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Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Paperback – December 8, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 192 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This is the minimalism book everyone's been waiting for." 
- Intrepid Radio 

"An excellent new book." 
- Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

"The joy of living with less." 

About the Author

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus are bestselling authors and international speakers who share their message about living a meaningful life with less stuff. Their story has been featured on the TODAY show and in TIME, PEOPLE, Forbes, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Vancouver Sun, Village Voice, LA Weekly, and many other outlets. Visit the authors online at TheMinimalists.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Asymmetrical Press (December 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615648223
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615648224
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Firstly, let me start by saying that I only subscribe to four blogs, and the blog by these authors (The Minimalists) is one of them. At a time when so many people are being hit with so many things that look like they need to be done, the authors are really good at using minimalist principles to focus on what is important.

That's what they do in their blog. That's not what I found in this book. Apart from the occasional sentence mentioning that minimalism helps you focus on the important things, the rest of the book contains:

- Details on the authors' story of how they became minimalist and left their jobs. Only a small amount of added information compared to their blog, but I did enjoy that part.
- A chapter on the importance of eating unprocessed foods and doing exercise. No information that was new to me.
- A chapter on the importance of prioritizing the more important relationships in your life and working to eliminate relationships with negative impact. No real concrete directions other than to create a list of all the people in your life and catalog how close they are to you and whether their impact on your life is positive, negative, or neutral, then prioritize your use of time accordingly. Several pages about things like love and trust being important in relationships.
- A chapter on the importance of finding your passion, having a mission in life rather than just doing a job. One really good paragraph about the idea that if you don't know what your passions are then you still have anchors, things that are dragging you down (like stress from debt for example).
- Chapters on the importance of growing as a person and contributing, but again no real advice other than to get doing that stuff.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've been a reader of the minimalists.com for a while now and I've drank the koolaid. After just about a week of combing through blog entries and many long walks- I decided to go for it. I mean what did I have to loose... except everything. So I donated and re-gifted about 80% of my material things. It felt amazing and today I'm still on a quest to live with less and live more simply.
What I haven't mentioned is that I was living at home at the time I decided to radically change my way of consumption (I was an RN right out of college, preparing to move out). At first, my parents didn't get it. I think they even laughed one time and called it 'spring cleaning'. But as I got rid of more and more they became concerned. They didn't get it. And it was hard for me to explain to them why exactly I was doing it. Why it felt so freeing.
Things became more troublesome when I did move out. Here was this nice open apartment, 'a space that would look great decorated' per my mother. If you don't see the problem yet, I'll spell it out. I didn't want more stuff. Let alone her decorating expertise (Ahh! I hope you never read this mom).
Life went on as always, and while we were still the same family, it was hard to talk to them about the important things because we no longer saw eye-to-eye.
That's where this book came in.
We have a family get together at least once a year and this year we decided that New Hampshire was the place to be. It was a long drive, and so after we lost all of the recognizable home radio stations, the car went silent. Mom was bored and dad was driving, so I took out this book and began reading it out loud. Most of the stuff, as many have mentioned below, is old news to those who read the blog religiously.
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Format: Kindle Edition
You don't have to settle for a mediocre life. At one time Ryan and Josh were facing the daily grind, moving their way up the corporate ladder and working for the weekend. But when the slow burn of discontent became too intense to ignore they took action. They knew that they should change their lives but unlike most people they actually made it a priority.

Enter Minimalism. It's right there in the title. But don't pick up this book expecting a step by step guide on how to become a minimalist (their website can help with that: themins.com). Instead this book is about living a meaningful life. More specifically how to build a meaningful life through your health, relationships, passions, growth and contribution.

One of my favorite elements of Josh and Ryan's writing is how genuine they are. In this book they really allowed themselves to dig deeper. They teach what has made them happy. They teach how they were able to rid themselves of discontent and live a more meaningful life.

I can't thank Ryan and Josh enough for their writing over the past couple of months. When I first started my minimalist journey they were the torches that guided me out of the darkness of materialism. This book shows the growth of their writing and how they plan to continue their journey towards living a more meaningful life. And they aren't going at it alone.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to admit that prior to purchasing this book I had only read one essay from these gentlemen. The essay aligned with my views and so I purchased the book as a way to start my pursuit of minimalism. I wish I had researched other books first as I found this one to be a poor choice for someone choosing to start a minimalistic lifestyle.

The main problem I had with the book was the writing/tone of the book itself. The authors shared their "inspirational" story about leaving money to pursue what they were passionate about. In theory that's wonderful, and I applaud them for their success....but even as someone who thinks positively, I know that's not a realistic possibility for everybody.

The authors jump from concept to concept----minimalistic social life -BAM!- minimalistic health -BAM!--you're basically seeing what it looks like (at surface) to have that lifestyle, but not how to implement or apply the concepts to your life. Each chapter has useless information, is too abstract, and lacks major clarification and direction on how to achieve that way of life. And if you're starting the whole journey, such as I am, you could easily find yourself hyperventilating at the thought of changing everything so drastically at once. I'm not sure how the authors thought they would help people by writing the book this way, which makes me question whether their goal is to genuinely help people or to make money.

If you're starting to follow minimalism, and are looking to change your way of living, I'd recommend another book.
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