These 10 slow living books will inspire you to do less, make room for what matters, to notice the world around you and to make necessary changes to enjoy your life. If you think you are too busy to slow down, consider what you may be missing in the name of busyness.
Read these slow living books slowly to give them time to work on your heart. Simply carving out time to read them will help you slow down and enjoy a moment for yourself.
10 Slow Living Books To Help You Simplify Your Life
1. Slow: Simple Living For a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary
What is slow living? It’s a way to find happiness by stepping away from the never-ending demands to constantly succeed and acquire more and more. It’s easy to get stuck in the carousel of frantically wanting, buying, and upgrading the things in your life. The philosophy of simple living is about finding the freedom to be less perfect and taking time to enjoy the pure joys of life: a walk in the forest, sharing laughter with family, a personal moment of gratitude. Reconnecting with the living world can help you integrate moments of peace, joy, and mindfulness into an otherwise rapid life.
2. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm in a Busy World by Haemin Sunim
The world moves fast, but that doesn’t mean we have to. This bestselling mindfulness guide by Haemin Sunim (which means “spontaneous wisdom”), a renowned Buddhist meditation teacher born in Korea and educated in the United States, illuminates a path to inner peace and balance amid the overwhelming demands of everyday life.
By offering guideposts to well-being and happiness in eight areas—including relationships, love, and spirituality—Haemin Sunim emphasizes the importance of forging a deeper connection with others and being compassionate and forgiving toward ourselves. The more than twenty full-color illustrations that accompany his teachings serve as calming visual interludes, encouraging us to notice that when you slow down, the world slows down with you. (I’m currently listening to this slow living book.)
3. Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller
It has become our standard greeting: “I’m so busy.” Now, in a book that can heal our harried lives, the author of the spiritual classic How, Then, Shall We Live? shows us how to create a special time of rest, delight, and renewal–a refuge for our souls.
Our relentless emphasis on success and productivity has become a form of violence, Muller says. We have lost the necessary rhythm of life, the balance between effort and rest, doing and not doing. Constantly striving, we feel exhausted and deprived in the midst of great abundance, longing for time with friends and family, longing for a moment to ourselves.
With wonderful stories, poems, and suggestions for practice, Muller teaches us how we can use this time of sacred rest to refresh our bodies and minds, restore our creativity, and regain our birthright of inner happiness. In Sabbath, he has given us a revolutionary tool for cultivating those necessary human qualities that grow only with time: wisdom, courage, honesty, generosity, healing, and love. You’ll want to read this slow living book again and again.
4. Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey
In Rest Is Resistance, Tricia Hersey, aka the Nap Bishop, casts an illuminating light on our troubled relationship with rest and how to imagine and dream our way to a future where rest is exalted. Our worth does not reside in how much we produce, especially not for a system that exploits and dehumanizes us. Rest, in its simplest form, becomes an act of resistance and a reclaiming of power because it asserts our most basic humanity. We are enough. The systems cannot have us.
5. In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging The Cult Of Speed by Carl Honore
We live in the age of speed. The world around us moves faster than ever before. We strain to be more efficient, to cram more into each minute, each hour, each day. Since the Industrial Revolution shifted the world into high gear, the cult of speed has pushed us to a breaking point. In Praise of Slowness is the first comprehensive look at the worldwide Slow movements making their way into the mainstream — in offices, factories, neighborhoods, kitchens, hospitals, concert halls, bedrooms, gyms, and schools. Defining a movement that is here to stay, this spirited manifesto will make you completely rethink your relationship with time.
6. Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price
Laziness Does Not Exist explores the psychological underpinnings of the “laziness lie,” including its origins from the Puritans and how it has continued to proliferate as digital work tools have blurred the boundaries between work and life. Using in-depth research, Price explains that people today do far more work than nearly any other humans in history yet most of us often still feel we are not doing enough.
7. How to Not Always Be Working: A Toolkit for Creativity and Radical Self-Care by Marlee Grace
Part workbook, part advice manual, part love letter, How to Not Always Be Working ventures into the space where phone meets life, helping readers to define their work—what they do out of sense of purpose; their job—what they do to make money; and their breaks—what they do to recharge, and to feel connected to themselves and the people who matter to them. Grace addresses complex issues such as what to do if your work and your job are connected, provides insights to help you figure out how much is too much, and offers suggestions for making the best use of your time. A creative manifesto for living better, it shows you how to carve sacred space in your life.
8. Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
An intimate, revelatory book exploring the ways we can care for and repair ourselves when life knocks us down. Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered. This beautiful slow living book is a memoir that will invite you to reflect on the pace of your own life.
9. Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness by Dominique Browning
In late 2007, Dominique Browning, the editor-in-chief of Conde Nast’s House & Garden, was informed that the magazine had folded-and she was out of a job. Suddenly divested of the income and sense of purpose that had driven her for most of her adult life, Browning panicked. But freed of the incessant pressure to multi-task and perform, she unexpectedly discovered a more meaningful way to live.
10. Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver (yep, me)
Courtney Carver shows us the power of simplicity to improve our health, build more meaningful relationships, and relieve stress in our professional and personal lives. We are often on a quest for more—we give in to pressure every day to work more, own more, and do more. For Carver, this constant striving had to come to a stop when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Stress was like gasoline on the fire of symptoms, and it became clear that she needed to root out the physical and psychological clutter that were the source of her debt and discontent.
In this book, she shows us how to pursue practical minimalism so we can create more with less—more space, more time, and even more love. Carver invites us to look at the big picture, discover what’s most important to us, and reclaim lightness and ease by getting rid of all the excess things.
These slow living books have inspired change in my life and I believe they will work in yours too. Use the inspiration to slow down, consider how you want to spend your time and simplify your life.