Sarah Susanka is a bestselling author, architect, and cultural visionary. Her "build better, not bigger" approach to residential architecture has caught on across the country. In this handy and down-to-earth book, Susanka applies the principles of her trade, such as composition, openability, interior views, reflecting surfaces, pattern and geometry, to finding meaning, passion, and happiness in everyday life. It is possible, she says, to remodel the way we are living. Composing a "not so big life" involves the following:

• Noticing What Inspires You
• Identifying What Isn't Working
• Removing the Clutter
• Listening to Your Dreams
• Learning to See Through the Obstacles
• Improving the Quality of What You Have
• Creating a Place and a Time of Your Own

Susanka suggests that anyone embarking on a remodeling project should keep a notebook with the following sections to be filled in as you go along:

• Everyday routines to support my growth
• Strategies for engaging my everyday life differently
• Phrases to keep in mind
• Questions to keep asking myself
• Personal behavior flags to watch for
• Insights and "ahas"
• Issues that seem disturbing to me
• Subjects to inquire into
• Personal longings and aspirations
• General musings
• Surprising life events that seem related to what I'm reading
• Significant objects
• Significant moments

In sidebars titled "Your Turn," she suggests journal exercises and other projects for your notebook. Longer exercises at the end of each chapter reinforce major points. The transformation of our lives involves many different rituals, experiments, and changes of mind. Susanka covers solitude, meditation, discovering our true potential, working with our intentions, and dealing with speed, reactivity, magical thinking, too many possessions, and more. This is an unusual and thought-provoking book on personal transformation.