The social philosopher Richard B. Gregg is credited with coining the term "voluntary simplicity" and is said to be "the first American to develop a substantial theory of nonviolent resistance." He was influenced by Gandhi, and traveled to India to learn from him. In turn Gregg was an influence on figures such as Martin Luther King Jr and Aldous Huxley. His book The Value of Voluntary Simplicity is a philosophical essay on the reasons for and benefits of living more simply.
"Voluntary simplicity of living has been advocated and practiced by the founders of most of the great religion: Buddha, Lao Tse, Moses and Mohammed, - also by many saints and wise men such as St. Francis, John Woolman, the Hindu rishis, the Hebrew prophets, the Moslem sufis; by many artists and scientists; and by such great modern leaders as Lenin and Gandhi. It has been followed also by members of military armies and monastic orders, - organizations which have had great and prolonged influence on the world. Simplicity has always been one of the testimonies of the Mennonites and of the Society of Friends."
"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose. For example, the men who tried to climb Mount Everest concentrated their thoughts and energies on the planning of that expedition for several years, and in the actual attempt discarded every ounce of equipment not surely needed for that one purpose."