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Simplicity: Essays Paperback – September 21, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Excellent!"
-Leo Babauta, Zen Habits


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

"Fantastic"
-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 TheMinimalists.com.
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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 (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,175,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a nicely assembled collection of the best essays from the authors' web site (theminimalists.com). 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent writing, and it really makes you THINK about your values and the way you're running your life (or not). I love his writing, it's polished, succinct, and contains a wealth of information for you to ponder about the so-called "values" we have today. I found myself thinking, "wow, I never thought about (whatever) that way before", which is always a good thing. Valuable writing and very good information for those who want to lead a more deliberate and thoughtful way of life.
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