The Art of Simple Living: 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy

Shunmyo Masuno, trans. from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell. Penguin, $20 (224p) ISBN 978-0-14-313404-6
Zen monk and garden designer Masuno (Zen and Art of Minimalism) does for mental clutter what Marie Kondo has done for household clutter: pare down and simplify. Masuno offers 100 directives that he insists are small and subtle: “With really only minor effort, it is possible to savor the extraordinary,” he promises. Readers will indeed find some easy-to-implement suggestions, such as joining one’s hands together to temper irritation. The format underscores the theme of simplicity. Each directive is accompanied by a page of explanation and a minimalist line drawing by Harriet Lee-Merrion, making for daily bite-size reflections. Not every instruction is equally obvious: “see things for what they are,” “make time to be alone,” and “give up the need to be liked by everyone.” Some of the ideas require elaboration, but, unfortunately, Masuno’s own explanations never extend beyond a page for each directive. A bestseller in Japan, this will certainly resonate with fans of Zen practice, or those simply looking to declutter a busy mind. Agent: Chandler Crawford, Chandler Crawford. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/15/2019
Release date: 04/02/2019
Genre: Religion
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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