• The Abundance of Less

  • Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan
  • By: Andy Couturier
  • Narrated by: Adam Riley
  • Length: 14 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (63 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Andy Couturier captures the texture of sustainable lives well lived in these 10 profiles of ordinary - yet exceptional - men and women who left behind mainstream existences in urban Japan to live surrounded by the luxuries of nature, art, friends, delicious food, and an abundance of time. 

Drawing on traditional Eastern spiritual wisdom and culture, these pioneers describe the profound personal transformations they underwent as they escaped the stress, consumerism, busyness, and dependence on technology of modern life. This intimate and evocative book tells of their fulfilling lives as artists, philosophers, and farmers who rely on themselves for happiness and sustenance. By inviting readers to enter into the essence of these individuals’ days, Couturier shows us how we, too, can bring more meaning and richness to our own lives.

©2017 Andy Couturier (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“We are in an overheated world - physically and spiritually. It is extremely powerful to read of people who have managed to escape that world, not by traveling to outer space but by heading toward reality. This is subversive in the best possible way.” (Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy)

“Reading this magic book is like drinking from a fresh wellspring deep in the mountains: it slowly returns one to sanity. In an era when the allure of ten thousand digital screens eclipses the inner radiance of a stone lying among the reeds, how clarifying to encounter the eloquence and humility of these well-lived lives.” (David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous)

“Couturier catches everything that is essential and beautiful in Japan with a clarity, sincerity, and openness that move me to the core. It’s been years since such a fresh and liberating voice has emerged to remind us of the true heart of a country that so many of us fail to see.” (Pico Iyer, author of The Lady and the Monk)

What listeners say about The Abundance of Less

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a life changing book!

In my search for ways to live a kinder life, one of meaning and fulfillment, one of less, and of a smaller carbon footprint, I tried to incorporate minimalism into my life. Although, the principles of the practice was effective and efficient, something was missing. Like a richness one feels when glancing upon a lush mound of wild grasses and flowers. Abundant, not bare. A lifestyle that’s like a blend of living in nature, surrounded by beauty, living in synchronicity with life, where one utilizes only what is needed and not wasting nor taking anything for granted.
But I was stuck cycling through habits of using disposable plastics, food packaging, takeout boxes, and coffee cups, and on. I was a shining example product of hustle culture working a fast-paced demanding job that would itch my attention deficit brain—so used to floods of information via the internet—to consume endless digital content. I was living in a dead-end junk pile. And I kept making excuses after excuses as to why minimalism was impossible, that there wasn’t a spark to light up the fire, and to be surrounded by nothing, but echoey walls just wasn’t a good enough "why".

Then... I found this book. Filled with succinctly written observations and stories of artisans, farmers and friends that the author have spent over 15 years getting to know. It covers the lives of those who adapted to living their in own way, working hard to pursue their purpose while living in tandem with nature. Including stories of some who left the city and escaped lives as office workers to live a life of simplicity and meaning. The author describes it in a way where one can easily through his eyes and experience, too, how it’s like to be there with him observing their daily life rituals. To live in peaceful existence. Rich in life and abundant in food for thought. I know I will be reading/listening to it many times over. A hardcopy of this book is now a permanent fixture on my desk.

So yea, definitely life changing! At least for me.

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent narration, pieces of wisdom

This book is one of those that I have scribbled notes throughout, capturing clips of the audio, while spending mornings sitting quietly drinking coffee and staring out the window. And while I’m thankful for the bits of wisdom captured in these stories, I also want to credit narrator, Adam Riley, for his ability to bring characters to life in a way that gave them personality so that I was able to imagine the conversations that I might have with them as well. In a way, the audiobook had its own life and personality and I imagine listening to it again so that I might imagine a return to remote Japan and drink tea with friends.

2 people found this helpful

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So much to think about

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The narrator did a great job. The stories of each persons life depicted here gives the listener many things to think about and chew over in their mind. Not many of us could live the lives depicted but we all can make small changes in our own little world which together can significantly impact the world as a whole.

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Robotic narration

To be honest, even if this was a Pulitzer Prize winning book it would be unreadable / hearable with the narrator’s voice. Sadly, I didn’t get more than a page in because his voice was so sterile and un-human..

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an amazing, eye opening book

This book was one of the best books I've had the honor of reading, it has really opened my eyes and had a significant impact on my life. I have no doubt I will carry these words with me for my lifetime. I highly suggest anyone who is interested read this book, there is no way my review here could do it justice.

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Great Book!

The whole book is great but the last two chapters are brilliant. This book could change your life.

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  • sarah cornall
  • 04-19-21

loved every chapter

highly recommended this book. It is inspiring, though provoking and encourages reflection. I absolutely loved this and will listen again and again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-19-20

Eye Opener!

Loved every minute of it. It feels like these people are now also my friends!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Samantha
  • 03-15-22

Not what I was expecting

Not my cup of tea. A good reflection piece and an insight on activism and rural living.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-04-21

Simplicity

I lived this book, it's deep insights and picture of what integrity shows up as in everyday living.