Walden by Henry David Thoreau

General Description (from Amazon.com)
“Walden” is the classic account of two years spent by Henry David Thoreau living at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. The story is detailed in its accounts of Thoreau’s day-to-day activities, observations, and undertakings to survive out in the wilderness for two years. Thoreau’s journal is an exquisite account of a man seeking a more simple life by living in harmony with nature. In today’s fast-paced consumer-driven society the austere life style endorsed by Thoreau is as relevant and refreshing as ever.

Why the President Should Read This Book
Aside from being a classic that gives us insight into the early years of the American experiment, this book is notable in that it shows how an individual, both in the 1800s as well as today, can survive on his own. Thoreau did not have a government-provided safety net, welfare, unemployment, housing assistance, health care, the food pyramid, nor was he obligated to pay taxes. The life he led at Walden Pond for those brief years shows the beauty and richness of a life unencumbered by state-imposed regulation. And yet Thoreau was hardly cut off from society. He helped the poor, he assisted his neighbors, was healthy, had enough means to support a good lifestyle, and acquired the experiences necessary to write a book full of wisdom.

Thoreau’s experience also shows us that we are all different, and thus one-size-fits-all government programs cannot help but rob our society of the true benefits of diversity by restricting our freedom to make our own way. Just imagine if one tried to do today what Thoreau did in the early 1800s. His shack would be condemned as not being up to code and he would be evicted. He would be arrested for not filing an income tax return. He would likely run afoul of 10 or more environmental regulations. How many modern-day Thoreaus have we missed out on, because what was once merely thought impossible now truly is?