Thursday, May 8, 2014

Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest For a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life by Nancy Sleeth

Reposting this review of one of my favorite books that encourages simple living.

Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest For a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life by Nancy Sleeth, Tyndale House Publishers, $14.99 list price, paperback.

From the publisher:
Have you ever stopped to think, Maybe the Amish are on to something? Look around. We tweet while we drive, we talk while we text, and we surf the Internet until we fall asleep. We are essentially plugged in and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rather than mastering technology, we have allowed technology to master us. We are an exhausted nation. No one has enough time, everyone feels stressed out, and our kids spend more hours staring at a screen each week than they do playing outside.

It’s time to simplify our lives, make faith and family the focal point, and recapture the lost art of simple living. Building on the basic principles of Amish life, Nancy Sleeth shows readers how making conscious choices to limit (and in some cases eliminate) technology’s hold on our lives and getting back to basics can help us lead calmer, more focused, less harried lives that result in stronger, deeper relationships with our families, friends, and God.


I admire people who are able to do what this author did in making the choice to limit or even eliminate technology that wastes time and resources, and choosing instead a simpler lifestyle patterned after that of the Amish.  I live in an area that has large Amish and conservative Mennonite communities so I'm aware of the kinds of things the author is writing about and while I'm careful to not put the Amish up on a pedestal as being more holy or better than everyone else, I do admire their thriftiness, respect for natural resources, and the focus on relationships and community instead of Facebook status updates or following friends on Twitter.

What I liked about this book is that, while based on Biblical principles, it isn't preachy about "save the earth" but instead offers tangible ways we can live a more sustainable lifestyle that benefits not only the environment but our overall health as well.  Incorporating conscious choices about how we will eat, what kinds of homes we will live in, methods of transportation, how we will dispose of trash, and how we will spend our waking hours can all add up to a life that is less stressful and often more economical.

The chapters include the topics of home, technology, finances, nature, simplicity, service, security, community, families, and faith.  In each, Sleeth compares the standard American way of living in each of these areas to that of the Amish.  She isn't suggesting that anyone live without electricity, meet in homes for Sunday services, resort to horse and buggies for transportation, but she does offer tips on how to transition from a wasteful, technology based lifestyle to one that is more simple.

The chapters I appreciated the most were the ones on home (Amish homes are simple, uncluttered, and clean) and technology (technology serves as a tool and does not rule as a master).  The chapter on security was also good as it points to the truth that the only true security, despite technology and everything else, is found in God.

This is a great book for anyone who desires to live a simpler life.  For me, it serves as a motivational resource without guilt or feeling I have to "go Amish" in order to achieve that kind of life.

1 comment:

All comments are moderated. Those that include links to other websites, are from anonymous users, spam, inappropriate, or not in response to the book reviews will be tagged as spam and the sender blocked from future commenting at this blog.