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Thank you to Libby at Maria’s Bookshop for providing a review copy of The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less by John Robbins.
I like to include books and ideas like this one in my blog because I feel that gratitude and appreciation for what we have and those around us is so important, as is learning to live simply while having the utmost consideration for our communities and environment (and taking action to make a difference).
John Robbins is a humanitarian, author and family man who lives by his word, and graciously offers us many ideas and lessons from his own experiences and challenges.
He’s been instrumental in my life, particularly for his book Healthy at 100: How You Can — At Any Age — Dramatically Increase Your Life Span and Your Health Span. That book came out at a time when I needed to make major health changes and I did — I am very much a different person health and otherwise today than I was just a few years ago. And I’m very thankful for what he offers through his life and work.
I want to thank Robbins and his publisher for sending me a copy of the book so I can donate it to the Durango Public Library — this way more people can read it and have access to the important information within it.
The New Good Life is not just a how-to book about how to make changes in your life financially and otherwise; it’s a testament about gratitude and appreciation from someone who has lived a remarkable — and challenging — life.
At 21, Robbins turned down the opportunity to inherit his father’s company, Baskin-Robbins, and then proceeded to build his own enterprises, living simply yet saving the entire time, eventually investing money so he could continue to live simply yet comfortably (including donating to many causes he believed in).
In 2008 he learned that 95% of the net worth he had built up with his wife over years of saving and investing had been stolen in the Madoff financial fraud. The experience, he said, nearly killed him.
With support of many friends, they climbed out, one step at a time, and this book is partially the result of that experience.
“Born into riches, I’ve gone from there to chosen rags, to self-made riches, to unchosen rags, to now recovering and once again creating self-sufficiency. Through it all, I’ve come to realize that the journey I’ve been on has given me something precious, something actually more valuable than the fortune I walked away from, and worth more than the millions of dollars I earned and saved before they were stolen.”
His intent with the book, he says, is to “help people achieve financial freedom even with a profoundly unstable economy and a world too often succumbing to fear.”
He writes about six money types as archetypes (including “Saver,” “Sensualist,” “Giver” and others), and draws on the work of Brent Kessel, the Enneagram, and the Jungian-based Myers-Briggs typology and others; with chapters including “The Four Steps to Financial Freedom, ” “Eating Better, Spending Less,” and “The Economics of Happiness,” among others. He writes:
“The new good life requires a different set of tools and a different way of looking at things. It doesn’t require abstinence or austerity, but it does ask each of us for a new thoughtfulness about the way we live and a sober skepticism toward the corporate agenda. It does entail a refusal to be entranced by the messages bombarding us day and night from a culture that sometimes seems to be trapped in a hypnotic trance.”
“On the other hand, I don’t think that how thrifty you are is any indication of your level of moral or spiritual attainment. I don’t think the person who spends less is somehow superior to the person who spends more. That would just be the old good life in reverse. That would just be the mirror image of the idea that the person with the biggest house or the most prestigious car or biggest bank account is the more successful human being and has more value than others. I have no desire to replace conspicuous consumption with conspicuous frugality.”
Robbins seems to practice a consistent and deep sense of gratitude and appreciation, primarily for the family and causes he is so devoted to and has been throughout his life.
Robbins is also the author of several other books, including Diet for A New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness, and the Future of Life on Earth; is the founder of the non-profit EarthSave International, and is the recipient of the Rachel Carson Award and the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award.
I highly recommend this book.
Felicia A. Libo MA is a freelance journalist specializing in holistic health and healing, and owns a consulting practice specializing in helping people make positive and sustainable changes using the creative process and energy psychology. She has been a licensed counselor in
The Davoust Family--Bob, Tracy and their sons Josh and Steve--lost their home and most of their possessions to fire last week here in Durango, as you may have seen in this front page article in the Durango Herald. We'd like to help this local family, who are friends of the shop, and we're asking for your help.
Maria's Bookshop will match whatever we collect from the community and create an account for the Davousts, allowing them to replace books they lost in the fire. There's a jar on our front counter; if you can't come by in person, please send a check made out to Maria's Bookshop, 960 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301 ("Davoust Family" in the memo line) and we'll add it into the pot. We'll accept donations through June 20th.
Jasper Welch, a friend of the family, has set up this blog to help share information about how the Davousts are faring.
Questions? Feel free to send them to email@example.com.
Thanks for helping us help this great local family.
Rarely a day goes by without someone wandering in the shop to ask if we're hiring. More often than not, because the folks who work here enjoy working here, the answer is, "Not right now, but you're welcome to fill out an application." Sometimes, however, new and exciting opportunities arise for one of our staff members, and a coveted spot opens up. Like now.
We are currently hiring for a part-to-full-time bookseller to join our staff. Closing date for applications is Sunday, June 6th, and we plan to have a hiring decision made no later than Wednesday, June 16th.
Maria’s Bookshop has served
We are seeking enthusiastic readers with previous experience in bookselling or a desire to learn. General skills we like to see in our new employees include: prior retail or public relations experience, Windows computer experience, an ability to be attentive to details while keeping an eye on the big picture and a constant desire to learn and solve problems. Flexibility and a sense of humor are a must.
All booksellers are required to work a variety of shifts including weekdays, weekends, and evenings. Time-off is restricted during our busiest seasons as follows: during July and August one week is available, and between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day no time off is available. Outside of these times we attempt to be flexible and accommodate employee-scheduling needs.
This position is physically demanding. In addition to being on your feet six to nine hours per day, it also requires the ability to lift heavy boxes, take out trash, shelve books, climb ladders, sweep floors and sidewalks, shovel snow and clean the shop. We try to maintain a comfortable atmosphere for our customers. It is commonly overlooked that our staff works very hard to maintain this atmosphere.
Maria’s Bookshop offers competitive wages and benefits. Starting pay is $9.00 an hour. Benefits include a 40% merchandise discount, and company-matched IRA contributions. There may also be an opportunity for advancement to higher responsibility jobs including managerial positions.
You now know more of what this job at Maria’s Bookshop entails. If you believe you are a potential candidate, we invite you to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an application. Please pay particular attention to the questions on the back of the application. They help us to get to know you better. Include a resume and any additional information if you feel it will help us in making a decision about your qualifications for this position.
Aleatoric? What's that? Find out in our latest Word video, in which Shay creates aleatoric art after stumbling across it in City Secrets Books, a cool collection of essays by famous writers writing about some of their favorite books.
Know what a funambulist is? Shay does...and he's ready to show you, in ou latest video, inspired by Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin.
It took Elaine Aron 10 years to research and write The Undervalued Self, her most recent book, and it is well worth the wait. She's recognized internationally as one of the leading scientists studying the psychology of love and close relationships.
Aron is a psychologist and the bestselling author of The Highly Sensitive Person (and subsequent books on that subject), which illuminated the lives of many, many people and their children, parents, partners, friends, colleagues and families. I've used her books many times personally and professionally.
She writes in the introduction: "Despite all of our work on improving self-esteem in the past decades, the undervalued self is still with us, tagging along and causing trouble." Research has shown, she says, that "Positive thinking and self-affirmations can make those with low self-esteem feel even worse about themselves."
Aron specializes in social psychology and the study of love and "linking" (our natural tendency to like and support each other) as well as the study of power and "ranking." She integrates her expertise with the highly sensitive person temperament into a book which not only synthesizes 10 years of extensive research, but offers practical steps for improving relationships, communication and the ability to connect with others.
This is a great book for professionals who work in the healing and other professions, as well as for parents, teachers, individuals and others who want to learn more about how to connect better with others as well as heal themselves. I highly recommend this book.
Felicia A. Libo, MA is a freelance journalist specializing in holistic health and healing, and owns a consulting practice specializing in helping people make positive and sustainable changes using the creative process and energy psychology. She has been a licensed counselor in
An informal survey around the bookshop indicates that this one just might be our favorite video yet in our ongoing quest to pump up your vocabulary. Enjoy!
We just can't say enough about this book. Nearly the entire staff has read Karl Marlantes' Matterhorn: A Novel of Vietnam, and not a single one of us has come away from the experience unchanged. We are so honored to be included in Marlantes' book tour; he'll be here in the shop on Sunday, May 2nd, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Because this book has created such an impact on us as readers, we've decided to donate $2 from every copy we sell to our local chapter of Disabled American Veterans. Please, do yourself a favor, and pick it up and then join us for the conversation on May 2nd.
Times are tough. The economy is down, as you well know, and it seems that we hear new reports of bookstore closures every day. With these reports we hear over and over the value a bookstore adds to their community as a place of ideas, debate, community spirit and safety. Unfortunately, these decrees are most often given in the form of eulogy.
I’d like to discuss this though, this idea of bookstore as community center, but with a slight twist. Here’s the deal: A community is not only its virtues. Unfortunately, every community has its share of pain and loss, monsters and victims, the underbelly you won’t read about on the city’s website. There are things we don’t like to speak about in our culture. We live ashamed of our dark underbelly and we try to avoid looking at it.
This is where your local indie bookstore comes in. I’ll explain in a moment.
We all have those books that we feel we need to see on a bookshelf, whether we own the books already or not. Maybe you love to see that a store or library has everything Woolf wrote, or you need to see every Shakespeare play, or you can’t be in a room without Sylvia Plath, etc. This is all well and good, but I submit that this isn’t necessarily “crucial.” This can be argued, and yes, I think literature is crucial, but I’d rather spend my time making sure that that one book that can help that one person in need is available for them when they come in looking. We try, of course, to have as much of what as many people are looking for as possible, with the caveat that we try to stock the books you won't see elsewhere in town. We try to serve a reading community that wants more than what is being offered at City Market, but I digress.April, as you may or may not know, is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
We often only get one shot to help someone. I’ve seen it so many times, someone browses for a while, often a long while, until they work up the courage to look for that book about getting out of an abusive relationship, or how to overcome a crystal meth addiction. Sometimes they need help finding it, and in these moments I’ve seen some of the most courageous efforts I can imagine; they will ask for help finding a book that discusses the darkest secret of their souls. To make it all the more courageous, they are asking a stranger. You will never convince me that it is more important to have the Decameron on the shelf, than The Verbally Abusive Relationship, or Overcoming Crystal Meth Addiction, or Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse. These are books for people who need help now. They’ve made an incredibly difficult decision to seek information on how to fix something awful in their lives and they deserve all the help and the compassion a stranger can give.
So often, a bookseller is the first person to hear of these things, simply because we are there at the crucial moment. We’ve given phone numbers to SASO or Alternative Horizons, or Our Sister’s Keeper, sat with people as they wept, torn the covers off of books and pasted on different covers so people can take books home, etc. (Consider this: If someone is not living in a safe place, online ordering may not be an option.)
This is the quiet part of what bookstores do for a silent part of the community that we, as a culture, try to ignore. When you think “bookstore” you probably think of great fiction, fun reads, scathing political diatribes, etc. Please, if you need it, or if someone you know needs it, also think “help.”
Renowned Author, lecturer and Noble Peace prize nominee Andrea Smith will be speaking on the relationship between sexual assault and oppression. Andrea Smith is a Cherokee, intellectual, feminist, and anti-violence activist. Smith's work focuses on issues of violence against women of color and their communities, specifically Native American women.