Saturday, April 23, 2016

Minimalism For The Rest of Us

For many, the terms minimalism or minimalists may conjure images of vegan yoga fanatics living in sparse apartments, people traveling the world with all of their earthly belongings in a backpack, or the guy choosing to live in a van down by the river. Yet, there are different forms of minimalism, including the type promoted by Joshua Becker in his book The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own. I consider his form “rational minimalism for the rest of us.” Becker’s blog Becoming Minimalist has been instrumental in my minimalist/essentialist/simple living journey over the last year and I was excited to read his new book.

I can relate to Joshua. Like me, he is a husband, dad, homeowner, has a career, passionately involved in church ministry, and around the same age. These factors helped make the teachings from his book accessible and reasonable for me. Becker defines minimalism as “the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them” (Page 18) and clearly unpacks it in about 220 pages.  

After sharing the story of his launch into minimalism and the benefits of it, Joshua provides well-researched background about consumerism and advertising. This was both eye-opening and convicting. It is also important to note that the author stresses that minimalism and the minimalist lifestyle will look differently for each individual or family. There is no “cookie cutter” approach, but many clear strategies and techniques are presented throughout the book.

In his clear and enjoyable writing style, Josh provides strategies on getting started in reducing the number of possessions cluttering our lives, addressing difficult areas (e.g. mementos and papers), and sustaining a minimalist lifestyle over time. He primarily focuses on the physical minimalism, and doesn't devote much attention to calendar or electronic intentionality and minimalism. Finally, in the last three chapters, Becker details the abundant/purposeful life that minimalism can create. These chapters were outstanding and probably my favorites.

Having started exploring minimalism about a year ago and reading many different blogs, not many of the strategies presented in the book were truly new to me. However, they were great reminders and encouragements to persevere in the journey. I picked up several great tips in the chapters. The testimonies included throughout the book were also very helpful. Finally, while it is not a “Christian book”, it is written from a biblical worldview, something that I deeply respect and appreciate.

Whether you are on the minimalism journey already or just exploring the concepts, I whole-heartedly recommend Joshua Becker’s The More of Less.

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of The More of Less from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased book review.

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