The Not so Big Life

Making Room for What Really Matters
Narrated by: Sarah Susanka
Length: 5 hrs and 44 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Have you ever found yourself asking, "Is this all there is to life?" Or wondering if this bigger life you have created is actually a better life? And do you wonder how it all got so out of control? 

In her groundbreaking best seller The Not so Big House, architect Sarah Susanka showed us a new way to inhabit our houses by creating homes that were better - not bigger. Now, in The Not so Big Life, Susanka takes her revolutionary philosophy to another dimension by showing us a new way to inhabit our lives.

Most of us have lives that are as cluttered with unwanted obligations as our attics are cluttered with things. The bigger-is-better idea that triggered the explosion of McMansions has spilled over to give us McLives. For many of us, our ability to find the time to do what we want to do has come to a grinding halt. Now, we barely have time to take a breath before making the next call on our cell phone while at the same time messaging someone else on our Blackberry. Our schedules are chaotic and overcommitted, leaving us so stressed that we are numb, yet we wonder why we cannot fall asleep at night.

In The Not so Big Life, Susanka shows us that it is possible to take our finger off the fast-forward button, and to our surprise, we find how effortless and rewarding this change can be. We do not have to lead a monastic life or give up the things we love. In fact, the real joy of leading a not so big life is discovering that the life we love has been there the entire time. Through simple exercises and inspiring stories, Susanka shows us that all we need to do is make small shifts in our day - subtle movements that open our minds as if we were finally opening the windows to let in fresh air.

The Not so Big Life reveals that form and function serve not only architectural aims, but life goals as well. Just as we can tear down interior walls to reveal space, we can tear down our fears and assumptions to open up new possibilities. The result is that we quickly discover that we have all the space and time we need for the things in our lives that really matter. But perhaps the greatest reward is the discovery that small changes can yield enormous results. In her elegant, clear style, Susanka convinces us that less truly is more - much more.

©2007 Susanka Studios, Inc. (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

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Intense Self-Examination or Fun Read? Up to you!

I listened to this book without really paying attention and I found the anecdotes and insights interesting and enjoyable. Then I bought the print version of this book and started reading it, and I, as a reader, went deeper, doing some of the exercises. Then I listened to the audiobook again (as a companion to the print version) -- and it seemed that I was able to take in the information the author presents at a deeper level.

If you have time, I recommend you try some of the exercises at the end of each chapter (included in the print book -- not sure if they are included in this shorter version of the audiobook). This book seems light and anecdotal, but it is really quite dense (in a good way), with lots to think about and work on. It's really up to how the reader wants to engage with the text. I found that taking one of Susanka's "Not So Big Life" workshops, when it was offered in my area, was also helpful in my getting more mileage out of this book. I recommend it. However a reader chooses to engage with this book, I believe they will find something of value.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but...

I did listen to this entire book and it held my interest throughout. However, at the end I had to ask myself, what did I get out of this? Near the end the author states, "If you've heard anything from this book, it's you listening to you." Someone else described the book as "very New-Agey." I agree.

2 people found this helpful