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Summary

If there is one thing that most of us aspire to, it is, simply, to be happy. And yet attaining happiness has become, it appears, anything but simple. Having stuff - The Latest, The Newest, The Best Yet - is all too often peddled as the sure fire route to happiness. So why then, in our consumer-driven society, is depression, stress and anxiety ever more common, affecting every strata of society and every age, even, worryingly, the very young?  

Why is it, when we have so much, that many of us still feel we are missing something and the rush of pleasure when we buy something new turns so quickly into a feeling of emptiness, or purposelessness, or guilt?

So what is the route to real, deep, long-lasting happiness?  

Could it be that our lives have just become overly crowded, that we've lost sight of the things - the simple things - that give a sense of achievement, a feeling of joy or excitement? That make us happy. Do we need to take a step back, re-prioritise? Do we need to make our lives more simple? 

Kate Humble's fresh and frank exploration of a stripped-back approach to life is uplifting, engaging and inspiring - and will help us all find balance and happiness every day.

©2020 Kate Humble (P)2020 Octopus Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"Simply wonderful." (Ben Fogle) 

"Kate's book has the warmth and calming effect of a log fire and a glass of wine. Unknit your brow and let go. It's a treat." (Gareth Malone) 

"Kate Humble pours her enviable knowledge into attainable goals. It's a winning combination and the prize - a life in balance with nature - is definitely worth claiming." (Lucy Siegle) 

What listeners say about A Year of Living Simply

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Middle class simplicity

It’s difficult to see the simplicity in driving 6 or 7 hours to “live simply” in a house in France. It doesn’t seem very environmentally friendly either. Gardening on a 3 acre plot isn’t something most of us can do, nor is getting our gardening or simplicity advice from famous people. There’s nothing wrong with being middle class (I am, I think), but it oozes from this book, and the simplicity talked about is really more of a winding down between hectic periods in a successful TV presenter’s life. There’s nothing wrong with any of it, just not what I was hoping for.

46 people found this helpful

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simple living- if you have a good income

I haven't even finished this book yet but a few things have irked me.

it would be lovely to be able to travel by train, take the slower path, rather than fly - but that isn't an option for many people if it's cheaper to fly. We can't all pay someone to teach us to make bread, advise on our garden, or buy the kind of toaster that can be repaired.

I'm listening to it feeling guilty for binning my twelve year old toaster bought for twenty quid way back when. I couldn't then, nor could I now, afford a repairable Dualit toaster as described.

In some ways it feels like a long reiteration of the Sam Vimes "Boots" theory of economics by Terry Pratchett - that a wealthy person can spend £100 on a pair of boots that will still be going strong a decade later, while a poorer person can only afford £20 on a pair that will last a year. Ten years later the poor person has spent twice as much on boots and still has wet feet.

Interesting listen, but maybe I already live simply, maybe I just don't understand because I've never been in the financial position to do otherwise.

(and this was written before I got to the box of mangoes!)

26 people found this helpful

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Middle class problems! Middle class drivel!

If you have the money to buy your own land and lake, and hardly work, then this could be the book for you!

17 people found this helpful

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Desperate Drivel

This is a dreadful book, a condescending narrative and and patronising listen, frankly the unearthing of the obvious in an incoherent rambling format but which will appeal to carbon guzzlers who want to feel good by recycling the packaging containing their internet shopping while they're stuck at home unable to get on an aeroplane or visit their second home. I'm an infrequent reviewer and uncomfortable critiquing someone's hard labour, but in this case was sufficiently incensed to feel it necessary.

12 people found this helpful

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Ended up feeling irritated!

Before I started listening to this, I vaguely liked Kate Humble, but had no strong feelings either way. However, having got through the story to the end, I find myself deliberately avoiding watching anything on TV with her in it.

The story was ok, it was relaxing to listen to on my long journeys to work, but I did not look forward to listening to it like I normally do with an Audible book.

I just felt aggrieved that she was promoting this simple life, but much of it would only be possible if you had the time and the funds to pursue it. So not really so simple then! And I felt she was slightly judgmental of those who didn’t aspire to these things whilst at the same time trying to be self deprecating about her own abilities eg with making bread.

Maybe I’m doing her a disservice as we could not be more different - her being long time married with no children and me being a divorced mum of several kids. I didn’t dislike it enough to ask for a refund on the credit, but I certainly would not want to read / watch anything by Kate again I’m afraid.

11 people found this helpful

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Interesting

A lot of us are trying to live simply and this was an interesting read on people who are doing just that. I shall try some of the recipes that she
quoted.
There was nothing to dislike about this book and I like the fact that she read it herself.
I gave it a 4 because it wasn’t unputdownable (sic). I save 5 for gripping reads!
I gave a 5 on her performance because it added a lot. It was her reading her story.

8 people found this helpful

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My most recommended book ever!

I loved this book!!! I thought twice about buying; have I read this stuff before? I've enjoyed other KH books. It was delicious, informative, cosy, thought provoking, educational, inspiring and incredible. I've recommended it to so many. I have it on audio to listen to while sewing, cooking and driving but I shall buy a copy for the book shelf.

6 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable

Absolutely loved this book, a great mix of stories about Kate and the various people who have inspired her quest for a simpler life.

4 people found this helpful

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A beautiful book

Such a pleasure to listen to. I absolutely loved this book. Very honest and well researched. I highly recommend listening to it.

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

What an inspiring book. Kate Humble has a great view on life and I have been inspired to live a more simple lifestyle.

3 people found this helpful