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on December 20, 2012
I am a 57 yr old grandmother who lived a minimalist lifestyle during the difficult years as a young, single mother. Having remarried in 1989 to the best man I have ever known, my life seemed to improve in leaps and bounds by having more financial stability, and the opportunity to finish my education allowing better career opportunities. We live in a small house that we remodeled to suit our needs when my boys were grown & I was able to retire last year.
I have often said that the best memories of my life were when my kids were small and I was poor. We would drive to the beach, with our basket of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, koolaid & cut fruits, spend the day on a remote spot where there were no tourist attractions, just us and the beach. I made a lean to from an old tarp to create shade where my youngest would nap for hours. At the end of the day, we visited I a public bath house, showered off the sand & I dressed them in PJ' s for the hour drive home.
In the years since, I have bought all of the things, or been gifted everything I used to think I wanted, needed or thought I was supposed to have. But the strangest transformation began almost immediately after acquiring all the "stuff" I began to stay constantly stressed over where to put things, surprised that I really didn't love most of it and guilty to have been blessed yet ungrateful. I couldn't understand why, what was wrong with me? Well, your book, along with a few others, smacked me in the head with the understanding: I was perfectly NORMAL! THE CONSUMER IN ME WAS THE CRAZY ONE! Some books go to the extreme, but your book helped me define my own level of minimalism. I have completely decorated my sister's home with my rejects, I have made gifts of beautiful jewelry I never wear to friends and family and I no longer have ANY clothes I don't love or drawers overstuffed with stuff. I plan to finish after the overindulgence of the holidays have passed, and bring exercise, meditation and real joy back into my life. Thanks for the nudge I the right direction!...
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on November 26, 2011
I had not read a single post from his blog before purchasing this book. I was in for a pleasant surprise.

This book is extremely concise (less than a 100 pages), which I value in any blog post, article, or book on simplicity. Quality over quantity.

Which brings me to the next point, this book is on PRINCIPLES (as indicated by the title of the book), meaning it will teach you how to fish instead of just handing out fish. If you want someone to hold your hand, buy the Simple Living Guide (500 pages!) and she will direct step by step, dump your drawers out, separate into three piles kind of stuff. There are many blogs on declutting, and Miss Minimalist and Zen Habits will walk you through. There is no point in Joshua reiterating what countless others have covered in regards to clutter. He is simply here to introduce to you the simple life, offering principles that you'll want to keep for a lifetime. The benefits are immense.

BOOK UNFOLDING:

Book starts out with his story. I like the approach, makes you feel welcome. His stories are insightful and entertaining throughout the book. First story goes: some neighbor tells him about her minimalist daughter while he's spending time in the garage cleaning, yet another weekend gone.

He boils things down to the top reasons why you should simplify your life. He points you to his blog if you need more reasons. I was delighted to see the bullet point about simplifying so your kids don't have to rummage through all your stuff one day! Other minimalists don't touch on this important subject. All the junk piling up in my mother's house --- I wonder how I will counter that monumental task if my dad passes or if some tragic accident happens to both of them. It's not a delightful topic to think about, but it makes it easier on everyone if you prepare and figure out what really matters in life before you pass, not just for your sake, but for the environment and for your children.

Josh takes you through the pros and cons of capitalism. You hear both sides. There are pros and cons to everything. Going green has cons like less-than-baby soft toilet paper or having to lug your empty water can around instead of drinking out of throw-aways. When people write books about their ideas, they often leave the cons out. I like his balanced approach.

He then takes you into budget making (critical for a life of simplicity). His plan is the simplest I've come across. He mentions (wisely) that you can't just put $400 for food, because it varies from month to month. He implements savings and charity donations into his budget, so the rest left is free to spend. He's on the money!

The book covers these topics: Find clutter magnet spots in your house. Opt out of junk mail. Turn hangers around when using a garment to get a clue as to what you actually use every month (brilliant idea!). How to deal with simplicity with kids. How to manage enjoyable gift exchanges (clever points here). Buy quality. Don't get addicted to anything. Give. Don't take short cuts. Love things without owning them, love nature. Speak with integrity. Manage time and your computer desktop. Benefits of less TV. (Basically, he reveals the right direction with innovative ideas to try immediately.)

He finishes the book off inviting you on this wonderful journey of less encumbrance with superfluous things...more time with people who matter. Gives you a lovely family, Christmas portrait on the last page.

IN SUMMARY:

I enjoy how Joshua doesn't push his religious beliefs. I am a Christian, but I still don't like to be preached to. I did enjoy all the great quotes throughout, especially the one by Spurgeon. My dad loves Charles Spurgeon!

If you can't tell, I thoroughly loved this book. I have read a great deal of books on minimalism, but nobody sums it up and packages this kind of life like Joshua does here. Definitely worth having in your Kindle library. I have reaped plenty from having less: mobility, time (to enjoy life), more savings, focus --> a satisfying career, stronger relationships, a greener lifestyle... The list goes on, and it will for you, too.
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on November 11, 2011
I've been reading through becomingminimalist.com for months now and I've gone through all the archives. Joshua Becker is a talented writer who is also a real human being living in the real world. He doesn't make the reader feel guilty or shamed for their stuff, he just tells you how he escaped from the cycle of buying, cleaning, storing, fixing and moving the same types of clutter most of us struggle with. Becker won't tell you to own only what fits in a back pack, unless that's what you really WANT to do. Becker tells you how to be a minimalist while at the same time not making your family worry that you're giving everything away and contemplating running off to join a monastery.

Also, this is my very first ebook purchase and it's pretty great - reading on my Android.
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on November 11, 2011
This is a great and easy way to get a lot of good advice and suggestions on making minimalism work for you. It doesn't tell you the one way to do it, making it easy to take what you need and de-clutter your life.

If nothing else, I would strongly suggest this book to get an idea of how to just make small steps to simplifying your life. I've been slowly removing unnecessary things I have that just get in the way---too many things in my house only makes me feel more stressed and crowded.

Great book and extremely helpful!
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on February 8, 2016
Usually when I read a book like this I'm thinking- "Wow- the author is padding this with FLUFF! The heart of the book could be condensed into much less space! Well- this is truly a minimalist book. Joshua Becker's style is clean and simple. I read it in one sitting. And that's GOOD! I don't need to listen to the same idea over and over. I'm on a journey for 2016 to clear my house which after a series of unexpected events (Mom moving in with us and selling our business) we have WAAAAAY more "stuff" than we have room for. I will probably NEVER be a true minimalist but this book is still valuable for me- helping me to let go of things. I like that he outlines how he and his family downsized and he gives some very compelling reasons for that. I've started with a few small areas and I'm so excited to have clear space!!!! I love the Beckers and their blog and really enjoyed this book. I think it's a good re-read when motivation is flagging
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on December 9, 2011
This..."book"...is little more than a pamphlet if it were printed out. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was sucked in by a blogger's quickie attempt at a "book." These are all the rage these days with bloggers. I've since visited his blog and the "author" is quite enamored with having a "#1 Bestseller!" Well, of course, you offer a nice cover with a nice topic at a nice price and people will buy ebooks. But, this is the new thing for bloggers; get your blog popular enough and then "write a book" (meaning an ebook) and listen to the cash register ring!

Bottom line: This is an amateurish attempt at writing about a serious subject that could have deep philosophical analysis and a plan of action that would seriously allow one to simplify their life. This has a few good common sense platitudes, an anecdote here and there...this isn't a 'real' book. I wish Amazon had a separate section for blogger wanna-be authors to peddle their wares. No more blogger quickies for me. I'll pay closer attention next time.
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on January 6, 2013
Book took about 20 minutes to read and I found nothing relevant in the book...he gave some simple suggestions but never really told anyone how to go about it...was a total waste of money...glad I only spent $2.99
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on February 8, 2013
I was very disappointed with this Ebook. It was pretty much everything I had already read on his website. Hadn't read reviews before I bought it. Will be sure to read reviews next time I am interested in an Ebook. So just scour his website for free, save your money
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on January 21, 2014
For me, this was just a rehash of what I have read on his blog. You may find it helpful but it wasn't very to-do focused for me. However, this guy puts together a great newsletter! Well worth subscribing too.
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on November 25, 2011
I was very disappointed. This is a very short book with very little substance. When I finished it (much quicker than I anticipated), my first reaction was, what...that's IT???? Another review said the checklists are helpful, but there are no checklists here. While I haven't read much of the author's blog, the book seems like it is just a compilation of blog posts. I was unable to glean anything new or fresh from this book. I feel like I wasted my money.
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