Slow Living Books: Great Reads For Living Intentionally

slow living books

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

A decade of simplified living has given me a new perspective on life. Living slowly is a choice to fill your time, home, and mind with only what brings the most meaning, fulfillment, and joy to your life. Slow living books were indispensable to me in my journey toward simplicity.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

We all catch ourselves wishing our lives were simpler and less hectic, but I never understood how possible a simple, intentional way of life was until I started reading slow-living books.

slow down to enjoy lifeThe idea of slowing down to enjoy life, get in touch with your values, and deepen your relationships isn’t a new one, but in our fast-paced, technology-driven world, it can seem out of reach. If you can’t help longing for a simpler, more meaningful life, though, you aren’t alone.

If you’re looking to simplify your lifestyle and want to build your knowledge of the slow-living movement, chances are you want to spend more time living the slow life and less time reading about it. I’m right there with you.

Many experts are putting pen to paper to teach what they have learned about the power of slow living in a society chasing every new thing and event. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most knowledgeable and motivational resources out there to guide your reading journey straight to the heart of a simple lifestyle.

These slow living books can inspire and equip you to lead a more intentional life starting today.

grounded slow grow make do

Grounded: Slow, Grow, Make, Do: A Companion for Slow Living

by Anna Carlile

I like how Carlile weaves her own version of slow living in with the changing of the seasons and growth of nature. Filled with stunning scenes from nature and practical projects to help you slow down and enjoy the natural world with a childlike joy, Grounded is inspiring in its beauty. Flipping through the pages will deepen your desire for tranquility and a slower lifestyle.

slow family living book

Slow Family Living: 75 Simple Ways to Slow Down, Connect, and Create More Joy

by Bernadette Noll

As its title suggests, this book offers 75 strategies to live slower so you can enjoy the everyday moments with your family again. This is a great choice for you practical readers out there who want specific plans to implement in your home life as you seek to live a calmer, more meaningful life with the people who matter most.

the lady farmer guide to slow living

The Lady Farmer Guide to Slow Living: Cultivating Sustainable Simplicity Close to Home

by Mary E. Kingsley

Kingsley gets right down to nature in this simple living book, helping us understand the history and future of humanity’s relationship with Planet Earth and what we can do to improve our own continued impact on and connection with the world around us.

tiny house books

still the slow home

Still: The Slow Home

by Natalie Walton

Walton takes the reader on a journey through the interiors of homes across the world, exploring the homes of families who put slow living into practice. The effect of the intentional choices these people have made in the aesthetic and setup of their homes encourages an atmosphere of tranquility and simplicity.

seeking slow

Seeking Slow: Reclaim Moments of Calm in Your Day

by Melanie Barnes

The eighth book in the Live Well series, Seeking Slow emphasizes the importance of finding calm moments every day so you can continually be present and intentional, and experience the beauty in life. The book itself helps you slow down and appreciate beauty with its spacious design and stunning photography.

Barnes focuses her simple living book on mindfulness, meditation, and inner peace, while encouraging a life less connected to technology and more in tune with ourselves.

slow simple living for a frantic world

Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World

by Brooke McAlary

I like McAlary’s way of asking readers to question their own lives. Don’t just do something —ask yourself why you’re doing it. Don’t just set arbitrary goals for your life — ask yourself where you want to go.

If you truly want to slow down your life, McAlary won’t tell you how to do it. She’ll help you figure it out for yourself, which will lead to more mindfulness, intentionality, and enjoyment along the way. This book develops readers’ understanding of the ideas and philosophies that make the slow-living movement what it is.

the things you can see only when you slow down

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World

by Haemin Sunim

Only read this book if you’re prepared for it to change your life. I can’t say enough about Sunim’s wise perspective on slow living. The thousands of five-star reviews from readers about this book are inspiring by themselves.

A Buddhist meditation teacher born in Korea and educated in the United States, Sunim asks, “Is it the world that’s busy, or is it my mind?” He provides simple, yet profound insights into our relationship with things, other people, and ourselves. The problem usually isn’t the things or people in our lives, but rather, our relationship to them. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down expresses the philosophy of the slow-living movement like no other book.

an intentional life

An Intentional Life: A Guide to a Slower and More Peaceful Existence

by Kathryn Bardsley

Sometimes I find myself in a mess of stress and situations that I don’t want to be in, and I can’t help wondering how I got there in the first place. This feeling is what drew me to a simpler lifestyle, and in this book, Bardsley meets you right where you don’t want to be and offers a better life.

An Intentional Life asks you to turn off autopilot and start doing what you do on purpose. It doesn’t always seem like it, but the stress and busyness in our lives really is our choice, and we can choose to live differently and experience joy, gratitude, and peace again.

the simple living guide

The Simple Living Guide: The Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living

by Janet Luhrs

A perfect book for newbies to the slow-living movement, this guidebook explains how simple living is all about deliberately designing your life to match your ideals. Luhrs provides real-life examples of how countless people have slowed down and enriched their lives by applying strategies for simplifying their finances, careers, homes, nutrition, holidays, and more.

Whether you want to read the whole book for a big-picture view of the power of slow living or you just want to keep it handy for easy reference and motivation in specific areas of simplifying, The Simple Living Guide is an incredible resource to have on hand.



by Henry David Thoreau

Our modern concept of slow living grew out of the 1980s, but the desire to step back and get in touch with the basics of life and what really matters has been around for much longer. Henry David Thoreau, for example, made a big splash for simple living in the mid 1800s by living in a cabin in the woods for two years, later writing, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Thoreau wrote Walden about his experience alone with nature, and while it might not inspire you to leave your job and house to hang out in the woods, it really is an eye-opening read about figuring out what really matters and what doesn’t.

mindful money

Mindful Money: Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend

by Jonathan K. DeYoe

I’m not one to read books that are all about money, but Mindful Money focuses on the true reason we acquire money, which is, at the end of the day, to be happy. Whether or not DeYoe would consider himself a part of the slow-living movement, his advice to slow down and think about happiness as your end goal of all financial planning really hits the mark.

Aside from his beliefs rooted in the bigger picture of life, DeYoe is a financial advisor by day, which lends credibility and practicality to his straightforward tips on money and lifestyle.

simple matters

Simple Matters: Living With Less and Ending Up with More

by Erin Boyle

This gem of a book is all about living purposefully and sustainably with less so that we can develop more of what really matters. What we really want is more time with our loved ones, more beauty, more savings, and more enjoyment of life. Boyle will sell you on living small in her portrayal of achievable serenity if no one else can.

an edited life

An Edited Life: Simple Steps to Streamlining Life, at Work and at Home

by Anna Newton

As a minimalist, a slow liver, and a writer, I can’t help but have a soft spot for An Edited Life. Newton has explored nearly every aspect of simplifying and minimalizing in her life, and can say with certainty that there is no foolproof way to a tidy home and a calm spirit. Instead, she has found that, like her popular books and YouTube videos, her home, wardrobe, budget, and calendar all require editing.

Our lives are like a constantly unfolding novel. We don’t have to let our busy world write our story for us, though. We can take control of our story and edit every paragraph until we have a manageable, enjoyable life. And when it starts to get a little out of control again, we can edit some more.

the geometry of wealth

The Geometry of Wealth: How to shape a life of money and meaning

by Brian Portnoy

If I had to pick one book about financial simplicity, it would probably be The Geometry of Wealth. We all know that money can’t buy happiness, but Portnoy points out that the ultimate goal of having money is to be happy. The disparity between these two ideas is where we often get confused.

As a behavioral finance expert, Portnoy helps his readers find the balance between these two seemingly opposing ideas. He emphasizes how the key to achieving contentment while also pursuing financial goals is slowing down to thoughtfully discover our purpose and priorities.

down to earth guide to simple living

Down to Earth: A Guide to Simple Living

by Rhonda Hetzel

The practicality of tips on how to garden, make your own soaps, and preserve your own fruit sprinkled with stories of the pleasure to be found with a simpler, sustainable lifestyle makes Down to Earth a treasure of slow-living literature. But Hetzel doesn’t stop there. If you are really wanting to get back to the basics of how to make your own cleaning supplies, sew, mend, knit, and eat clean on a budget, this book is your guide.

Hetzel won’t preach at you, but she will build your confidence in the importance of your work in maintaining your hearth and home. Your desire to grow your own food or even to support your local farmers is good for the planet and for your ultimate well-being, and you should feel good about it.

homesteading book reviews

only love today

Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love

by Rachel Macy Stafford

This might be one of the best examples of a “live where you’re at, be present where you are” book out there. Moms in particular gravitate toward this bestselling author also known as the Hands Free Mama.

Only Love Today exalts the ordinary and brightens the everyday stuff that sometimes feels mundane. Pulling from the contagious free spirit of her young daughter, Stafford can help you focus on what matters in every season of the year and of your life.

the intentional family

The Intentional Family: Simple Rituals to Strengthen Family Ties

by William J. Doherty

I love Doherty’s focus on family healing in this book designed to support families being torn apart by busy, conflicting schedules, technology distractions, and the pursuit of success.

If you find yourself struggling to have time or energy for your partner or children, The Intentional Family provides helpful strategies to slow down and reconnect with the most important relationships in your life.


Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

by Katherine May

A beautifully insightful New York Times bestseller, Wintering is a personal narrative of May’s experience of complete dislocation from the life she had known as she and her husband both lost their health, their son dropped out of school, and she was forced to leave a taxing career to deal with all of the crises in their family.

May’s moving story encourages her readers to follow her example and allow winter-like times of uncertainty and sadness to push them into a soulful rest and retreat that can empower them to enter a new season.

how to not always be working

How to Not Always Be Working: A Toolkit for Creativity and Radical Self-Care

by Marlee Grace

If you need help establishing boundaries between your work, home, and social life, this book will change your perspective on what’s really important. Grace tailors this book to help her readers by providing journaling exercises and practical tips on how to get in touch with your own ideals and priorities by taking the time to recharge.

present over perfect

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

by Shauna Niequist

Niequist is a New York Times bestselling author for a reason. Present Over Perfect is a challenge to the reader to step away from the constant race (on social media, in the workplace, and in the family) to be picture-perfect. The author encourages her readers to admit they can never be the perfect neighbor, son or daughter, parent, sibling, employee, friend, boss, or anything else.

Instead of constantly struggling with guilt over our failure to be perfect, Niequist gives us permission to accept who and where we are and just be there. In the moment. Enjoying life right along with our flaws. This ability, more than anything, will make us better in every aspect of life.

the kinfolk home

The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living

by Nathan Williams

You might not feel like the inside of your home really affects you that much, but Williams would disagree. The Kinfolk Home explores 35 home interiors from all over the globe that have been slowly and intentionally designed to provide a peaceful, relaxing aesthetic. You might be surprised what insights you can glean on slow living from the intentional decorating and layout of these homes.

the new mindful home

The New Mindful Home: And how to make it yours

by Joanna Thornhill

In this insightful book, Thornhill discusses how mindfulness is not just a practice of meditation. Considerate choices in the appearance, simplicity, and practicality of our surroundings can give us environments that feed our souls, make us feel at home, and help us live with intention.

how to create a peaceful home

Where To Find Slow Living Books

Where To Find Slow Living Books

With so many good books out there to help us live simpler, more intentional lives, it can be hard to know where to start. Most of these books can be found on Amazon, but as a minimalist not anxious to add more books to my shelves, I would recommend borrowing these titles.

  • Borrow from someone you know.
  • Borrow a physical copy from your local library.
  • Use a digital library service to borrow an eBook or audiobook.

I personally love listening to simple living books on audio to inspire me as I complete daily tasks.

If you prefer to own books or find a particularly helpful book that you would like to own and reference in the future, you can find great prices on second-hand books from sites such as ThriftBooks, eBay, and AbeBooks.

Your Turn!

  • Which aspect of slow living is most appealing to you and why?
  • What one slow living book has had the greatest impact on your life?
1 Comment
  1. Why are some people quite difficult to be simpler in living life and changing lifestyles?

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