This is an excellent book to consult when you are
choosing your city
because you need to understand how the city you might live in
treats pedestrians and land use issues. In brief, free or underpriced parking wrecks a city by spreading out
productive land uses, makes pedestrians miserable, and reduces the chance that you can live a
or car-lite life
in a city. Lack of awareness of market-rate pricing also indicates a backwards city leadership that would likely
block or debilitate all efforts to improve the pedestrian life of a city.
The High Cost of Free Parking
by Donald C. Shoup
This book shines the light on parking, shows how misguided policies drain cities of vitality, and advocates for fair-market prices for curb parking, the return of the resulting revenue to neighborhoods for public improvements, and the removal of requirements for off-street parking. See book notes
- Get Urban!: The Complete Guide to City Living
- by Kyle Ezell
This is a helpful book if you are doing the work of Optimize Your Place. Get Urban outlines how to identify and thrive in a city environment. See book notes.
- How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life
- by Chris Balish
See how liberating
life can be, and how it can help you simplify your life.
- Hooked! Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume, Stephanie Kaza (Editor)
- This book is a collection of essays written by monks, nuns, lamas, and scholars of various schools of Buddhist philosophy who examine the endless drive to acquire. It offers practical ways to combat consumerism on a personal and global level.
- Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream, by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck
- This book discusses the vitality of neighborhoods as improved by connections, mixed uses, human-scale and transit-friendly spaces. It is clearly written in simple language using a logical outline. It should help people who plan cities, develop living spaces, or live in cities to grasp the fundamentals of how to work for better, urban forms. See book notes.
- The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy, by Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko
- You don't have to be poor to save money or live simply. In fact, savings and simplicity are the hallmarks of people who build wealth. This book reveals the habits of the millionaires you may see every day but never suspect are rich.
- Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey
- This energetic financial counselor gives practical advice that directly addresses the source of money problems for people--behavior. Getting your finances in order is key to simplifing your life: write out a budget, spend less than you earn, don't use credit, and save money. Dave Ramsey's method of getting out of debt focuses on changes in behavior (specifically, paying off small debts first to see results and get motivated for further debt reduction, as opposed to debt reduction that relies on complex schemes that people can't follow or could use to rationalize themselves into more debt.)
- Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence, by Joe Dominguez, Vicki Robin
- This is the book for helping you become financially independent so that you can focus on your life's goals.
- Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World, by Linda Breen Pierce, Vicki Robin
- This is a book based on research on what people actually do to simplify their lives.
- Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter, by Elaine St. James
- This is one of the first widely selling books on voluntary simplicity and is a classic in the field. Check out her other books that followed this one.
- Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto, by Anneli S. Rufus
- Voluntary simplicity is not necessarily tied to the idea of being alone, but in this book, the author identifies a connection:
Time spent alone has a way of winnowing the inventory of what we need. It reveals that some of our best delights derive from the intangible--from actions, experiences, thoughts--rather than objects. (p. 54) I think also voluntary simplicity shares some of the same social stigma that Rufus explores so eloquently in her book.
- Walden: Or, Life in the Woods, by Henry David Thoreau
- The famous advice "Simplify, simplify" is in this nineteenth century classic work. Thoreau really didn't stay at Walden Pond every day and night as his book implies, but his ruminations on life and independence have been burned into the American psyche. This edition available at Amazon.com is the excellent Library of America edition. You can also get an electronic copy for free from Project Gutenberg.
- Get Clark Smart, by Clark Howard, Mark Meltzer
- Consumer empowerment is what Clark Howard is all about. His radio show and Web site provide a wellspring of consumer knowledge, skills, and tools.
- Lead Us into Temptation: The Triumph of American Materialism, by James B. Twitchell
- A chilling account of the triumph of materialism in American culture. The author's thesis is that we are not dumb consumers hoodwinked by advertisers. Instead, we easily meet our material needs, so we purchase objects in order to belong to social groups. This book will make you question attitudes about materialism. Most importantly, it may challenge you to define what you want in your life to replace materialism.
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