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

SUBJECT: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 4.5/5

“Disorder in your mind shows in your feet. It has long been said that you can tell a lot about a household by looking at its entrance hall, especially in Japanese homes, where we remove our shoes upon entering. If the footwear is perfectly lined up, or if it is all a jumble—you can know the state of mind of those who live there by just this one detail.”
~ Shunmyo Masuno, Zen: The Art of Simple Living

My Musings

I’ll be honest. I have not always been an ardent fan of books on happiness, simple living, and spirituality.

But recent days have seen me opting for more such books. I don’t know why that change came about.

Or even if it’ll be a permanent one. But as of now, I am enjoying the phase while it lasts.

I picked up Shunmyo Masuno’s “Zen: The Art of Simple Living” on a whim. I didn’t know what to expect. Only that it is a short read and a simple one too.

Read on to know what I think of the book and how was my experience of reading it.

What to expect?

Expect a book that is true to its name and teaches you a thing or two about simple living.

Expect a book that is a short and crisp read. One which will help you become a better and happier person.

Expect a book that brings to you ancient Japanese philosophy in a nutshell.

Finally, expect a book that has simple and practical lessons that can be easily implemented in your daily life.

Who can read?

Since the book is written in an easy to understand language and has a simple writing style, it can be picked up by any kind of reader.

Beginner level readers can easily maneuver their way through the book.

What does the book talk about?

The book takes us through one hundred points that if implemented will enable the reader to live a much simpler and content life.

The one fact that makes this book stand apart from many others on the subject, is that the wisdom captured in its pages comes from the teachings and practices of a Japanese monk.

Shunmyo Masuno is a Japanese monk and the chief priest of the Soto Zen Temple Kenkoh-Ji and all the tips suggested in the book are practised by him in his daily life.

The fact that he also narrates his personal experiences along the way, makes the book a truly special one.

What did I like the most?

The author breaks down the concepts into bite-size chapters.

And these chapters combine traditional wisdom with practicality to introduce tips and learnings that can be easily implemented because they don’t require a huge amount of effort or time.

Is the book interesting to read?

The brevity of the book and the division of content in the form of simple single-paged chapters is what makes this book a fast-paced read.

This combined with a storytelling way of introducing concepts and interspersing practical advice with ancient Japanese wisdom is something that makes the book a short, flowy, and interesting read.

In the end

In the end, “Zen: The Art of Simple Living” is a book that I would surely recommend to all my readers especially to those who haven’t previously read any book on simplicity and happiness.

The final verdict

Read it.

Pick it up if

  • You are looking for a short and simple read that teaches you about simplicity and happiness.
  • You enjoy self-helps and nonfiction.
  • You like books that talk about balance and spirituality.
  • You are looking for a beginner level read.
  • Ancient Japanese philosophy interests you.

Skip the book if

  • Non-fiction doesn’t interest you.
  • You are not looking for a self-help book.
  • You are looking for a much-detailed read on the subject.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of “Zen: The Art of Simple Living” using the link below.