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The message of the book is about living a deliberate life. That’s a philosophy we’ve picked up in many different ways from many different sources over probably as long as most of us have been alive and aware. However it’s easy to say, and not easy to keep being conscious of doing - and so it’s a process we keep getting reminded of doing rather than something we’ll just click with and forever after be. Exercise and relationships are the same. Good news is you can be lousy at it one day and then ‘worlds best’ the next!
One of the tools of living a deliberate life is minimising possessions, both tangible and intangible (e.g., friends you hardly know on Facebook, contacts you definitely don’t know on LinkedIn and music you never ever listen to on your phone). This is really cathartic and I have minimalised a lot while reading the book and yes, not for the first time either, but, as they say in the book, it isn’t the point in itself. You could have loads of possessions and still be living a deliberate life in the same way you could be a stock trader and still be perfectly centred in the moment as much as any yoga guru.
Just one example for me where possessions did get in the way (maybe apply your obsession here if you can’t identify with this one!) was with headphones. I love music but realised most of the time was spent thinking and playing with the headphones and - even worse dear god - watching reviews of headphones on YouTube! So my actual pastime was watching reviews of something that in itself was only a tool for doing what was actually supposed to be the real pastime! Now that’s not so bad and can be a fun diversion in the same way as drinking tea and munching biscuits while watching a bit of reality TV - but when it becomes the main thing in your life?? Now I didn’t have many headphones to start with, have reduced these down, still have too many, but the point is if I only had one pair then there’s no more anxiety about choosing, no more trying different pairs to see how each sound with the same section of one track, and I’m then back to listening just to the music rather than the headphones.
All the essence of this kind of dilemma and un-deliberate living is what this book is about so while you could say ‘Okay got the point, don’t need to buy the book then’, it’s a helpful accompaniment in the same way as going to exercise classes is a helpful accompaniment to getting fit, or writing a journal is a helpful accompaniment to reflecting on your life. Some of the essays are a bit repetitive, some you get the depth of their point and say ‘Ahh . . . yea! . . .’ and then immediately forget it again even though they say you will get the point and say ‘Ah, yea’ and then forget it again, and some of the essays you can immediately make sense of and do something about (e.g., try packing ALL your possessions away as if moving house and then only get out what you need as you need them).
Read the book, it is worth your time and money even if you already get the point - the real point is living as good a life as you can while you can.
Having read the first two books by the Minimalists, I found that this book used a lot of the references from them. I also found it slightly repetitive because I pretty much read the same sentences in the previous books.
Having said that, It's still a really good book. What I actually like about it is that chapters are really short and broken down for you. So if you need that quick boost of daily inspiration to help you get through the day, than tis book is definitely for you.
A powerhouse volume of succinct, actionable advice for those who truly want to live an intentional life with less. Easily digestible in one sitting, or in bite-size for those looking for a daily dose of inspiration, this book pulls together The Minimalists most profound thoughts, anecdotes, lessons and wisdom - providing a pathway to freedom from consumerism, debt and servitude to the corporate world.
Beautifully written, with every word carefully and intentionally chosen, this essay collection is a call to arms for the disillusioned, maxed out masses.
Their documentary is great, their general idea is good. If you want to get more than the documentary, listen to their podcast or read their blog. I don't think I gained anything from reading their books as they were just repeating the same ideas again and in the spirit of minimalism it's probably best not to get another item that's of no value.
Loved it! Thank you Joshua and Ryan. There isn't anything in here that you don't already know...however it's massive on perspective and it's the little reminders that provoke thought. Also if you need a lot of "stuff" to achieve happiness then you have never truly felt happy :)
This book won't give the foolproof steps to becoming a minimalist, but rather it contains thoughts on living with intention and purpose and how these become more relevant in different parts of your life. A collection of essays should be read in small chunks across a period of time, not all at once. So for some reviews saying that its repetitive... yeah it is at times, but we all need reminders of the most basic things in our lives. If you really want to live and breathe this lifestyle then you won't mind that. For the rest of you, I suggest leaving it on your coffee table and only going to a relevant chapter when you feel you need that bit of inspiration. For me, just glancing at the book cover inspires me to think like a minimalist so that beats having to open up their blog for that!
Thought-provoking and superbly written, this collection of essays is hugely enjoyable. I like to dip in and out of the book, reading one or two of the essays of an evening. What I particularly like is that the essays are not written in a 'preachy' way. Fantastic work!