This work is dedicated to the memory of my mother Beverly (1939-1998) who gave me what common sense I have.
This ebook is my Walden*.
When I wrote these pages, I lived alone, in a studio apartment, near the shore of Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and earned my living by a variety of post-industrial means (investing, my Web site, teaching a class about the Web, writing about the Internet). At present I still live where I wrote these pages.
I came to Milwaukee because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only what was essential in life away from the pretentiousness of the east coast and the frenzy of the west.
I outlined this book with the idea of summarizing my particular viewpoint about a simple life. My previous work made it possible for me to be a freelance writer and to avoid a "real" 9 am to 5 pm job. I therefore took the whole of 1999 as a vacation year, after having spent the previous 18 years in college and various writing projects.
So I looked at my life and how much I enjoyed just living. Being without television, without a car, and living in a modest apartment set me apart from everyone I knew. Yet I observed the frenzy of those who commuted into the city each day to toil in office towers, and I wondered why my life could be the way it was, and what I learned from it. I also recalled what I learned in my previous work in a variety of "real jobs," as an engineer, graduate student, college instructor, and book writer.
I gave up much frenzied activity in exchange for simplicity in Milwaukee. I outlined this book out of my desire to set down what would describe a simple life. I didn't want to write a book about the philosophy of simplicity, or a personal memoir, but a collection of specific things--particular tactics people could use to simplify their lives. I developed these tactics by induction. I first wrote long lists of specific actions; then, I organized these lists according to the categories that emerged: stuff, place, routine, dream, and resources.
When I first wrote this book in 1999, I had the idea of it being printed on paper and sold by a publishing company and thereby return royalties to me. But I never found, in a year's search, a publisher or agent interested in the manuscript. Therefore, I've adapted the text to online form and publish it here as an "ebook." I hope you enjoy it and find ideas in it to simplify your life.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, July 4, 2000
* Walden: Or, Life in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau. See the listing in the books section. I pattern this preface after Thoreau's introduction to his work.
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