Love People, Use Things Book Summary - Love People, Use Things Book explained in key points
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Love People, Use Things summary

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Because the Opposite Never Works

4.4 (466 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

Love People, Use Things by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus is a book that helps you to live a meaningful life with less. It offers insights, practical tips, and personal experiences of the authors who achieved the minimalist lifestyle while maintaining relationships and pursuing their passions.

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    Love People, Use Things
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    Key idea 1 of 7

    Your excess consumer goods may be holding you back from happiness.

    Meet Jason and Jennifer Kirkendoll. By their mid 30s, this couple had it all – four kids, two dogs, and an enormous house packed with designer clothes, fancy furniture, and countless consumer goods. Really, they only lacked one thing: happiness.

    Despite their material wealth, the Kirkendolls were miserable. They had no time for each other and no energy for creative pursuits. So they made a change. They rented a dumpster and filled it with all their excess junk. Then, one day, the dumpster caught fire and all the junk burned – along with their house.

    Luckily, no one was hurt. And oddly, the fire was the best thing to ever happen to the Kirkendolls. It wiped away their material fixation for good. The only thing left was a sense of freedom.

    The key message here is: Your excess consumer goods may be holding you back from happiness.

    Minimalism is the art of living a fuller life by having fewer things. You see, our modern world encourages us to seek happiness, fulfillment, and meaning through consumerism. A constant barrage of advertising and social norms tell us that buying certain clothes, electronics, or other goods will enhance our lives. But these purchases only offer brief gratification and do little to actually improve how we feel.

    In fact, a lifestyle of consumerism is at the root of many contemporary problems. Excessive buying leaves many people struggling with debt – today, the average American holds more than $16,000 in credit card debt. And the things we buy often go unused or unappreciated. They clutter up our homes and distract us from more fulfilling activities, like learning skills or spending time with loved ones. 

    Luckily, it's possible to break this cycle by removing all the excess that’s cluttering up your life. A good way to start is by separating all your goods into three piles. One pile is for essential goods, things like food and basic clothing. The second pile is for nonessential things, which are items that are useful but not strictly necessary – think furniture or treasured keepsakes. The final pile is the junk pile. You can sell, donate, or toss pretty much everything in this pile.

    Of course, this process isn’t easy. Sorting your items makes you think deeply about what you truly value. But such introspection is really an added bonus. Thinking critically about the things you own opens space to reevaluate your entire life. It might even push you to recognize other changes you need or want to make.

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    What is Love People, Use Things about?

    Love People, Use Things (2021) is a manifesto extolling the pleasures of minimalism. This primer explains why living with fewer things can lead to less clutter and more fulfilling relationships.

    Love People, Use Things Review

    Love People, Use Things (2021) is a thought-provoking book that challenges our societal obsession with material possessions and encourages a more intentional, minimalist lifestyle. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • It offers a refreshing perspective on consumerism, reminding us of the importance of valuing relationships and experiences over material goods.
    • Through personal stories and practical advice, the authors show how minimalism can lead to greater happiness, freedom, and fulfillment.
    • The book sparks self-reflection and invites readers to question their own attachment to things, ultimately inspiring them to live a more meaningful life.

    Who should read Love People, Use Things?

    • Budding hoarders looking to cut back
    • Thrifty savers seeking tips on light living
    • Anyone interested in the practice of minimalism

    About the Author

    Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are the founders of, a site dedicated to spreading the practice of minimal living. Millburn is the author of numerous best-selling books including Everything That Remains: A Memoir; Essential: Essays by The Minimalists; and Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life. Meanwhile, Nicodemus’s writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Seattle Times, and LA Weekly, among others.

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    Love People, Use Things FAQs 

    What is the main message of Love People, Use Things?

    The main message of Love People, Use Things is to prioritize relationships over material possessions.

    How long does it take to read Love People, Use Things?

    The reading time for Love People, Use Things varies depending on the reader's speed. However, you can read the Blinkist summary in just 15 minutes.

    Is Love People, Use Things a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Love People, Use Things is worth reading as it offers valuable insights on simplifying your life and finding true happiness.

    Who is the author of Love People, Use Things?

    The authors of Love People, Use Things are Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.

    What to read after Love People, Use Things?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Love People, Use Things, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Essentialism by Greg McKeown
    • Effortless by Greg McKeown
    • The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan
    • Stuffocation by James Wallman
    • The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
    • The More of Less by Joshua Becker
    • Stillness Is the Key by Ryan Holiday
    • Beyond Order by Jordan B. Peterson