Living the Simple Life
Elaine St. James

I'm torn on this book, for while it does offer quite a lot of practical advice, it's also quite self-indulgent at times and the tone is rather smug and dismissive in many places.  At times it sounds like she's trying to be humorous, but comes across instead as being out of touch with her audience.  And the concept of audience is also important--it's hard to tell just what her intended audience is.  She and her husband obviously are doing extremely well financially, and she claims that she is still emotionally attached to her BMW--just two little indications among many that her audience is more appropriately members of the lower-upper class who have problems with too many social events and too much clothing and too many pots and pans and other things.

Of course, there is a lot of practical advice here, though it is the third book in a series, and several reviewers on Amazon mention that most of the information here also can be found in her first two books.  But if you don't have those, it sounds like owning just one of the three would be the best bet, and it's your choice as to which one is best for you.

This book offers 100 tips for simplifying, from "Getting Rid of Stuff" to "Learning to Say No" to "Simple Wardrobe Ideas" for women and men.  Each tip is about two short pages long, so you can easily go through two or three in a sitting to give yourself food for thought as you go about your day.

The writing style is friendly and approachable, even if the life situations described aren't familiar ("hire a personal organizer to help you").  There is a lot that can be taken from here, and a lot that could have been left out--if you can take thirty good ideas from the book, then it just may be worth it.
Our rating:  B-
Amazon rating (September, 2012):  3.8 of 5, 37 reviews