Minimalism Book Summary - Minimalism Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Minimalism summary

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Live a Meaningful Life

4.1 (378 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

    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    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.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Minimalism?

    Key ideas in Minimalism

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    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
    example alt text

    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:

    Categories with Minimalism

    Book summaries like Minimalism

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    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
    • Scaling Down by Judi Culbertson
    • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
    • The More of Less by Joshua Becker
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
    • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
    • The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
    • Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
    • Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel