Nothing Left Over

Nothing Left Over

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A Plain and Simple Life

Toinette Lippe

Trade Paper
US $14.95 /CAN $16.50
US $7.99 /CAN $10.99

This book on “interior housekeeping” illuminates the true measure of a life lived in terms of usefulness and integrity rather than accomplishment or possessions. With subtle wit, wonderfully evocative language, and clear-eyed wisdom gleaned from her own experience, Toinette Lippe teaches us how to discern what is essential and let go of what is not. Her brilliant meditation shows us how to move through the day with elegant economy and grace.


“Toinette Lippe is a woman whose wisdom is as deep as it is unassuming. The ideas in Nothing Left Over are seeds bursting with vitality and her book is a primer in grateful living. As you come to know her in a delightful intimacy, you come to know yourself from unsuspected perspectives.” —Brother David Steindl-Rast, author of Gratefulness

“A magnificent piece of writing. Toinette Lippe’s lucid memoir puts into practice what we all intuitively know makes sense but somehow never quite get round to doing.” —Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism Without Beliefs 

“I can think of no greater praise than to say this is an honest book; it helps us understand what the values of ‘simple living’ are really meant to impart in a complicated and unsimple world, not just theoretically, but in the details of our everyday existence.” —Jacob Needleman, author of An Unknown World

“I find myself thrown into a state of wonder that a life story so authentic in its telling and so fascinating to read could be lived amid the turmoil of a modern metropolis.” —Thomas Berry, author of The Great Work

“Toinette Lippe has used her marvelous gift of word imagery to make her point that a lifetime of simply complete moments emerges as a very full life indeed.” —Sylvia Boorstein, author of It’s Easier Than You Think

“Read Nothing Left Over slowly in a quiet place. Let it lead you to do some interior housekeeping. Live with those changes for a while, and then return to the book for another gentle suggestion, and then another, about what it really means to be contained and satisfied.” —Spirituality & Health

“This is the elegance of the book: the idea that any moment contains all we really need to know in order to live simply and plainly; every instance presents an opportunity to refine our awareness so that we can be present and of service to others.” —Turning Wheel

Nothing Left Over reveals an independently won spiritual maturity. Readers will appreciate her practical advice on attitudes toward everyday life.” —Shambhala Sun 

“The great pleasure of Nothing Left Over is exactly in its honesty and attention to detail, which flow from Toinette Lippe’s life to her writing and back again. I encourage you to listen to her plain and heartfelt words as I did, and to consider the mysterious and ordinary lessons within: find balance and travel light.” —Alan Senauke, Inquiring Mind

“An important book for anyone who has ever wondered what really matters.” —Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., author of Kitchen Table Wisdom


Toinette Lippe was born in London, where she began her publishing career. In 1964 she came to New York City “for a year,” worked at Simon and Schuster for three years, and then at Alfred A. Knopf as reprint rights director and editor for thirty-two years. In 1989, while still at Knopf, she founded Bell Tower, an imprint publishing books that nourish the soul, illuminate the mind, and speak directly to the heart, and she remained its editorial director for twenty years. Her own first book, Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life was first published in 2002 and her second, Caught in the Act: Reflections on Being, Knowing, and Doing, in 2004. In 2011 Vintage published a new edition of the Gia-fu Feng/Jane English translation of the Tao Te Ching, which Toinette edited at Knopf/Vintage in 1972 and which has sold more than a million copies. She and Jane English refreshed and revised the original translation, adding over a hundred new photographs by Jane and a foreword by Toinette, who is now listed as one of the translators.

After fifty years in publishing Toinette abandoned editorial work and devotes herself to East Asian brush painting, which she taught at the Educational Alliance for four years and now teaches on the Upper West Side of New York City. You can view and purchase her paintings and cards at