Book Review: Loving Leo Hickman’s ‘The Good Life’


Want a reference book to living ethically? Want to know the truth about the costs of globalisation and profit-driven business practices on our health and society? Want to know what you can do to bring about change? This is the book for you.

Unlike the other books by Leo Hickman that I have reviewed (The Final Call and A Life Stripped Bare), the absence of the writer’s perspective and his interactions with others in A Good Life makes the book a bit harder to read.

It is much more about the theory of ethical living, about the origin of our food and what’s in it, power dynamics of globalisation, the costs to health, society and our environment of living unethically, and the different ways we can live more ethically.

I do like the way this book has been organised.  The eight chapters are broken into logical topics: Food and Drink, Home and Garden, Travel, You, Family, Community, Money and Work. At the end of each chapter there is a directory of related organisations, websites and magazines.

There are also ‘Explainer’ sections with a detailed explanation of terms like Toxic Chemicals, Fairtrade, Organic Food, Climate Change.

The ‘Dilemma’ boxes are useful throughout for exploring such questions as: do we need to wash our hair? Incineration or Landfill? Should I employ a cleaner?

The ‘Spotlight’ topics focus on our love affair with MDF, Trash Miles, Carbon Neutral, the rise of ‘unethical’ investments’, along with other highlighted issues.

It is well researched and packed full of useful information, including a section on further reading and resources, but it is text heavy and more a study of ethical living than an easily accessible practical guide.

I recommend A Good Life as a reference book, dipping into the different sections and accompanying directories when looking for something specific at a particular time.

A Good Life – The guide to ethical living, by Leo Hickman. Transworld Publishers (Eden Project Books).

This review was written by Louise Gethin of Bristol, UK.

More Book Reviews on Green Prophet:

Review of Leo Hickman’s ‘A Life Stripped Bare’

Living A Simpler, Deeper Life With ‘The Moneyless Man’

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