Minimalism Book Summary, by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Download "Minimalism Book Summary, by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus" as PDF


Want to get the main points of Minimalism in 20 minutes or less? Read the world’s #1 book summary of Minimalism by Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus here.

Read a quick 1-Page Summary, a Full Summary, or watch video summaries curated by our expert team.

Video Summaries of Minimalism

We’ve scoured the Internet for the very best videos on Minimalism, from high-quality videos summaries to interviews or commentary by Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus.

Full Summary of Minimalism

Overview

Last week, did you spend all your time at work and then come home exhausted? Your house is full of gadgets meant to distract you from the dreadfulness of those long work weeks. You might not realize it for yourself, but there’s no happiness in devoting your life to a job that only provides you with a paycheck. And the things we buy to make our jobs easier just clutter up our lives and cause more anxieties and distractions.

This passage is about how to reprogram your mind and body away from the corporate culture of fast food, disposable goods, and instant gratification. The author uses his own experiences as well as those of others to support this point.

In this article, you’ll discover how your home can be decluttered by reading the following points: You don’t have to get rid of all your stuff; you just need to find a place for everything. Your personal space is where you can relax and think clearly. If your job defines who you are, then it’s time to stop that because we’re more than our jobs.

Big Idea #1: Money and stressful jobs are not keys to happiness.

Many people believe that getting a good job is the key to success. However, even wealthy people will tell you that more money brings about more problems. For example, they may have so much stress from their work that they resort to comfort eating or spend money on meaningless gadgets and never enjoy the present moment.

Success often comes at a cost. Successful people spend so much time working that they don’t have enough time to spend with their families, and their children are raised by nannies or other caregivers.

So, in the end, money doesn’t buy happiness. You may have a stressful job that pays well, but is it really worth it? Coauthor Ryan Nicodemus asked this question while working at what many would consider to be an amazing job. He was even on the rise and got promoted to manager, but he suffered from anxiety and depression because of his 80-hour work weeks and huge amounts of responsibility. What it added up to was debilitating stress. Nowadays, Nicodemus believes there is no amount of money that justifies having a stressful job when you’re wrapped up in the “job-is-everything” mentality.

Nicodemus and his co-author thought that $50,000 a year would make them happy. But after they reached that milestone, they realized it wasn’t enough. They wanted to earn more money every year.

People want more money and possessions because they have financial commitments. Once people get enough of those things, they’re no longer happy. Therefore, one way to be happier is to live with less money and possessions. This involves quitting your job and living on a minimalist lifestyle.

Big Idea #2: To begin your shift to minimalism, pay off your debts and declutter your surroundings.

If you were to ask yourself, “what are the anchors that are dragging me down?” it might not be easy to figure out. But there’s a good chance that you’re in debt in some way or another and it’s weighing on your well-being. That’s why the first step of minimalist living is to pay off all of your debts. It doesn’t matter if they’re credit cards, student loans, or mortgages – all debt will weigh you down and make life harder for you.

Joshua Milburn was preparing for a minimalist lifestyle. He saved money and paid off his debts, which gave him relief in finally being debt-free. Now he could live the life he wanted without any financial worries.

While you’re cleaning up your finances, it might be a good time to clean out your stuff.

First of all, you should recognize that your possessions aren’t a good representation of who you are as a person. Instead, ask yourself if they help you live in the present or prevent it from happening.

For a long time, John Milburn’s mother kept four boxes in her home. They contained all of his elementary schoolwork from handwriting tests to drawings that she never opened.

The author understands that the mother is trying to hold on to her son by hoarding his things. However, the most valuable and meaningful things are our memories and relationships. The author recommends that she keep one drawing in a frame rather than four sealed boxes.

By decluttering, we give ourselves more physical and mental breathing room. It can be overwhelming to have a lot of things around us that require our attention. In the next point, we’ll look at how your body can also be decluttered.

Big Idea #3: Minimalism is also about reducing the amount of junk you put into your body.

There’s no lack of diets and fitness programs. In fact, the amount can seem overwhelming. However, you can avoid trendy diet plans by reprogramming your way of thinking about your body as a machine. You should think that giving it high-quality fuel will allow it to perform at its maximum potential so that junk food like processed foods should be avoided.

Fast food is unhealthy, because it’s full of chemicals and additives that have no nutritional value. Fast food can be tasty in the moment, but it often makes people feel bad afterward. The damage these foods cause to your health and mood far outweighs any pleasure you get from them.

A good organization program should include dairy and bread.

The human body was not designed to digest the large amounts of dairy and bread that we eat today.

Whether you have a gluten or lactose intolerance or not, cutting back on these foods and replacing them with natural whole foods like vegetables, fish and beans will help you feel more energetic. And once you’ve made that adjustment to your diet, you’ll be ready for the next step: getting the most out of your body.

It is important to have a growth mind-set when it comes to fitness. This means that you are always trying to improve upon your last performance, whether it’s running faster, doing more repetitions or lifting heavier weights.

To adopt this mind-set, you need to demand more of yourself. To help make this happen, you can reprogram your thinking away from “I should do my best” to “I must do my best.”

Don’t say you should go out for a run three times this week. Instead, tell yourself that you must go running tomorrow at 8 am. Once you make up your mind to do something, it’s easier to accomplish it than if you just think about doing it. If there are things in life that seem difficult for you to do now, start with the smallest possible step and work your way up until the task is easy enough for you to complete.

Big Idea #4: Change and improvement don’t have to impact your authenticity; they can lead to better relationships.

Friends and family are important. If you’re feeling lonely or unhappy with your relationships, it may be time to change the way you think about them.

The first step to improving your relationships is being willing to change. You can’t expect other people to change, but you can improve yourself. It’s important to take an honest look at your behavior and recognize the things that upset or turn off others. If you’re unhappy about certain aspects of yourself, it’s not enough to think “that’s who I am.” Instead, do something about it and be proactive in self-improvement.

Changing yourself isn’t betraying your authenticity. It’s simply a way to attract better relationships. Would you rather be lonely or would you rather work on yourself so that you’re more appealing?

Another way to improve yourself is by being more accepting of others’ differences. It’s not about finding someone who shares your hobbies or tastes; it’s about love, so you should accept that people are going to think differently than you. If more people were open-minded about whom they hang out with, there would be far fewer lonely people in the world! So, don’t just tolerate and accept your loved ones’ peculiar habits; respect and appreciate them!

If your partner has a hobby you don’t like, it’s not necessarily bad. If they get joy and meaning out of that hobby, then let them do it because that makes them happy.

To better get along with the people you love, follow these four steps: tolerate their interests, accept that they’ll always be there, respect the effort they put into them and appreciate those interests as a part of your life because it’s an important part of theirs.

Big Idea #5: Don’t let work define you as a person.

Changing the way we think about money and work can help us avoid thinking work is everything in life.

You’re a complex person with many interests, some of which are profitable and others that cost money. Your job title is just one part of who you are. It’s important to remember that your job isn’t all there is to you, even though it might feel like it sometimes.

Your job isn’t even in the top five most important aspects of your life. Those are: your health, relationships, passions, personal growth and contribution to society. It makes sense to measure yourself against those things instead of your job title or how much money you make. This is why you should avoid asking people what they do for a living when you meet them for the first time because it’s just another way of asking how much money they make.

Instead of asking people what they do, ask them the things that they’re passionate about. If someone asks you what you do, say something like “I’m interested in many things, but right now I’m most interested in gardening.”

Like this summary? Have too much to read? You'll love my new book summary product Shortform.

Shortform has the world’s best summaries of nonfiction books and articles. Even better, it helps you remember what you read, so you can make your life better. What's special about Shortform:

Sound like what you've been looking for? Sign up for a 5-day free trial here.

Big Idea #6: For more freedom, reduce your dependency on money.

The main purpose of minimalism is to spend less time at a job. This means finding ways to earn less money and live off your investments instead.

There are several ways to live on a small income, including selling off clutter in your home and making things yourself. However, the next step is creating a budget and keeping it.

So, start by making a list of your basic household expenses, such as food and gas. These are the essentials that you have to pay for every month.

Next, make a list of wants and needs. These might include clothing and entertainment. Separate your extra money into two different categories to be spent at the beginning of each month. This will help you avoid overspending on these items.

Make sure you account for every dollar in your budget. If you spend money on entertainment, then that means you can’t spend it on other things until next month.

To reduce resentment and make things fair, get everyone involved in the budgeting process. This will help them feel responsible for making it work. For example, by including your kids in the process they’ll know not to ask for extra money when that money is being set aside for school supplies.

It is, however, still advisable to set up a safety net.

Once you get yourself set up, it will be easy to live comfortably with less money. However, unexpected events may occur that require additional funds.

It’s smart to have a safety net for emergencies. You should start with $500-$1,000 and put the money in an account that you can’t easily access. Then, once you’re out of debt, add more to your emergency fund. This way it will grow quickly as you learn how to budget better.

Big Idea #7: Make life more rewarding and purposeful by taking on difficult work that contributes to society.

You’ve freed yourself from all your dependencies. Now what? You need a strong purpose in life, and the only way you can get one is by having a meaningful life that lets you contribute to society.

Donating money to a charity might seem like enough, but it’s not meaningful unless you do something more.

The most rewarding things in life are difficult to do. Easy activities, like reading in the park or swimming at the pool, aren’t as meaningful. Challenging activities make us feel uncomfortable when we’re doing them but afterwards, they give us a sense of purpose and accomplishment. This can include child rearing or running a marathon—there are many difficulties involved with these tasks, but the rewards make them worthwhile experiences that become our most significant memories.

That’s why we should seek out these kinds of events and use them to improve our lives. These are the kind of things that will help us contribute to society, not just ourselves. Fortunately, there are many charities looking for volunteers to do this kind of work. We can build affordable homes or community gardens with these people and it’ll be very rewarding when we’re done with it.

Although these tasks are hard, you can still make them fun. You could sing songs if it’s raining or cold, or you could have hot chocolate with marshmallows on rainy days to keep your spirits up.

But working in the field is a lot different than an office job. You don’t have to worry about things like your boss or coworkers, but you will be closer to nature and understand how your work contributes to society at large.

Minimalism Book Summary, by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
Share:

Enjoy this summary?

Subscribe to get my next book summary in your email.

Want to get smarter, faster?

Subscribe to my newsletter to get free book summaries and startup notes.
x