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The Power Of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  4,002 ratings  ·  418 reviews
With the countless distractions that come from every corner of a modern life, its amazing that were ever able to accomplish anything. The Power of Less demonstrates how to streamline your life by identifying the essential and eliminating the unnecessary freeing you from everyday clutter and allowing you to focus on accomplishing the goals that can change your life for the ...more
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published (first published 2008)
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Apr 04, 2012 Sharon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: nonfiction
This book can change your life. It did mine before I was finished reading it, and that was totally unexpected by me. I thought the book was about paring down the material things in life, but it's only marginally about that. It's about finding what's important and essential in your life and getting back control and personal time to do the things you love.

The book is easy to read and could be a fast read, but I suggest you take your time. Try out some of the suggestions. They work! The concepts i
Mike Gibbs
While this was a pleasant and easy read, Babauta's approach to personal productivity is a little impractical for normal people. Much of his advice regarding the workplace requires a high degree of autonomy to implement. Additionally, much of his advice regarding the workplace will seem very familiar to those of you who have read anything by David Allen. Every page or two you encounter concepts like project lists, tickler files, one-way inboxes, breaking projects into discrete actions, or having ...more
There's two types of people in this world: those who don't like reviews that start by sorting people into simplifying categories, and those who do. Goodbye to the former.

Now we're left with those who appreciate the clarity and insight provided by lightly-held categories and stereotypes.

So there are three types of people in this crazy, crazy world in which we live, in.
1. Those who are naturally structured and "have it together";
2. Those who are labeled in elementary school as "responding well t
I have some problems with this book. The general principles seem pretty straightforward, but as you read deeper into it, you become confused. 'Pick one...', 'pick five...', 'make a list of three...', 'just one at the time', 'single task - when you showering or driving don't think about anything else', vs. 'use your driving time to think about...', 'write down' vs. 'go paperless' etc. It's all simple and useful, but for a book on setting limitations, it could have a much simpler hierarchy of thin ...more
Ryan Adair
Leo Babauta writes: "There has never before been an age in which we could get so much done so quickly. There also has never before been an age in which we were so overwhelmed with information and tasks, so overloaded with e-mails and things to read and watch, so stressed by the incredible demands of our lives.

"For many people these days, work is a constant stream of e-mails, of news and requests, of phone calls and instant messages, of papers and notes and files. The day starts with an in-box fu
I read it in less than a week, and I loved every sentence of it. If you want something, get it. If you want everything get it all, just one thing at a time. Live in the moment, whatever you're doing, do that, and only that. Slow down, and be happy.
Mark Hollingsworth
This book takes the premise that we are so wrapped up in being busy (because being busy is the new status that everybody seeks, "I work ergo I have status") that we are in fact far less productive than we actually believe.

The author tells a compelling personal story of how he de-cluttered and minimalized his own life and as a result became physically fitter, lost weight, gave up smoking, paid off his debt, and built financial security. The bulk of the book is an easy to follow model which seeks
Alissa Thorne
This book espouses a philosophy that I acknowledge the wisdom of: focus your attention on the things that really matter, in part by cutting the things that matter less. There were some solid chapters with good material--one that summed up a lot of the most valuable aspects of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, and another chapter or on forming or changing habits.

That being said, I didn't feel as though I walked away with the feeling of being fired up about how to apply th
Leo addresses many important issues in improving your life, such as the power of habit, and how one should make only small changes at a time.

I read this book already sold on becoming a minimalist, and wanted some practical advice. I like Leo's writing style - very friendly and helpful, and shows the wisdom of experience.

However, despite his emphasis on making small changes, it isn't clear how to get started with his program. Each chapter gives a different strategy and it's not clear how to apply
A typical pep-talk exhortation--nothing wrong with it, but not much new, either. Doesn't solve the problem of motivation, but then, who has solved that?

One suggestion about dealing with communication on one's own schedule--how about the folks on the other end?

Read this for a library book group--otherwise wouldn't have finished it.
Donna Kuper
I read this book for my Personal Development book club and honestly, didn't learn a whole lot of anything new as someone who has been on a mission to simplify my life and the lives of others. Still, the book is very well-written and served as a reminder to determine and then focus on priorities and let go of the rest.
This book was very obvious. While I picked up one or two good tips, the overall message was pretty common sense.
I think this one is really worth 3 1/2 stars, but of course that's not an option here. It's not a bad book, it's just that I think there are better and more practical productivity books out there. I think it's most effective when read as an addition to more rigorous, perhaps method-based productivity books, or if, in spite of having a system, things are still overwhelming you.

It has it's good parts - Babauta makes good points about slowing down life's pace and not trying to do everything at once
Bruno Cunha
Nov 13, 2011 Bruno Cunha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bruno by: Abilio de Assis
Como sempre falo, livro bom é livro lido. Existem livros para nos divertir (tem gente que vê novela e Big Brother) e tem livros que acrescentam muito em nossas vidas. Adoro os dois tipos e esse livro “Quanto Menos, Melhor”, do Leo Babauta, editora Sextante, certamente acrescentou muito na minha vida. Esse livro dá dicas simples para você reduzir o estresse. Exemplos práticos e reais, empregados pelo próprio autor, demonstram o poder das dicas propostas no livro. Imagino que ser repórter, escrito ...more
I waited a bit to write this review, to try the stuff out and see how it worked for me. This is one I will end up checking out over and over, and maybe eventually buying.

He has some good ideas about lowering the stress in your life and not being overwhelmed by it all. This is a big problem for me, and as I've tried some of his suggestions, I have noticed a difference (for good) in my stress level.

I'm a big "list" person and find myself being really stressed out everyday, because I NEVER get al
Ironically, a book about simplicity and "limiting yourself to the essential" has become the eighth addition to my currently-reading list! But I know other people have holds on it, so I only have two weeks to read it before it has to go back to the library.

I read Leo Babauta's Zen Habits blog ( all the time, and find it challenging and inspiring. Interestingly, earlier this year I was reading Ten Natural Laws of Success and Time Management and contrasting his very organized,
Lacey Louwagie
It's sort of ironic that my main criticism of this book is that it could have been a little shorter.

Still, it IS a very helpful book in producing more productive habits, and I've been more productive since reading it and applying some of its techniques in my life. Leo Babauta's premise, that by trying to do too much, we actually accomplish less, is completely sound. His admonition to focus in a world full of distractions and multi-tasking is definitely needed.

The most helpful suggestions for me
I don't know why I like Leo Babauta. That is, I'm not sure what differentiates him from Tim Ferriss in my mind. Babauta openly admires Tim Ferriss, he's had Ferriss on his blog, Ferriss' quote is on the front of Babauta's book, but I can't stand Tim Ferriss and I like Leo Babauta. Why is that?

Well, I think Babauta has many of the same aims -- streamlining your life for your greatest comfort/personal wellness -- as Tim Ferriss, but he's selling it in a different package. Tim Ferriss teaches other
Okay, some of the ideas in this book are so obvious that I could have easily thought them up on my own. But the point is that I haven't. And reading this inspired me to do some note-taking in prep for some habit-changing. I really think the methods in the book make change more approachable..realistically doable.

One of the main ideas that stuck with me most is that we fritter away our lives doing so MUCH that the things we really had hoped to accomplish never get our attention. He talks about ho
Jeff Yoak
I've looked for some time for a good secular book that looks into notions of things like meditation, mindfulness and such without all the mysticism. This book is squarely non-mystical and glances that target. Unfortunately, I couldn't get all of the value out of the audiobook as much of what I think will be valuable are exercises to be written down and done, practices to include in 10k, 30k and 40k gtd reviews and other things that you can't simply remember. I finished the audio a few days ago a ...more
I've been borrowing many of these types of books from my local library - be more with less, have more meaning with less, less is more, less is better. Some of them are excellent, some dreadful. For me, this one was in the middle. A few tips, a few views, reminding me WHY less-is-more overall works for me. But also the bizarre feeling that this guy's less is really only for the wealthiest among us. But don't put too much store in my take on this one.
This book has very good advice on how to put some order in our daily busy lives, concentrate on what is really important and get more done. Nothing revolutionary - most of it is plain common sense and simple advice - sometimes so simple that we wonder why we haven't thought about it... I like the fact that most of the actions proposed by the author are based on his own experience and I also liked the humour throughout the book.
This book is full of valuable insights into simplifying a chaotic life and finding happiness in the everyday things we do. The author gives practical steps on how to accomplish goals, whether they be long term or short term. Babauta is not long winded, his writing is clear and to the point. I really enjoyed this book and am still using it as a reference/workbook for goal setting and motivation.
A friend gave me "The Power Of Less", whichI devoured one lazy Sunday morning.I'm not usually one for thesetypes of books, but I was intrigued with the ideas advanced soon after I began reading. Leo Babauta advances the perspective there are small changes we can make to impact our lives in healthier ways. Then, in clear and easy steps, hesets forth several strategies to make those changes, which result in a full life with just a little bit less. The writing was so conversational, I felt like Leo ...more
Reynaldo J

File things immediately! Don't create stacks and stacks of junk.

Eat slower. You can enjoy the taste, and the food, and apparently you lose weight over time.

Clean out one drawer at a time, declutter your life! A decluttered home looks nicer, less stressful, and easier to maintain!

That's it. The power of less.
Ilya Mrz

Living without limitations leads to a chaotic existence.
Successful people have the ability to focus.
You can form good habits in 30 days if you follow the right steps.
Resist the urge to multitask – it’s usually frustrating and nonproductive.
Habitually checking your e-mail or surfing the Internet is a tremendous waste of time.
Check your e-mail twice a day.
Staying in the moment allows you to find meaning in mundane tasks.
Learning to say no will help you scale back your commitments.
A clutt
A quick read, not much about de-cluttering. Mostly covers time management by eliminating tasks from your to-do list by focusing on the tasks that help you move forward your important goals/projects. Also talks about baby steps, keeping it simple, etc. overall, it was good, but not great.
It's not a long book, not a hard one, but I like the simple message. It's practical advice that does help. It's just hard to discipline yourself to focus on less in order to get more done. I'm glad that I read the book to give me back up that slower and more focused really does get you farther.
Julia DelSignore Peoples was ok. It's an easy read. He keeps you engaged but I feel like this isn't practical for everyone. Possibly in people's personal lives, but not necessarily at work. I couldn't follow his guidelines at work...the suggestion to limit how often I check email alone would get me in serious hot water. While I understand his point, my organization thrives on email. We communicate via phone, email and instant message constantly. Many people work from home or remotely and we need to stay in conta ...more
Lisa King
The concept of Simplicity is that of setting limitations so that we must choose the essential. By choosing the essential, we create great impact with limited resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy. This of it Japanese haiku which is usually a nature-related poem of just seventeen syllables, written in three lines (five syllables, then seven, then five). Powerful. Choose the essential and simplify. Focus. Eliminate distractions. Start small.

Multi-tasking is not a
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Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger and author. He created Zen Habits, a Top 25 blog (according to TIME magazine) with 260,000 subscribers,, and the best-selling books focus, The Power of Less, and Zen To Done.

Babauta is a former journalist of 18 years, a husband, father of six children, and in 2010 moved from Guam to San Francisco, where he leads a simple life.

He started Zen Habits to
More about Leo Babauta...
Zen to Done Focus: A Simplicity Manifesto in the Age of Distraction The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life The Little Book of Contentment: A Guide to Becoming Happy with Life and Who You Are, While Getting Things Done Zen Habits - Handbook for Life

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“Principle 1: By setting limitations, we must choose the essential. So in everything you do, learn to set limitations.   Principle 2: By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.” 6 likes
“The Power of Less is perfect for achieving goals: Limit yourself to fewer goals, and you’ll achieve more. At the same time, we’ll look at ways to narrow your focus on your projects, so that you can complete them more effectively and move forward on your goals. We’ll apply limitations to our projects to increase our effectiveness.” 5 likes
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