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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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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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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 on Oprah.com, Forbes, Yahoo!, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, and more. She inspires people to consume less and live more, on her blog caitflanders.com. Cait lives in Squamish, BC, Canada, with her three loves: the mountains, the forest, and the ocean. Website: www.caitflanders.com
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Her writing is so open, honest, and non-judgmental in a "you do you" way that it's easy to hear the message without getting defensive. What a friend told her is spot on-- connecting with people is Cait's superpower, and she makes readers feel like we've known her forever and are BFFs.
We all have struggles, some more socially acceptable than others, and when we're ready to confront them her example of persevering despite all that life throws at you makes us feel that we can too.
Life is a bumpy ride; Cait gives us a courageous example, encouragement, and a few pointers to make the journey a little better.
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.