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Publisher's Summary

In The Wisdom of the Shire, Noble Smith sheds light on the life-changing ideas tucked away inside the classic works of J. R. R. Tolkien and his most beloved creation—the stouthearted Hobbits.

Drawing on The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other tales of Middle-earth, Smith shows how a snug hobbit-hole is actually just a state of mind and how even the smallest person can have the valor of a Rider of Rohan. He explores subjects dear to a halfling’s heart, such as beer, food, and friendship, as well as more serious concerns, such as courage, living in harmony with nature, and good versus evil.

How can simple pleasures such as gardening, taking long walks, and eating delicious meals with friends make you significantly happier? Why is the act of giving presents on your birthday instead of getting them such a revolutionary idea? And how can we carry the burden of our own "Ring of Power: without becoming devoured by it? The Wisdom of the Shire holds the answers to these and more of life’s essential questions.

Noble Smith is an award-winning playwright who has worked as a video game writer, documentary film producer, and media director of an international human-rights foundation.

©2012 Noble Smith. Foreword 2012 by Peter S. Beagle (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The Wisdom of the Shire is an idea whose time has unquestionably come…. I'd buy it like a shot, give copies away to deserving friends, and keep it by the bed for bad nights." (Peter S. Beagle, award-winning author of  The Last Unicorn)
"How to live long and prosper, Hobbit-style…. Tolkien fans breathlessly awaiting Peter Jackson’s upcoming three-part feature film will be pleasantly satiated with this self-help guide channeling the effervescent spirit and timeless morality of the much-loved Hobbit population,…The author's many comparisons between the ‘safe, warm, comfortable’ facets of Hobbit life and contemporary reality lived outside Middle-earth are creative and satisfyingly good-natured…. Interwoven throughout the text are factoids about Tolkien’s life….A life-affirming, must-have morsel for Tolkien's colossal fan base." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Delves into Middle-earth to show us how Tolkien can instruct us how to live a better life on Regular-earth." ( The Boston Globe)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ingwe
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 03-12-13

Thought Provoking

Any additional comments?

If you are a fan of Tolkien, this is a very fun read. Applies the truths in the books/movies to today's life. Not really a self-help book, but contains truths we should all live by, along with interesting tidbits about Tolkien's life and writing.

I originally bought this audiobook as a gift for someone else. He raved about it, so I had to listen to it, and I totally agree with him.

At the end, there is a Hobbit Test to test your Hobbitishness.For example, you get points if you have ever called someone an "Orc" in anger. Great fun!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great advice to move toward more simple living

Where does The Wisdom of the Shire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I really enjoyed it a lot and have listened to it more than once. So that's something considering there are still a few things I haven't gotten to yet. It's hard to compare it to other genres though. It doesn't have plot or twists or things of that nature like a novel. But it's very good.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wisdom of the Shire?

I particularly like the parts where he gave practical examples of ways he did things to follow the "Wisdom of the Shire"

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

There are no characters per se, so this doesn't really apply

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes very much so. I didn't quite make it but I did get most of the way through.

Any additional comments?

While you can see a bit of politics creeping into the text, it's not heavy and it's only in a couple short spots. Overall it's a very good, inspiring book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Douglas
  • Clearfield, UT, United States
  • 10-31-14

Jolly Good Fun

If you could sum up The Wisdom of the Shire in three words, what would they be?

I enjoyed this recording tremendously. Some may think it odd--given an American has written this book--to have Simon Vance record it, but I wish his voice was on everything Hobbit. The author leans a little to Tolkien's left, I think, but so do I so no objections there. The first go-through, this was bathtub listening, but a second excursion had me reading along. I even took the time to make the soup.

What other book might you compare The Wisdom of the Shire to and why?

I'm always searching the Shire Public Library, so who knows? Might be anything.

What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A good hobbit personality

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

curiousblacksquirrel.com approves!

The narrator did a stunning job, and the author brought to life many of my own thoughts. Very happy to have stumbled upon such a curious book! curiousblacksquirrel.com approves! Enjoy and Stay curious humans!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A very unique self help book

I listened to this with my husband and we both loved it. The only negotiate I have is that if someone is reading a philosophy book about living like a hobbit, they have probably read the series. All the Shire notes started to drive me a little crazy, but overall it was an amazing book and I am already recommending to everyone.....

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant narration!

Finished this book twice so far, and it never fails to calm down my anxiety and make me feel all warm and cozy.

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Disappointing

Would you try another book from Noble Smith and/or Simon Vance?

Not Noble Smith based on this book but the narrator was very good.

What could Noble Smith have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

This sounds like a high school book report. It is about 90% a summary of the Hobbit and LOTR with a few of the author's opinions thrown in. Maybe if you haven't read Tolkien in a while it might be a nice refresher, but being a big Tolkien fan I don't need a summary. Also, it irritates me when he says Bilbo "could care less." It's couldn't! An author should know that.

What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's a good narrator

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Wisdom of the Shire?

I would have focused more on an original piece, using the Tolkien works as an awesome reference, but not simply paraphrasing the whole series.

Any additional comments?

So much potential, that's why it's disappointing. A great idea but not fleshed out.

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  • Emily
  • Jacksonville, FL, United States
  • 12-20-15

Witty and delightful romp through Middle-earth

Where does The Wisdom of the Shire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is an excellent listen for Tolkien fans. Unlike the superficial and sometimes overly Christianized morality books that use Tolkien's work to preach at readers, Noble Smith's creation is witty, thoughtful, and down-to-earth.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Simon Vance is, as always, a superb narrator! I've listened to many of his other works, my favorites being the Temeraire series and The Picture of Dorian Gray. This book is particularly delectable because of Vance's skills with accents and levity.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I loved it! It was a wonderful and lighthearted way to spend several hours.

Any additional comments?

Noble Smith approaches Tolkien's work with the ardor and respect of a real enthusiast. He doesn't use the work to justify his own agenda; instead, he takes a whimsical look at what Tolkien's work can teach those of us living on Modern Earth.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rose
  • Oakland, Ca
  • 10-14-15

A wonderful book and a joy to listen to

I love it and disappointed when it ended
The narrator was superb I like how the author integrated his own life experiences into the wisdom of the shire. I would recommend this book highly

1 of 2 people found this review helpful