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Extended Audio Sample The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters Audiobook, by Sarah Susanka Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (395 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Susanka Narrator: Sarah Susanka Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2007 ISBN: 9780739341582
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Have you ever found yourself asking, “Is this all there is to life?” Or wondering if this bigger life you have created is actually a better life? And do you wonder how it all got so out of control?

In her groundbreaking bestseller The Not So Big House, architect Sarah Susanka showed us a new way to inhabit our houses by creating homes that were better–not bigger. Now, in The Not So Big Life, Susanka takes her revolutionary philosophy to another dimension by showing us a new way to inhabit our lives.
Most of us have lives that are as cluttered with unwanted obligations as our attics are cluttered with things. The bigger-is-better idea that triggered the explosion of McMansions has spilled over to give us McLives. For many of us, our ability to find the time to do what we want to do has come to a grinding halt. Now we barely have time to take a breath before making the next call on our cell phone, while at the same time messaging someone else on our Blackberry. Our schedules are chaotic and overcommitted, leaving us so stressed that we are numb, yet we wonder why we cannot fall asleep at night.

In The Not So Big Life, Susanka shows us that it is possible to take our finger off the fast-forward button, and to our surprise we find how effortless and rewarding this change can be. We do not have to lead a monastic life or give up the things we love. In fact, the real joy of leading a not so big life is discovering that the life we love has been there the entire time. Through simple exercises and inspiring stories, Susanka shows us that all we need to do is make small shifts in our day–subtle movements that open our minds as if we were finally opening the windows to let in fresh air.

The Not So Big Life reveals that form and function serve not only architectural aims but life goals as well. Just as we can tear down interior walls to reveal space, we can tear down our fears and assumptions to open up new possibilities. The result is that we quickly discover we have all the space and time we need for the things in our lives that really matter. But perhaps the greatest reward is the discovery that small changes can yield enormous results. In her elegant, clear style, Susanka convinces us that less truly is more–much more.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christy | 2/16/2014

    " I loved the concept of this book. There were a lot of things that resonated for me. It was a little full of the authors fluff, but the main concepts are awesome. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karina | 2/13/2014

    " I was disappointed by this book. Maybe my expectations were too high. I mean, I love to read books about house design (and Susanka's Not So Big House books are awesome) and I love, love, love to read books about living a simple life. So why did this attempt totally flop? I don't know, but I really wish it hadn't. I was bored by the first page. I skimmed most of it. It was way too long for what it was, repeated things over and over, and was stretching the analogy a little too far for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gina | 2/8/2014

    " I'm listening to the book on CD, and I have a hard copy of the book in order to do the exercises. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 2/7/2014

    " would probably have liked it a little more if not so much already on my plate. There are some interesting exercises in the book, but just don't have time for them right now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caroline Kipps | 2/1/2014

    " I like Sarah Susanka, and have read all her architecture books on building and remodeling homes to be "not so big." I like her philosophy a great deal, and found all the home books helpful, and still refer to them from time to time. In this volume, Susanka ventured into taking her philosophy of building and living in a home, into advice on how to live life, itself. I enjoyed reading the book, and noted some tidbits; overall, I did not feel like it broke great new ground. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fay Croxford | 1/29/2014

    " little disappointed. Loved the architectural analagies but got a lot more personality adjusting from other books, particulary LDS books "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy Mather | 1/29/2014

    " The author of this book is an architect. She manages to tie the spiritual side of finding balance and simplicity in life to the concepts of architecture and home. Enjoyed the themes and ideas of this book. In the end, as is the theme is so many of these books, it all comes down to taking the time to enjoy the things around you. It's not about having it all, it's about only having things that serve a purpose or bring beauty to your life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marci | 1/23/2014

    " Just what it sounds like. Now if I could only do this.... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Beth | 1/17/2014

    " Didn't finish it. Too much self-help for me. I was hoping for something more philosophical. I like her other "Not so Big" books. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Angtburg | 12/12/2013

    " Expected a little more after reading the preface and seeing where she was coming from trying to fit in all the other books into her life. Disappointed by the wordiness, tight font, and too many details. Did not finish. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Celia | 11/26/2013

    " So tedious I never finished it...which is unlike me. She should have stuck to her architecture/landscape books which are terrific. Analogies between life & home/space were kind of interesting... for the first chapter, but quickly lost their novelty. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 beth | 11/5/2013

    " Not finishing this one. I wanted a practical guide but this has more philosophical references than I need! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robbie Lockard | 10/26/2013

    " Inspiring. I want to read it again next year. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane Devereaux | 9/19/2013

    " This book is a bit hard to read and is repetitious, but has some good ideas about simplifying your life and finding inner peace! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 7/6/2013

    " this book is awesome though at times a little overwhelming with all i need to do- the work, the inquiries, the writing, the adjusting- it's not just a book, but a remodeling project for my entire life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MollyD | 6/15/2013

    " I love the Not So Big home books, so I was pretty sure I'd like this motivational improve your life book. Very uplifting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristin | 6/14/2013

    " More seeking and searching on my part . . . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 10/28/2012

    " Interesting view on how to have perspective on the things in one's life - how to make a life that fits your real needs..still actively reading "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 C | 10/5/2012

    " Perhaps because the author is an architect like myself, I found a connection here and enjoyed the book. It may not be for everyone, none of the information is profoundly new but it helped me keep a small journal where I began to sort out what matters. Her Not So Big House books are fantastic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cara Lewis | 2/4/2012

    " Sarah Susanka lives in Raleigh and I sure wish she'd come redesign my house -- and my life -- in nearby Cary. Fantastic metaphor and very thought provoking. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 EllenG | 10/21/2011

    " just blew thru it. not my cup of tea. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 10/3/2011

    " My copy of this book, signed by the architect author (small houses) during a San Antonio bookstore visit, is a prize posession. Written before the current economic crisis, she was one of the first to say many Americans want to get beyond the materialistic American Dream - to a larger life - "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tamra | 9/23/2011

    " Interesting book about living better by living in the moment rather than over filling our lives. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cody | 8/9/2011

    " It took me a long time to read it. Her take on a easier life based on her architecture style does make a lot of sense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 7/9/2011

    " Using the image of architectural design as a metaphor for designing your life, she brings a new approach to simplifying your life. WHile not spececifically Christian, is does focus on structuring your internal life in a way which allows your best spiritual self to thrive. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vicki | 6/27/2011

    " The best self help book out there; just be prepared to work!!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cara | 4/12/2011

    " Sarah Susanka lives in Raleigh and I sure wish she'd come redesign my house -- and my life -- in nearby Cary. Fantastic metaphor and very thought provoking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gina | 4/3/2011

    " I'm listening to the book on CD, and I have a hard copy of the book in order to do the exercises. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 1/6/2011

    " would probably have liked it a little more if not so much already on my plate. There are some interesting exercises in the book, but just don't have time for them right now. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ellie | 10/3/2010

    " I liked Susanka's perspective as an architect for explaining how to control the clutter in our loves. Her ideas are nothing new, however. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MollyD | 9/26/2010

    " I love the Not So Big home books, so I was pretty sure I'd like this motivational improve your life book. Very uplifting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 beth | 6/4/2010

    " Not finishing this one. I wanted a practical guide but this has more philosophical references than I need! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather RK | 2/11/2010

    " Sarah Susanka writes about profound things in a simple, down to earth way. Being an architect, she uses accurate metaphors from architecture to convey ways of "remodeling" one's life. Inspirational. "

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About the Author
Author Sarah Susanka

Sarah Susanka is a bestselling author, architect, and cultural visionary. Her “build better, not bigger” approach to residential architecture has been embraced across the country, and her “Not So Big” philosophy has sparked an international dialogue, evolving beyond our houses and into how we inhabit our lives. She is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. She resides in North Carolina.