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Making the Good Life Last

Book Description

In our materialist culture, the idea of “the good life”—fancy cars, designer clothes, once-in-a-lifetime vacations—leaves even those few who can afford it feeling anxious, empty, and dissatisfied. Michael Schuler deconstructs the assumption that consumption and constant stimulation equal happiness. He shows how, by applying the principles of sustainability to our personal lives, we can discover treasures of perennial value: a beautiful and healthy earth home, enduring relationships, strong communities, work that contributes to the common good, and play that restores our bodies and lifts our souls.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Foreword
  5. Preface
  6. Introduction: Sustaining Ourselves
    1. A Personal Awakening
    2. Sustainability: A Concept Whose Time Has Come
    3. Common Assumptions and Uncommon Associations
    4. Reassessing Our Priorities
    5. Sustainability: A Means, Not an End
    6. What Do We Have to Lose?
    7. Surviving and Thriving
  7. Part One: Reimagining the Good Life
    1. Chapter 1: Embracing New Rules of Conduct
      1. Pay Attention
      2. Stay Put
      3. Exercise Patience
      4. Practice Prudence
    2. Chapter 2: Releasing Old Habits of Thought and Belief
      1. The Christian Conundrum
      2. Humanism’s Unconfirmed Optimism
      3. Capitalism: Have We Made Too Many Compromises?
      4. The Broken Promise of Technology
  8. Part Two: The Four Keys
    1. Chapter 3: Pay Attention
      1. A Famous Piece of Advice: Look!
      2. Attending to Ourselves: Health, Wellness, and Fitness
      3. Enhancing Our Work Experience
      4. Establishing More Satisfying Relationships
      5. The Attentive Volunteer
    2. Chapter 4: Stay Put
      1. The Happy Tale of a Small City Diner
      2. The Tale of Our Great Cities
      3. Vocation and Staying Put
      4. Staying Put in Personal Life
      5. Staying Put in Our Relationships
      6. Investing in a Faith Community
    3. Chapter 5: Exercise Patience
      1. Cultivating a New Attitude
      2. No Speed Limits (on Anything)
      3. Strengthening the Muscle of Patience at Mealtime
      4. Slow Down and Live a Little
      5. Closed on Sunday
      6. The Land Itself Grows Weary
      7. Patience and Community Improvement
    4. Chapter 6: Practice Prudence
      1. An Unhealthy Predilection
      2. Not Too Late to Learn
      3. Low Prices and High Mortality
      4. Focus on the Local
      5. Ancient Wisdom for a New Age
      6. The Real Bottom Line is Happiness
      7. Unfit for Life: Prudence and Personal Choices
      8. Kids, Careers, and Other Complexities
  9. Conclusion: A Sustainable Code of the Soul
    1. Consider the Spirit
    2. Moderation, Not Martyrdom
    3. Toward a Graceful Exit
    4. The Optimal Attitude
  10. Notes
    1. Preface
    2. Introduction
    3. Chapter 1
    4. Chapter 2
    5. Chapter 3
    6. Chapter 4
    7. Chapter 5
    8. Chapter 6
    9. Conclusion
  11. Acknowledgments
  12. Index
  13. About the Author
  14. About Berrett-Koehler Publishers
    1. A BK Life Book
  15. Be Connected
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    5. Join the BK Community