WALDEN: or Life in the Woods

WALDEN transformation book

by Henry David Thoreau

This 19th century classic by Henry David Thoreau is not only one of the most compelling books in American literature, it is also the mother of all Simplify-Your-Life initiatives. Most Walden quote posters have probably never actually read Thoreau, but somehow the book has come back to me since my high school days, becoming a source of inspiration for designing our leadership expeditions and retreats.

This book is apparently timeless. It is striking how modern and how awake Thoreau’s description of his secluded social experiment in the woods is. Thoreau’s ideas about simplicity and spiritual cleanliness are probably even more relevant today as they were back then. Despite Thoreau’s archaic prose and lofty descriptions, the book embodies the longing for simplification, focusing, and clarity – attributes that are once again topping the bestseller lists today (and there is now even an outdoor magazine that carries Walden as title). So, why reach for the self-help imitators when you can read the original? I really think it is really worth sticking with it because there is a lot of true wisdom in those pages.

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