O-Books, 2011, 73 pp

ISBN 978-1-84694-541-0

Reviewed by Ian Mowll


This book is part of the ‘Made Easy’ series from the publishers ‘O Books’. It is, therefore, a short book which will appeal to many of us who lead busy lives and who simply want to get to the heart of the matter. And then to begin – or continue – our journey towards a happier and more sustainable life-style.

The wonderful thing about this book is that you can feel the experience and passion of the author leaping out from the pages. The author has had a long-term commitment to low impact living and has lived in cities, villages and even out in the Australian bush. As a result, this is no pie in the sky, “Downshifting in 10 days” type of book. It is written by someone who has been there, done it and has come through it all, more passionate than ever.

The book starts with big picture thinking; seeing the wider context and helping the reader to understand why downshifting is so important. Once you have understood that, you can see that downshifting helps both the planet and people, and ultimately it’s win-win all of the way around. The arguments for downshifting are so many and so convincing that by the end of the book you are left wondering why on earth hasn’t everyone adopted this lifestyle?

It is encouraging to see that the author is so unabashed about spirituality and sees this as an integral part of the process of downshifting. For instance, on page 4 we read that “without meaning, we are robots”. In fact, the author suggests that downshifting helps spiritual growth, which is something that I entirely agree with.

In the “Where” chapter, the reader is encouraged to craft a life that is suitable to him/herself. Good, practical advice for someone like me who finds changing a fuse a challenge. I can start to see that there are many ways that I can work towards a low impact life-style without starting by refurbishing a whole house. Joining in with others is encouraged so that we can all share our skills.

The book ends with a chapter on the practical aspects of downshifting, with ideas, tips and principles to help the reader on his/her way.

This is a book of many golden nuggets. Buy it and you will find many treasures.