Minimalism Book Summary - Minimalism Book explained in key points
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Minimalism summary

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Live a Meaningful Life

4.1 (370 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Minimalism by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus is a guide to a simple and more intentional way of living. It invites us to question our possessions, habits, and values, and to embrace a slower and more meaningful lifestyle by getting rid of the excess and focusing on what truly matters.

Table of Contents

    Minimalism
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 7

    Money and stressful jobs are not keys to happiness.

    Many people grow up with the expectation that getting “a good job” is everything. From this perspective, true “success” is based on how good the job is – which is largely dependent upon the size of the paycheck.

    But the truth is: money doesn't buy happiness.

    Even rich people will tell you that more money comes with more problems, including being so stressed that you resort to comfort eating, waste money on meaningless gadgets and constantly think about the future while never enjoying the present.

    Success often comes at another great cost: very few hours to spend with loved ones. Many children from families of success-oriented adults are raised by hired help, just so their parents can spend more time earning money.

    So, more often than not, the thing that money really buys is unhappiness.

    Ask yourself this: Is any stressful job worth having?

    Coauthor Ryan Nicodemus asked this question while working at what many would consider to be a great job. He was even on the rise, getting promoted to a managerial position, but the role came with 80-hour work weeks and huge amounts of responsibility and pressure. What it added up to was debilitating anxiety, stress and depression.

    Nowadays, Nicodemus believes there is no amount of money to justify the toll a stressful job has on your mental health. However, when you’re wrapped up in the job-is-everything mentality, it feels like you always need to make more and more money.

    Both Nicodemus and his coauthor, Joshua Fields Millburn, thought they would be happy once they hit $50,000 a year. But after reaching that milestone, the goal quickly crept up to $75,000, then $100,000 and so on. At no point did they feel satisfied.

    Part of the reason for wanting more was that, as their paycheck grew, so did their financial commitments and responsibilities – in the form of loans, cars and mortgages. Eventually, enough was enough and they both quit their jobs and decided to live on less money.

    It was at this point that Millburn and Nicodemus finally experienced happiness. All thanks to their decision to adopt a minimalist lifestyle of working and consuming less.

    But as we’ll see in the blinks ahead, the minimalist ethos is about more than money and work; it’s about letting go of everything that holds you back.

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    What is Minimalism about?

    Minimalism (2011) offers readers an alternative path that avoids nine-to-five drudgery and helps them focus on what’s important in life. Authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have practical guidance on how anyone can free themselves from the financial and emotional binds of modern life to build a new and simpler lifestyle that is still authentic and rewarding.

    Minimalism Review

    Minimalism (2011) by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus is a thought-provoking exploration of the benefits of living a more intentional and minimalist lifestyle. Here are three reasons why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Offering practical tips and strategies, the book helps readers declutter their lives and prioritize what truly matters.
    • Packed with personal anecdotes and relatable stories, it provides a relatable perspective on the journey towards minimalism, making it an engaging and enjoyable read.
    • The book challenges societal norms and encourages readers to rethink their relationship with material possessions, inspiring a newfound sense of freedom and contentment.

    Best quote from Minimalism

    No matter how you contribute, you get to feel an immense satisfaction from your contributions – a satisfaction like no other.

    —Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
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    Who should read Minimalism?

    • Readers who are ready to live a more peaceful lifestyle
    • Anxious and distracted people eager for a decluttered life
    • Anyone who’s tired of living for a paycheck

    About the Author

    Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus were both on the corporate fast-track and earning six-figure salaries before they realized how unfulfilling living this supposed dream was. So they decided to pack it all in to live simpler and more fulfilling lives. Since then, they’ve been sharing their journey and the many lessons they’ve learned along the way on their popular website: theminimalists.com

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    Minimalism FAQs 

    What is the main message of Minimalism?

    The main message of Minimalism is that living with less can lead to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

    How long does it take to read Minimalism?

    The reading time for Minimalism varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Minimalism a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Minimalism is a valuable read for anyone seeking to simplify their life. It provides practical guidance and inspiration to embrace minimalism.

    Who is the author of Minimalism?

    Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are the authors of Minimalism.

    What to read after Minimalism?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Minimalism, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Stuffocation by James Wallman
    • The More of Less by Joshua Becker
    • Scaling Down by Judi Culbertson
    • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • Mind Over Clutter by Nicola Lewis
    • Love People, Use Things by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
    • The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
    • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
    • Travel Light by Light Watkins