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​Finding Abundance in Having Less

Headshot of Andy Couturier

Andy Couturier

What happens when we measure riches in terms of relationships, spirituality, and creativity

Andy Couturier spent four years living in Japan, and in his new book, The Abundance of Less: Lessons in Simple Living from Rural Japan, he recounts stories of individuals who chose to leave behind their striving for more and created simple lives in the mountains.  S&H: Was there a common thread that led these people away from a life of consumer excess? Andy Couturier: I chose a real variety of people—to show readers that you don’t have to have a certain personality in order to choose a richer life. But all around them, Japanese mainstream society is driven by money and status in ways that I think is hard for North Americans to even imagine. If you are a young person growing up there, it might seem that everyone else is giving up their entire lives to constant work and material accumulation. It can seem almost inevitable. The reasons why the people I wrote about took a different route range from something as simple as a desire to see what was outside of their own country (which led them to travel overland through Asia), to profound questions about the nature of life and death and w …

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