Book Review – “Enough” by John Naish

Enough - NaishI finished Enough by John Naish while on work travel to Moscow. It turned out to be an interesting setting in which to read the book because it is clear that Russian society has no idea of the concept of “enough.” Naish’s tome is categorized as environmentalist or “green” in many circles but I think there’s more to it than that. Sure, realizing that you have enough stuff and cutting down on consumer goods meshes with a green lifestyle but Naish makes the case that it can also improve one’s quality of life, if done consistently.

His basic premise is that there is too much stuff in our lives: information, food, work, goods and not enough appreciation of the things that we already posses.  This combination leaves us on the eternal chase for the “next best thing.” The book is not an instruction book and Naish admits to not having all the answers. However, just reading his book did make me look at my own life, habits and possessions in a different light.  To his credit, there’s also a spiritual aspect in the “enough” equation and he doesn’t ignore it.

The only trouble I had with the book was in the closing pages where he confronted the unsustainability of our capitalist culture. Naish claims that growth cannot continue. Maybe I read too much into it but it started to sound a bit too much like nouveau-Marxism and made me uncomfortable. However, I take the point that at the rate we’re going, we’re going to use up all of the world’s resources on disposable gadgets before little NH finishes college.  There’s just too much crap in the landfills to keep this up.  He’s right, something has to give.

All in all it’s an interesting book if only to make you consider the profound idea that less is more. Naish’s writing style is engaging, witty and even humorous and that gives his arguments an easy-going, conversational twist. Reading Enough was more akin to dinner conversation than preaching and for that reason is highly recommended.

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