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The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store Hardcover – January 16, 2018
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“If you’ve ever felt there must be more to life than consumerism and its vicious cycle, you’ll find inspiration to break free in The Year of Less. Cait’s highly readable and personal story is encouraging, challenging, and unbelievably helpful.”
— Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less
“Cait Flanders is a brave woman. As I read, I cried. But my heart also brimmed with joy. For anyone who doesn’t think they can, Cait’s story shows that it doesn’t matter where you start, only where you go from there.”
— Gail Vaz-Oxlade, host of Til Debt Do Us Part and author of Debt-Free Forever
“Cait’s audacious goal—a yearlong shopping ban—has sparked a deeply personal book full of lessons for all of us on finding more fulfillment and meaning in our lives (without all the stuff!). A game-changing read for anyone searching for simplicity in our consumer-focused world.”
— Rachel Jonat, author of The Joy of Doing Nothing
“The Year of Less is beautiful, vulnerable, and real. Cait’s words inspired me to be braver in my writing and life, and I’m sure it will inspire you too.”
— Tammy Strobel, author of Everyday Adventures Journal and You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)
“Minimizing belongings in my life cleared space for so much goodness to fill the space stuff once did. Cait’s The Year of Less is inspiring . . . a powerful example of how transformative downsizing possessions can be, and how you can take it to the next level.”
— Katie Dalebout, author of Let It Out
“Cait comforted herself with alcohol, binge eating, and compulsive shopping, then finally said, ‘Enough is enough.’ This isn’t another book about how to live with less, but instead a heartbreaking and then a heartwarming story that shows us if we are willing to let go of the things we think we need, we can have a life we really want.”
— Courtney Carver, author of Soulful Simplicity
“Creating meaningful change in your life takes significant time and effort, and in this book Cait shares a deeply intimate view into just how substantial that change can be. If you’re looking for inspiration and practical examples of how to take steps toward a better future for yourself and the people you love, The Year of Less will give you that and so much more.”
— Anthony Ongaro, founder of breakthetwitch.com
“This book is such a gift. A gift for anyone who’s ever wanted to change but has been afraid—afraid to fail, afraid of what we might discover about ourselves as we strip back the layers, and afraid of what will happen if we don’t. Cait writes beautifully and honestly about the work of creating a life with less, and gives you permission to step off the ever-revolving carousel of compulsive and mindless consumption and into the goodness that lies on the other side.”
— Brooke McAlary,host of The Slow Home Podcast author of Destination Simple
“An inspiring story of how one woman overcame the obstacles of addiction—to shopping, alcohol, and food—to create a purpose-driven life. You will walk away ready to change your life and with an understanding of why embracing less will set you free.”
— Elizabeth Willard Thames, author of Meet the Frugalwoods
About the Author
Cait Flanders is a former binge consumer turned mindful consumer of everything. Through personal stories, she writes about what happens when money, minimalism, and mindfulness cross paths. Cait's story has been shared in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Vogue, Oprah.com, and more. Her first book, The Year of Less, is a self-help memoir and a Wall Street Journal bestseller.
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The most minor flaws are editorial. In the introduction, the author suggests that what follows is the stuff and story from between the blog posts that tracked her "year of less" in live time. But as other reviewers have observed, the chronology is peculiarly hard to track—this in spite of the book's well-intentioned progressive monthly structure. There's also an odd tendency towards repetition across the duration of the book; single lines and entire anecdotes themselves appear over and over again, sometimes literally from one sentence to the next. At first I struggled to discern whether this was some misguided attempt at stylistic flair or an editorial lapse, then I struggled to care. By the end, I wasn’t even sure what I’d read: a memoir? A self-help book? A cautionary tale?
Despite the failed translation from blog-to-book and the lack of editorial seriousness, this piece could have conveyed a strong message and offered direction, and I wish it had—not only to spare me from my own buyer's remorse, but as a contribution to a topic that I think warrants examination in our Amazon-access age. Alas, it lacked substance, clarity, maturity, depth and the specificity that elicits true interest. Ultimately, like the author herself at the outset of her mission, I now have to dispose of a book I bought impulsively and didn't enjoy. Joke’s on me. Two stars for that lesson learned.
I've been following Cait's blog for several years, and was very excited to find out she had written a book. I thought this book would be about minimalism and being less of a consumer. And maybe some personal finance-insights that might inspire new ideas for how I live my life.
But ... wow. There is so much more here. Cait opens up, and shares personal stories of her life, that I would never have guessed at, reading her blog. The pains, the heartbreaks, the longings, the desperate need to try not to feel any of this - and the way she has looked it all squarely in the face, and talked herself through all of it. How she has learned to cope and to feel, in a way that is healthy, and to open herself back up to living her life on her terms: peaceful and fulfilled, and calm in her mind.
I am genuinely impressed that she writes so freely about the mundane and the minutiae of an everyday life - the good, the bad, the ugly - and then... she transcends all of it.
Throughout, there is this message that we can all make our everyday lives something special, something to be learned from, something to derive personal knowledge and growth from.
I will definitely re-read this book. I found it very inspiring!