In Simple Prosperity, David Wann argues that in many cases, less is more.
He offers many of the usual examples. For instance, the average American house is big - much bigger than it used to be, even though most have fewer occupants. Those big houses cost a lot of money to buy, maintain, and keep the tax man at bay. They also cost a lot of resources: trees, minerals, energy, and the time needed to keep them up.
Often, those enormous houses are packed with all manner of stuff that the occupants don't really need; things that we may never even have heard of before we bought them, but which some relentlessly self-interested advertiser talked us into believing we had to have. All that stuff may be able to fill the spaces in our houses, but it really can't fill the voids in our lives.
The same goes for the massively oversized vehicles that clog our roads, and the grossly unhealthy and monstrously portioned "food" products that clog our arteries.
Wann's gift is that he can point all of this out without sounding preachy or negative. Rather, his approach is more along the lines of (ironically) an old advertising slogan: Try it - you'll like it!.
Get rid of some stuff and see if it doesn't make you feel better. Work less and spend some of the time you save on what will really improve your life - relationships with people you care about and with the planet. Grow some of your own food. Walk somewhere instead of driving. Live.
As Wann says repeatedly, it's a question of value. Many of us are looking at the wrong price tags, and would do well to recall what Thoreau wrote in Walden: "The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run."
It's better not to trade our brief lives away for junk.
by David Wann
St. Martin's Press