As part of my Book Riot challenge, I've been trying to read more nonfiction. My life has been complicated, so I chose a book about simplicity: L'art de la Simplicite: Living More With Less by Dominique Loreau. I read the English translation, and it was originally published in French.
This slim volume packs a lot of wisdom into the first few chapters. It's one part declutter movement and one part minimalism. A lot of the tips seem to be aimed at women. One tip is: don't carry a handbag that weighs more than three pounds when full. It sounds simple, but if you're like me, you probably haul around a lot more stuff than you think you need. The author also boldly states that if you carry a handbag, you shouldn't need a wallet; the pocket(s) in the bag should suffice. As someone who has owned a wallet since I knew what money was, that was surprising (and liberating).
The first few chapters give a zen-like outlook on life, but the second part of the book didn't resonate with me as much. A lot of the advice, such as eating less and reducing clutter, is good, but other tips (such as only buying fresh food and never canned, and not eating leftovers) are more strict. Most people can't make such a drastic lifestyle change, due to time, money, or other obstacles. The book also doesn't provide very good advice on health, and at one point discourages therapy, which is necessary for many people.
I'd still recommend reading the first part of the book, and have re-read parts of it because it is so light and optimistic. I'd have liked the parts on minimalism and decluttering to be a little longer, but then again, simplicity is short.