On a whim, I checked out Little House on a Small Planet: Simple Homes, Cozy Retreats, and Energy Efficient Possibilities from the library. It was on the new arrivals shelf and I thought it would be a book of mostly photos to leaf through.
Turns out, my gut feel was wrong. It's way more than just a picture book. It's a book that provides chapter after chapter of evidence for why living in a smaller (and therefore simpler) house is better. It covers financial, spiritual, environmental, family, business and other topics. By the time I was done reading it, I felt like I was the one missing out, what with my 3000 sq. ft. mansion I live in.
Some of the benefits seem to be a bit of reach to me. Also, this was definitely arm chair adventure reading - I'm not downsizing (or upsizing for that matter) anytime soon. Heck, the book could even get a bit preachy - like that friend of yours who's on some sort of environmental kick, and just won't let you forget it. But, given that there's so much of our society dedicated to suggesting you need more and bigger - I guess I can't be annoyed that there's at least one source that's loudly shouting the opposite.
This book is an obvious read for a person or family shopping around for a new house. And even someone like myself who has a descent size living space can learn some important lessons about how to be utilize their space better.
For me, however, the main takeaway is just how powerful choice and perception are for people. To one person, a 300 sq ft area is the perfect sized bathroom, to another, it's the perfect sized house. There's no rule that says that small is good or bad. Or even what small is defined as.
And why is this useful? It means that the house you have right now, big or small, could be the perfect living space. You just need the right view of it.