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Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Paperback – December 8, 2011
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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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This book focuses briefly on 5 areas of your life to improve to have happiness [I'm not sure how these 5 ideas relate to minimalism, so it was kind of weird]. I think their ideas are solid, and if someone could do what they say in this book, I believe it would improve their life dramatically.
The problem is that the book doesn't actually give you any kind of road map or instructions on how to accomplish what they tell you to accomplish. In the interest of keeping the book "minimal", they don't go into detail. So, for example, one chapter is about improving your relationships and getting rid of destructive relationships. Which I can agree would be a helpful thing. But there are no ideas or instructions on how you actually would go about doing that? The chapter on finding your passion vs your crappy job - cool. I wanna do that! How do I do it? I still have no idea, after reading this book cover to cover.
I found all the chapters like that, honestly, except the one on healthy living. That one has very good detail - and will be completely overwhelming for the average American. They recommend a very restrictive diet [one which I already eat and which I agree 100% will radically improve your health] and a very active lifestyle [which I also agree with]. The health advice is not going to feel "minimal" to the sedentary person who is eating the Standard American Diet though.
So... I love the ideas in this book. But I am no closer to achieving any of them or even having a clue on how to do that after reading this book.
What I got instead was what the subtitle says "live a meaningful life", with chapters entitled: health, relationships, passion, growth, contribution. Which are the areas the authors found to be key apparently AFTER they had minimized the "stuff" of their lives. The title seems contradictory to the contents. Who would want minimal health, relationships, passion, growth, or contribution? On page 117 of 121 there is a section titled "the role of minimalism". The first sentence is "so we finally get back to minimalism".
So they finally get to the main title of their book in the last 4 pages. And even then the most you get is a link to a getting started page on their website. I agree the 5 areas are key in life but each has been written about in countless volumes by other authors for many years. Many of whom have made it their life's passion to explore deeply just one of these 5. Because of how radically these 2 minimized their lives I was looking for ways to better live a "less is more" lifestyle and downsize the tangibles of life. Instead almost the entire focus of this book was on intangibles. I did find a few valuable nuggets but overall it was very disappointing.
This book was neither. It was a run down of all the awesome things they now experience in their lives as minimalists. Halfway through I started to feel like they were rubbing my nose in it. I really do like their other minimalism centered media.... just not this book. The book feels like someone explaining how great it is to do laps in the deep end while you're working up the nerve to dip your toe in. I know how fantastic it is to be a minimalist, or at least I think I do, what I need is a book to help me figure out how to get there and keep me motivated after I start.
Bottomline is that this book is just ok so I'm giving it a three star rating. This is not the book for aspiring minimalists who want practical advice they can apply to their everyday lives. It is, however, the appropriate tome for those looking for a glimpse through the window of minimalism at what their lives can be like then they have completed the prerequisites.
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This is what I learned:
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