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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2010
I bought this on the strength of other reviews, but was more than a little disappointed. This isn't a book about wabi sabi, it is a self-help book to calm and organise your life, with a little wabi sabi thrown in.

I think that if you are a completely over-worked and stressed-out, and feel that unless you do something soon your life is going to fall apart, you are much more likely to benefit from reading this book. If you already know about decluttering your life and have what you'd consider a reasonable understanding of wabi sabi, then don't expect anything great.

I had hoped for lots of photos of Japanese (specifically) artefacts that exemplify wabi sabi, with explanations or anecdotes, but the whole book was far too much how-to-alter-your-unhealthy-western-lifestyle to deserve a higher star-rating. I found it all a bit too bland, too general, with too much of it common-sense, and I didn't really feel that I gained much from reading it. I also felt that the term "wabi sabi" was banded around far too much, diluting its value, and used more as a justification for inclusion of the text than anything else. Wabi sabi is much more than a concept for interior decoration or life-enhancement. No doubt I'm not the intended audience and perhaps I ought to be pleased that I'm already a long way into my wabi sabi journey!

This is just what I would have personally liked to have known before buying it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2011
As with another reviewer I was inspired to buy this book by some good reviews, but was then very disappointed with it when it arrived.

I find it quite strange that this book should be about Wabi Sabi. It contains the kind of perfected photos which would not look out of place in a corporate brochure or health spar advert (in other words, the opposite of Wabi Sabi..), and reads like a poor self-help book. It describes little of the philosophy, and instead makes rather superficial statements about "how to make your home/ life/ style more Wabi Sabi". Rather like saying "if you want to be more like a Buddhist monk, shave your head and wear an orange robe.."!!

Not recommended.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2007
When I read Practical Wabi Sabi by Simon G. Brown out of a budding interest in the subject, I KNEW that I had found a major key to help deal with the constant buzz in our heads, eyes and and ears in this electronic, microwaves, satallite-connected world. Simon offers a way to handle the insanity of modern life in a way other than stuffing ourselves with high corn fructose foods, or other drugs of choice, including 'retail therapy', in a desperate attempt to handle the mounting stresses in our lives. I LOVE this book which truly is practical, enjoyable and even gives a sense of spirituality no matter what your religious background. Following Simon's tips in making one's home and environment a truly Wabi Sabi place of mental and physical simplicity and serenity will indeed make your life calmer and allow for us to find the time to discover our true connection to this world.

Claudia Scott, Jacksonville, Florida
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 July 2012
This is definitely wabi-sabi-lite. ( A friend at first glance thought it was about wasabi, which was funny and ironic). The author's argument is that, without becoming a zen master, we can all learn, and gain insight, happiness and calm, by studying the Japanese principle founded in the admiration of simplicity, mindfulness, and the acceptance of negative entropy. There is stuff in here that a lot of people can learn and benefit from, but it is a long way from real Buddhism.

Do not buy this book if you are seriously interested in zen; it will annoy you no end. Buy it if you want a bit of help and advice to free yourself from stress, competitiveness and all those elements which go to make up the "rat race". It will gently introduce you to ways of living your everyday life which will benefit you and all those around you. The chapters do deal with the more profound aspects of wabi sabi; silence, humbleness, modesty and austerity, non-attachment, and acceptance, but not with any real sense of understanding, and the great weight of the book is aimed at relatively simple lifestyle changes and a whole slew of ways to redecorate your house in a "wabi sabi" way.

Now, it is easy to sneer at this, but horses for courses. The book is never intended for serious Buddhists. The author is also devoted to macrobiotics and feng shui and, though he is a British resident, there is a strong Californian feel to the book. There are, you won't be surprised to here, elements which will make the cynical ROFL in glee. I was particularly tickled by the author's bizarre assertion; "When I left school I opted to study engineering and a point of interest to me was that none of the concepts worked in real life." I was always under the impression that is was Marxism where "none of the concepts worked in real life". As far as engineering goes, I would have thought it was the absolute acme of disciplines where the concepts DO work in real life. I mean, did I imagine all those bridges, tunnels, planes and stuff??? Presumably, the author's failure to get to grips with the "real life" aspects of engineering are what prompted his change of tack . . .

If you think you won't be able to keep a straight face, don't buy it. But it's quite nice as an undemanding book on how to get more out of life and have a nicer home. I, for one, will be passing this on to my cluttered, hassled friend and buying something with a bit more "bite".
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on 27 March 2013
The title of this book says it all. It is a comprehensive guide
to implementing the principles of Wabi Sabi into your life.
I am finding it very helpful and would certainly keep this
on my bookshelf to help me re-align aspects of my living style,
when needed.
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on 5 May 2014
Simple, beautiful pictures, and very inspiring.
Easy to take to heart.
Perhaps a little bit too preachy sometimes - I'm not sure I'll start wearing white kaftans all the time anytime soon.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2010
It is difficult to convey what a life changing effect this book has had on my life but there it is. As stated by some of the other reviewers- a very emotional journey but very rewarding. I discovered that in many ways my life has always had Wabi Sabi edges to it and I had no idea that there was a whole ethos with a name attached (if that's the right word!) to this way of living. I spent a good few hours yesterday with my partner examining and editing our lounge along Wabi Sabi ideals (as we understand it for the moment)and by the end we had a HUGE pile of no longer wanted or needed STUFF that will be making its way to the Red Cross. We sat in our "new" lounge and fell in love with the place all over again and I realized I could breathe. Buy this book as it's a great place to start what I am sure will be a lifetime's journey.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 4 May 2012
I came across this book in a second hand shop, like new copy and should have left it there! I can see why someone gave it away, but glad to say it didn't cost me much! This is far from a valid description of wabi sabi or anything about it. Decluttering and spa like relaxation in your home is a million miles from what this concept entails. To treat is as such is to make it into another commodity, along with crystals, angels and popular feng shui -just another Western pop psycho-babble, lightweight psuedo-spiritual trend. Actually, I'm a great believer in decluttering and feel there's sense in feng shui, but please don't bring everything down to the lowest denominator like this. Very lightweight, for people who don't really want to get their head around anything truely challenging or beautiful in life.
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