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Simplicity: Essays Paperback – September 21, 2012

88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


-Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

"A life-changing book"
-Chris Brogan, New York Times bestselling author of Trust Agents

-Colin Wright, author of My Exile Lifestyle

About the Author

The Minimalists--Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus--are bestselling authors and international speakers who write and speak about living a meaningful life with less stuff. Their books include Essential: Essays by The MinimalistsMinimalism: Live a Meaningful LifeAs a Decade Fades: A Novel, and Everything That Remains: A Memoir. They have been featured in the New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA TodayForbesBoston GlobeSan Francisco ChronicleChicago TribuneSeattle TimesToronto StarGlobe & MailVancouver Sun,Village VoiceLA Weekly, and many other outlets. Visit the authors online at

Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Asymmetrical Press (September 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938793048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938793042
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Sam Lustgarten on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ryan and Joshua continue to catalogue their journey leaving the rat race, selling extras, and clearing the clutter in mind and space. Simplicity: Essays is another collection book by the two Minimalists. A couple of the stories are new - just for the book. But, the vast majority of essays are republished from the web. This always bothers me a bit; albeit, I find that reading these essays in a thematic form helps assimilate the information.

One problem I found with this most recent book:
The guys recommend ridding yourself of the tower of DVDs. It's just taking up space. I agree, and I'm not one to collect movies. But there's a hypocrisy to enjoying what you have, and never coming back to it. They mention that once you've seen a movie once, going back to it is an effort to live in the past. They're about the present. Unfortunately, like a good book, you can find yourself returning for new inspiration and experiences. The movie Fight Club is a perfect example. I've seen it 5 times or more. I rewatch it - not for the past - but for the present reminder of consumerism, materialism, and purposelessness amidst this culture of consumption. I always gain something new.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Leighton on September 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I am once again impressed at how these guys can continually produce excellent books and essay compilations. I read this one in only 2 1/2 hours. Once you begin, it's hard to put it down. This one is nothing more than essays but the book flows so nicely and it NEVER gets boring. The sections are short and to the point. It is not a book about just getting rid of your stuff. It is more of an outline on how to achieve a more fulfilling, happy, and meaningful life. Through personal experience these guys are able, through their writing talent, to help many people in this consumer driven society realize that more is not better. I began my minimalist journey a few months back and I still have a lot of work to do. What I have learned is that with the elimination of more stuff I add MORE value to my life. If this is what you are looking for, then this is the book for you!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Godow on January 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The premise of the book is certainly compelling, and I have no doubt that the authors have some interesting stories to tell. The problem is that none of those seem to have made it into this particular volume. I wonder if I should have started with their previous book, which might tie together an actual story about the authors' emotional and intellectual development. Ultimately, I found "Simplicity: Essays" to be a rather unsatisfying compilation of short anecdotes, aphorisms, quasi-spiritual tracts, and life coaching/self-help advice with no real verve or message.

One problem is a certain mealy-mouthedness and circumlocution around what "minimalism" actually means. The authors acknowledge up-front that they're not working towards an absolute minimum of possessions. Instead, minimalism seems to mean a generally balanced lifestyle with moderate income, healthy relationships, love of nature, pleasure in everyday things, etc., etc. Really, their idea of minimalism seems to match the life ideal of ~90% of the population.

The major issue is the fact that these essays, together and separately, just don't make for a good story. It's hard to really sympathize or identify with the authors because the general narrative seem a bit too varnished and smooth around the edges. They talk in general terms about the emptiness of materialism/striverism/the professional grind but don't come off as vulnerable or honest enough to really make a connection. The hipster-glamorous photos and the breezy references to the authors' success in their previous lives evoke slick brand management more than the humility from a difficult life experience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Foley on September 22, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a nicely assembled collection of the best essays from the authors' web site ( I've read a number of these pieces before, but it was really useful for me to read them again (together with new material), this time intentionally grouped together in this collection. The essays are of varying lengths, which makes it easy to find a digestible amount to go through. Read a few essays or an entire section, reflect on what you've read, and then go back for more. It's also the kind of collection that can act as a guide book that you can refer back to over time. The sections on personal relationships and how to live a meaningful life show that there's so much more to minimalism that just getting rid of "stuff". I've got a long way to go if I want to transform my life as much as Joshua and Ryan have, but with this book, I've got a good guide for how to do so. For those curious about living a more meaningful life and looking for ways to do so, this book is a great start.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michele Couture on September 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I first found Joshua and Ryan while researching Minimalism on-line and read some of their stories on their blog. Then I read through from the beginning and read every story. After purchasing the last two books and devouring them, I knew that I would also find many useful guidelines and suggestions for simplicity and minimalism in this new book.

I don't have a favorite essay - every essay has some part in it that resonates with a gut instinct that I have been having that my life needs to change. Even as I write this, I am not sure what life at the end of this process will look like for me, but I see myself smiling. Finding passions, simplifying life, becoming a positive contribution in this world, and so much more. It is all in this book. Very personal stories that relate to dealing with difficult issues that come up when you make a change in life and how it causes a reaction in others.

The section of the book that spoke most to me was " Intentional Living". Seeing what matters most in life, growing as a person and finding real value in the world around me...this is one of my quests. It is great to have people who have forged their way through and now are sharing their stories to help the rest of us through.

Thank you, guys, for sharing your stories and for all of the encouraging ways that you give back.
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