Americans In Search of Simpler Pursuits

Nov 19, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A report in this past Sunday’s Observer ( said new magazines with titles
such as Real Simple and Budget Living are the fastest growing on newsstands.

The popularity of these and other titles preaching the virtues of simple living, according to the Observer piece are “a reaction against the work-and-spend frenzy of modern American

Luxury goods advertisers, to the surprise of some, have not run away from these magazines. Real Simple’s advertiser roster has a number of brands associated with the good life
including Mercedes Benz, Ralph Lauren and Chanel.

The December 2003/January 2004 issue of Real Simple includes stories on finding 50 gifts for less than $50, the best supermarket coffees, and six things you can do without a

Moderator’s Comment: Does the popularity of magazines such as Real Simple and Budget Living say anything about the American consuming public?

These magazines are not your survivalist’s guide to getting by on roots and twigs, so we don’t see any broad implications to be made by their popularity.

Many Americans have the aspiration to live a simpler life while simultaneously wishing to be wealthy enough to afford any extravagance. Ultimately, these
seemingly contradictory aspirations are not all that different. We all want to be happy, free of fear and in control of our own lives.
Anderson – Moderator

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