What is the Best Book to Help with Simple Living?

“When it comes to what we writers do……we are like beggars who try to show other beggars where we found bread.” David Brooks (quoting D.T. Niles) The Second Mountain pg. XXX introduction

Simple Living: The search for the best book.

There’s good ones, and some are not so good. I love it when an author shares nuggets of wisdom. Sometimes, a good book will go on a bookshelf and will be read again. I have one that I have read at least four times. Every time I read it, it applies to my life in a different way because I’m in a different place in my life journey. I love good books, do you?

Have you ever read something and had to pause to reread it? Think about it, and chew on it for a while? The “Second Mountain” was mentioned in my travels around the internet sites about living a simple life. My cruising often causes me to see if the local library has the book. I found it there. I’m glad I didn’t buy it.

As a Christian, I read books critically, always measuring up the contents against what the Bible says. Some of the sources that others recommend are really good. Sadly, most of them, Christian or not, have embraced and mixed in great-sounding philosophies that reflect the statement that implies that none of us know the right way-we can only hope we get it right.  

When I read that statement in the introduction of Mr. Brooks book, “The Second Mountain”. I thought that was pretty profound. For about a minute. 

I began to allow that statement to sink into my “truth” drawer. 

Then, the inner self-doubt began. You know how it goes…..

“Yeah. We are all just beggars and we don’t know what we’re doing, really, and all we can do is try to show others the way, and hope we have some bread to give….we don’t know any more than anyone else, and….I hope I can help but I really am only a beggar too…..

Think Critically. Dare to disagree.

It just didn’t sit well with me. I had to find out more information about the author. So, I did a little research on David Brooks and quickly realized that he and I have totally different perspectives on truth and where it comes from. He claims to have had a “spiritual experience” but never mentions the Bible or the real God or Jesus. 

Aaaah. No wonder he thinks we are all beggars. 

I read a couple more chapters. It looks like great things to ponder, but the truth is: this book is a book full of empty philosophy. If he has no idea if his truth works, why is he telling us about it? I don’t understand. He really is a beggar who does NOT know where bread is.

I’m not a beggar.

I know “The Bread of Life” and where my bread comes from. God offers us a very rich treasure full of truth that never, ever changes. The Bible has all the philosophy you need. There’s no “trying” to show others where to find bread. Jesus is the bread of life. So, if I have accepted Jesus as the way of salvation, I do know where bread comes from and I am confident to show you where our bread comes from. 

It’s nothing new to be searching!

It’s amazing that something that Jesus’ disciples puzzled over is in our conversations again today as we seek lives that are meaningful. They wanted to know where he got his “food” (bread) from: 

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. – John 4:34 NIV

Jesus had just told a woman who was the town rejection about water that could cause her to never be thirsty again,

“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – Jhn 4:14 NIV

Food that is satisfying. Water that is satisfying.

I think I would rather follow Jesus! 

So, is the statement true? “We are just beggars, trying to show other beggars where we found bread?”

Yes and no. 

You could say I am a beggar. Or at least, I used to be. Not anymore! I know where food and water are-the kind that is completely satisfying. 

Filed in the “lie” drawer.

That statement by David Brooks is filed the “lie” drawer. There to stay. And be sad about. Sad, because so many of us forget to read critically. David Brooks wrote a book full of philosophy. No real hope. No real satisfaction. On to the next book after that one. Just another mountain that will fall. 

I have to admit, “The Second Mountain” sounded good. I’ve had a “second mountain” myself. I’m sure that most of us go through a second mountain experience at some point in our lives. He’s not writing anything unique.

The real question is, “who will you turn to?” when that happens. 

Will you go to another “beggar”? 

Or will you go to Truth, a person? 

My friend, there are so many good books based on the truth of the gospel. Please don’t try to find wisdom from those who do not know Jesus, who is Truth. Sadly, some of those who do know Jesus have mixed in philosophies like this one with their faith. We forget to read critically. Me too. 

You can read more about How to stop being so busy right here on this blog. Start here.

So, what does this have to do with becoming “busyless” or simple living? 


The beauty of embracing a simple life, or some form of minimalism, is that old, harmful “structures” of life can be torn down. A new way of living can begin. But it comes with a warning label. 

“This too can be a structure that will one day crumble.”

Even “simple living” and “purposeful living” and any other title we want to give to the longing to slow down and enjoy the goodness God gives, can become another mountain that will one day, disintegrate if you don’t go to the Bread of Life for your wisdom.

Consider this: You were brought to a point of dissatisfaction for a reason by a Person who loves you and wants more for you. 

Jesus said,”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matt 11:28 NIV

Now where will you go?

To whom will you turn to for advice? Whose book will you read? What direction will your conversations and pontifications go? What conference will you go to? What group will you cling to? 

Ugh. Can you see the hamster wheel start spinning again? 

Finding Purpose

“Finding purpose” is the driving force behind what simple living is all about. We have come to a place in our life where we understand that our purpose is not in accumulation or status. Our “busyness” has left us wanting something more. We all want “meaning”, which translated means, “peace”. 

Don’t take a chance and follow the philosophy of a man who is a beggar and wants to show other beggars where bread is. When you read his book, you can discern that he is merely a man who is building another structure for himself that is only an empty philosophy. 

Read a Great Book!

The Call, by Os Guinness

The Call, by Os Guinness is a book by a man who knows the rich treasures of Jesus Christ. Here is no beggar! 

If you are looking for a book that will not only give you great material to build with, it personalizes your own call and important piece of His whole picture. You will know contentment as you work through the chapters, answering questions that will clarify the real purpose and satisfaction that you have been longing for.  

Bite-sized chapters

The book is broken down into 26 chapters, complete with thoughtful questions for you to ponder as your personalized journey into real purpose. 

Here is a great (Free on youtube) introduction to Os Guinnes as he shares, live, Click here to listen and/or watch: The Call:

Description: The three deepest human longings are for meaning, identity, and purpose, and the most dynamic source of each is the biblical notion of calling. This workshop is an explanation of the biblical view of calling, its influence in history, and what its recovery would mean today.

It’s 45 minutes long but wow, what a speaker! I guarantee if you start, you will want to finish. Because we are all “too busy” to watch, try listening while on your way to work!

Not a beggar

Mr. Guinness has a (long) lifetime of building on a solid foundation of knowing Truth in a personal relationship. He is definitely NOT a beggar hoping to show you where to find bread. He knows Who the bread of life is.

Example of wisdom

Here’s a quote from his book: “Answering the call of our Creator is “the why” for living, the highest source of purpose in human existence. Apart from such a calling all hope of discovering purpose (as in the current talk of shifting “from success to significance:) will end in disappointment. To be sure, calling is not what it is commonly thought to be. It has to be dug out from under the rubble of ignorance and confusion. And, uncomfortably, it often flies directly in the face of our human inclinations. But nothing short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose. Pg. 4, The Call (chapter, “The Ultimate Way”)

Friend, do you see the difference?

Os Guinness asks us to answer the call that God has given you. Pause and ask yourself if your life reflects living out a calling. It’s quite exciting but at the same time, peaceful. You don’t have to wonder if “bread crumbs” are all there is. A great feast at the Lord’s table is set for you!

Take the step to the table. It’s a decision you won’t regret. He will change your life. Really. 

Listen to the One who has called you. He knows you by name. 

Find your rest in Him. 

Remember. It’s not wrong to disagree with whatever you are reading. Critical reading is a great skill to hone.

I think you will love, “The Call”, by Os Guinness. 


“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.Mat 6:33 CSB

Are you ready to begin a simple life? You will enjoy this blog.

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