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The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Business and in Life

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  5,418 Ratings  ·  530 Reviews
With the countless distractions that come from every corner of a modern life, it's 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
ebook, 192 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Hyperion (first published 2008)
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Apr 04, 2012 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  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
There are 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. And we move on.

I'm not sure who this book is for, or whom. Bc 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. Tho
Anna Bearne
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
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
3 stars

I read a few books about minimalism lately, because truth is I tend to be both a hoarder and excessive buyer, habits I need to stop as they're wrecking havoc with my nerves every time I open my closet, as well as my finances. This book however is mainly about living with less commitments and not less stuff (even though cleaning your clutter is mentioned briefly). And of those commitments, two kinds are discussed in length: work commitments and those concerning health and fitness.

For bette
Manik Sukoco
Since there are many other (excellent) reviews for this book, I won't repeat what has already been said more than this: this is a great book that explains how effective and powerful minimalism can be in your life.
What I have not seen said, however, is the main point of this book: Living with less will make you a happier person.
While Leo goes into great details about how to live with less, why it is good, how it can help, etc., the main point is that you will be happier. Not only by living with l
Jun 30, 2011 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 30, 2012 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
May 04, 2013 Lyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Dec 31, 2015 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always with this type of book, there are a few good ideas that I'll try, and quite a few more that make me scratch my head and ask, "who could get away with this?"

I certainly want to simplify and focus in the new year (2016) and probably the major idea I like from this book is that of choosing the three most important things I want to accomplish at the very start of the day. My job revolves around a lot of interruptions, changes, and new tasks, but it's important that I don't lose sight of wh
Donna Smallin 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.
Aug 12, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 22, 2012 Bonnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was very obvious. While I picked up one or two good tips, the overall message was pretty common sense.
LynnDee (The Library Lush)
The author was extremely repetitive but he had a lot of good points and tips that I am willing to try.
Jun 08, 2015 Stella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, organizing
There was nothing new here for me, however, i read a lot of books on this subject, so it wouldn't be fair to blame the book for it.
There is a lot of useful advice here for sure.
Sep 20, 2010 Cara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life
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
Bruno Cunha
Nov 13, 2011 Bruno Cunha rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Aug 13, 2011 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Apr 10, 2010 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, audiobook
From the small size of this book and the title, I expected a philosophical treatise on simplicity. The book brushes on that, but is more. The repeated focus is to reduce things in your life, things like goals, possessions, to-do items. With this reduction comes the ability to more easily focus on a singular item, topic, task. The book evolves into a series of suggestions about how to do this in today's world, including generating focus for health and eating, and for email handling. Lots of inter ...more
Oct 28, 2014 Pequete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus-emprestados
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.
Jun 07, 2016 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Three and a half stars. I really enjoy Leo Babauta's blog, and I think that his work is better in blog rather than book form. This book did feel like an extended blog post.

Babauta discusses a lot of his recipe for simplicity in this book. And I have to say, that I did end up with some good tips on how to simplify my work and be more productive. I also appreciate the section on saying NO to outside requests.

There were also some good tips for motivation and fitness as well.

Sarah S.
I enjoy Leo Babauta's blog so I thought that I would equally like his book. I did, but I feel like there was a lot of similar content. Despite that, it was a good reminder of simplifying things particularly at work. It never hurts to re-read these principles as with time, excess tends to creep back into our lives. My rating was based on it being an informative and encouraging book. I just save my higher ranking for stories that are more of an emotional experience.
Jul 07, 2014 Lisaana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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...

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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.” 7 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.” 6 likes
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