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Enough: Lifestyle and Financial Planning for Simpler Living

by Betty Jane Wylie

We are drowning in a sea of too much stuff. Our insatiable desire for material possessions in the Western world is making us unhappy – keeping up with the newest, latest, and greatest means that we never feel satisfied with what we have now because it is already so yesterday. Our melancholy is highly ironic in light of the evidence to the contrary: the amount of energy used by one American equals that used by 3 Japanese or 531 Ethiopians and Eritreans.

That’s Betty Jane Wylie’s prognosis in Enough: Lifestyle and Financial for Simpler Living, a well-researched guide to the voluntary simplicity movement. Voluntary simplicity is opting to eliminate excess from one’s life. It’s up to each individual to decide how much or how little they need. For example, selling your car and living closer to work so that you can walk or bike there has many positive outcomes: less pollution, lower transportation bills (gas, insurance, maintenance, etc.), and free exercise.

Wylie, a journalist, playwright, and author of more than 30 books, exchanged her luxurious Toronto apartment (complete with doorman, whirlpool, and swimming pools) for a very basic cottage in rural Ontario 10 years ago. Having grown tired of spending all her time working to keep up a lifestyle she didn’t have time to enjoy, and which left her feeling emotionally and mentally broke, Wylie decided to radically pare down. She sold or donated the bulk of her possessions, keeping only what she really needed and would fit into her small cottage.

Used to the warm comforts of city life, Wylie gradually changed her habits by doing things like wearing an extra sweater indoors to keep heating costs down in her new home. Consequently, she didn’t need to earn as much money.

In the process of re-evaluating life, Wylie explored the experience of downsizing and numerous examples from other voluntary simplicists. Included in Enough are excellent suggestions for bartering, recycling, and making things instead of buying them. And interwoven with Wylie’s personal account is a brief history of consumption, from the invention of money to the role of the media, saving the environment, education, housing and how-to budgetting. What makes Enough practical is that it’s realistic, not touting any singular route to simplicity: you may need to keep a car, but decide to use it less often and cut back in other areas.


Reviewer: Katja Pantzar

Publisher: Northstone


Price: $19.95

Page Count: 224 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 1-896836-18-6

Released: Apr.

Issue Date: 1998-4

Categories: Reference