible is the key to feeling peaceful for me. This book gives lots of steps and guidelines on how to do that. I highly recommend it.
What Amazon says: How do you define the good life? For many, success is measured not by health and happiness but by financial wealth. But such a worldview overlooks the important things in life: personal contentment, family time, spirituality, and the health of the planet and those living on it. A preoccupation with money and possessions is not only unhealthy, it can also drain the true joy from life.
In recent years, millions have watched their American Dreams go up in smoke. The international financial collapse, inflation, massive layoffs, and burgeoning consumer debt have left people in dire financial straits—including John Robbins, a crusader for planet-friendly food and lifestyle choices, who lost his entire savings in an investment scam. But Robbins soon realized that there was an upside to our collective financial downturn: Curtailed consumerism could lead us to reassess our lives and values.
The New Good Life provides a philosophical and prescriptive path from conspicuous consumption to conscious consumption. Where the old view of success was measured by cash, stocks, and various luxuries, the new view will be guided by financial restraint and a new awareness of what truly matters. A passionate manifesto on finding meaning beyond money and status, this book delivers a sound blueprint for living well on less. Discover how to
• create your own definition of success based on your deepest beliefs and life experience
• alleviate depression, lower blood pressure, and stay fit with inexpensive alternatives for high-cost medications
• develop a diet that promotes better health—and saves you money
• plan for—and protect yourself from—future economic catastrophes
• cut down on your housing and transportation costs
• live frugally without deprivation
• follow in the footsteps of real people who have effectively forged new financial identities
The New Good Life provides much-needed hope and comfort in a time of fear and uncertainty. Here is everything you need to develop high-joy, low-cost solutions to life’s challenges. Practical and timely, this book equips you with the skills needed not only to survive but to thrive in these challenging times.