The New Good Life

John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and son of Baskins-Robbins co-founder and owner, has written The New Good Life – Living Better Than Ever In An Age Of Less.  It is full of ideas for spending less money while living better and more consciously, but, even better, explores what wealth really means.

It was interesting to read about his walking away from the family business and from any financial assistance from his father to live a simple life on an island off the coast of British Columbia where he and his wife spent about $500 a year.  They grew most of their own food and earned an income from yoga classes and retreats.

It was also interesting to read about the different money types – The Saver, The Innocent, The Performer, The Sensualist, The Vigilant, and The Giver – and to see how our predominant type shows up in the way we think about and deal with money.  As with every area of life, knowing yourself is the first step to freedom.

One fascinating fact that the author brought out is that once a person has their basic needs met and are above the poverty level, the amount of money one has is not a predictor of happiness. When the author lived the simple life on the island, he describes the way he felt as glad, grateful, alive in a way he had never felt before, “at home in myself”, and at peace – words seldom used by the richest of men.

Bottom line:  We need to rethink our ideas about what constitutes prosperity.  Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer said ” One thing I know.  The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought, and found how to serve”.  John Robbins wrote: ” The new good life is yours whenever you appreciate life, whenever you live with a sense of meaning and purpose that goes beyond the material veil, whenever your heart is filled with wonders, large and small.  It is yours when you see life anew, when your faith is restored, when you find the sacred in the midst of the mundane and the beauty of your spirit in the way that you live.”

He also wrote: ” I believe there is a hidden blessing in the economic crisis, in the necessary return to reality from a make-waste society.  Many of us know at some level, that we have become caught up in something deeply out of balance, that we are going way too fast, that we are speeding past too many of the things and moments that could really matter.  Many of us sense that life is too precious and too precarious to live the way we are living.  This book will help you to prosper in times of economic disaster and also to appreciate the sometimes bitter medicine that our society needs in order to regain its soul.”  Well said. . .

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