minimalism book summary

Book Summary: Minimalism by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

The Book in Three Sentences

In this book summary of Minimalism, you’ll learn the story of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, two friends with well-paid jobs who quit their careers and got rid of most of their possessions to start a blog about minimalism. Soon after eliminating unnecessary things from their lives, they realized that the most important aspects of life are: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution. The book details each of those aspects and tells you how to improve upon them in a very general manner.

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus Summary

Chapter 1: Our Arrival

Material possessions won’t make you happy. Real happiness comes from within.

The authors define minimalism as a tool used to live a meaningful life. You do this by removing what’s unnecessary from your life. Minimalism can help you reclaim time, get rid of unnecessary things, enjoy life, live in the moment, focus, pursue passions, and create more while you consume less, among many other things.

Chapter 2: Health

When it comes to diet:

  • You should avoid processed and packaged foods, as well as sugar.
  • You should reduce or eliminate gluten, bread, and pasta, drinks other than water, dairy, and meat.
  • You should incorporate more water, green drinks, fresh juices, vegetables, beans and legumes, fruit, fish, organic food, and vitamins.

Some popular diets include vegetarianism, veganism, pescetarianism, paleo or primal and intermittent fasting.

Complement the diet of your choosing with exercise.

Chapter 3: Relationships

In order to forge better relationships, the authors suggest:

  1. Find great new relationships
  2. Transform your current relationships
  3. Change who you are

The primary relationships are intimate relationships, closest friends, and immediate family. Secondary relationships are important, but you should give them your time and attention once your commitments to your primary relationships have been fulfilled

Remember: change yourself not others.

The eight fundaments of great relationships are:

  • Love
  • Understanding
  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Caring and respect
  • Support
  • Time, presence, and attentiveness
  • Authenticity

Chapter 4: Passions

Your job is a daily grind in exchange for money. A career gives you identity and social status. A mission gets you paid to do what you love. You should find your mission.

The main anchors that keep you from pursuing your passions are:

  1. Identity
  2. Status
  3. Certainty
  4. Money

We tend to give money more importance than it has. Some changes the author recommend related to money include:

  • Get out of debt
  • Sell your house
  • Get rid of cable
  • Cancel unessential bills
  • Get rid of internet at home
  • Get rid of the TV
  • Sell/donate what you don’t use
  • Stop buying material possessions
  • Pay/sell/get rid of your car
  • Walk whenever possible

To find your passion, ask yourself what would you do with your life if money wasn’t an object? What was the last time you were overwhelmed with excitement? Passion is one-half love, one-half obsession.

Chapter 5: Growth

The meaning of life is to grow as individuals and contribute to other people in meaningful ways.

Changes happen in two ways:

  1. Giant leaps (ending a relationship, quitting a job)
  2. Baby steps (gradual, small changes that are more important in the long run) 

When a change doesn’t last, that means the person doesn’t see the long-term benefits.

Chapter 6: Contribution

The more you grow, the more you can help others.

Chapter 7: Confluence

Success = Happiness + Constant Improvement

Further Reading

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