Thoreau wrote about a wide variety of topics about civil disobedience, nature, friendship, and philosophy. After a few years of living among society, friends said he grew tired of the materialism around him and went to live in the woods, in a cabin by Walden Pond in Massachusetts, to seek out the true importance of life.
There he wrote a book with the same name about his adventures and reflections on life in a quieter place. He grew and ate his own beans, made his own clothes, and cataloged species of birds and plants.
He stayed for 26 months and then felt he was ready to return to "civil society" once again. Critics often refer to Walden as a spiritual and reflective portrait on nature, life, and the value of quiet.
Here are a few of Thoreau's own thoughts on simplicity:
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand, instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”
“Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have even lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.”