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Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists
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Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  7,106 ratings  ·  743 reviews
"Like Henry David Thoreau, but with Wi-Fi." — Boston Globe

What if everything you ever wanted isn't what you actually want? Twenty-something, suit-clad, and upwardly mobile, Joshua Fields Millburn thought he had everything anyone could ever want. Until he didn't anymore. Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, Millburn started questioning
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Paperback, 234 pages
Published December 23rd 2013 by Asymmetrical Press
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  7,106 ratings  ·  743 reviews


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Irene McHugh
This book was the single-worst reading experience I've had in a long time. To be clear: my disdain lies with the author and his sidekick smart-aleck friend and not with the message of minimalism.

By chance, a friend sent me a link to the Minimalists.com website with a note that these two guys were going to be in Denver in April 2014. I scanned the website, mostly focusing on the interview videos posted there. Since I'm in a place in my life where I'm scaling back the "stuff," I thought I'd give
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Jess
Feb 23, 2014 rated it liked it
The message of this book is powerful. The writing quality, for me, held back that power a bit. I should admit that I am instantly skeptical (and maybe offended?) by writers who say they are great writers in their own books. It makes me more likely to (mentally) edit the stuffing out of everything I read of theirs after that statement. And this book suffers from being written by someone who is young and thinks he's a great writer: overstuffed prose, awkward metaphors, lack of structure, lack of ...more
Diane
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We have a love-hate relationship with stuff. We love wanting things -- it can be so satisfying to acquire and collect our treasures! But we also have to store all of that stuff. We have to clean it and organize it and maintain it.

Minimalists argue that if we have less stuff, our lives will be richer and happier. We will spend less time cleaning and worrying about our things. We will have more satisfying relationships. We will not have to work as hard or have as much debt because we will be
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Connie
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Minimalist Joshua Fields Millburn has simplified everything in his life except his writing.
S
Aug 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: readingbroadly
Getting rid of excess stuff can be liberating. The author, however, wears his DIY Ethos badge far too proudly: even end-notes posturing as DFW-esque include pseudo-apologies for the bad writing. Youthful arrogance is a Darwinian survival mechanism. Here it manifests in self-indulgent prose starring the author's hubris, "value-added" Marxism, and Facebook Buddhism. The author and his buddies have reinvented the wheel, but are so pumped by the big numbers on their website that they can't hear ...more
John Cooper
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
It's hard to dislike these guys (author Millburn and his colleague Ryan Nicodemus) even given the big business they've created, spreading the gospel of minimalist living by writing about how humbly wonderful they are. Their site "The Minimalists" (http://www.theminimalists.com) really is inspiring and provided me with a single valuable insight: that simply by significantly reducing the number of things I own, I can make myself feel a great deal better about myself. This is so contrary to the way ...more
Emma
Jan 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Update #1: 20 pages in and I'm put off by what a jerk Joshua/"Millie" is as a narrator. Really negative and scornful towards people. We haven't even started on the minimalism and he's already a self-righteous prick. Bleh.

Also, flipping back constantly to the end of the book to read his co-writer's (mostly irrelevant) comments is ridiculous. Footnotes would have been so much more convenient than endnotes.

Update #2:DNF at 40%: gave up on page 80 when it became a preachy, shitty dialogue-only rant
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Amanda
Feb 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Only a really good or a really bad book will prompt me to take the time to write a review. Unfortunately, this falls into the latter category. I learned from the book and read it as such: Did it add value to my life? Nope. That's why I decided to be minimal and stop halfway through.

I get their point. Wealthy white guys leach onto a not-unique idea, find enlightenment in ditching possessions, and preach to the masses who beg to be saved from their sadness. The End.

Additionally, I found the
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Cyndi
May 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. It's about a topic that interests me greatly and people are always saying great things about their blog.

but...

There wasn't really anything original or profound. It was somewhat interesting to see simple living repackaged for a new generation, but it was a long way to go for that.

They seemed rather egotistical and self-centered. I found myself wondering why I would listen to any advise they gave...

The writing just wasn't that good. The author tells us what a
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Rebekah
Feb 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
YAWN! This book was so incredibly boring that I skipped most of it. I just kept flipping ahead hoping for a glimmer of excitement, or at least some advice on becoming a minimalist. Nope. The author is completely self-absorbed and his over-the-top verbiage is anything but minimal and simplistic. I felt like he was trying so hard to impress by using various "interesting" words that a lot of the point of the book was lost. His ongoing, flowery paragraphs just dragged and d r a g g e d.... I know ...more
Frances
This is my second book by the minimalists and I'm torn.

On the one hand I love the philosophy, their ted talk was great and a lot of what they say makes sense. On the other the writing style is pretentious as.

At one point Joshua said 'the clock dripping minutes onto the nightstand' or words to that effect. It's as though he went to one writing workshop, someone introduced him to metaphors and he declared they would be his 'mission'. I understand setting the scene and that it's his memoir but
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J.K. Riki
Oct 06, 2015 rated it liked it
If you're going to read this book, don't read reviews of it first. Let me start there.

There were two distinct sides to this book. One half (though the two were mixed together) was filled with enlightening and fascinating information on minimalism, and the general idea that all the material "stuff" in life is empty. This truth is something most people come to eventually, but it's always great to be reminded, especially as we pursue the "stuff" constantly.

The other side, though, was an
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Kat
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Time for the Honesty Corner. I think the messages of minimalism, conscious spending and deliberate choices are extremely important, but unfortunately they're buried in some really tragic writing within these pages. Like, comically bad. How was this published?? Oh right, Millburn started his own independent publishing company. Clearly they are short staffed on editors, or his friends have been too nice to tell him the hard truth about his writing. It really would have benefitted from a second set ...more
Jessie
Aug 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, improve
Great message, but really quite trying to read. The author has an inspirational story, yet he couches it in such unnecessarily obscure language - an awful combination of old-fashioned terms and informal contractions. The notes add nothing, and might have been presented differently (ie not as endnotes necessitating flicking back and forth) to avoid the interruptions, if not edited altogether. That said, I found Nicodemus' unpacking journal one of the most readable passages.

As I progressed
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Deb Henry
Aug 27, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While I appreciate minimalism and how it can enhance your life, this novel just rehashed the overdrawn tidbits I had heard in interviews and when I saw the friends speak in person. At times it was arrogant, snobby and overwrought, but the worst feature was the constant belittling and sexism towards the females they encountered. Millburn has
a lot more soul searching to do in order to overcome his ego.

Ended up a forced-read for me on a subject I very much subscribe to already. Disappointed.
Andrea
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
This gets two stars just because some of the ideas of minimalism are very interesting to me. Unfortunately the writing got in the way of anything good about this book. The author came across as pretentious and out of touch. I wish the author had asked himself if every sentence he wrote added value to the book. A word of advice to the author, editors are good you should get one!
Andy
Mar 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
Overall, I found this book very annoying. In brief, we place too much value on the pursuit of material goods and identify with our jobs as opposed to our passions. But to get there you need to slug through a overwritten memoir by two self-important hipsters. Curiosity kept me going on this one and fortunately it was a quick read.
Michael Britt
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Another short, yet pretty great book. The only thing I had a problem with is how descriptive he'd get about things that added nothing to the story. It felt like he had a goal of so many words and had to put in extra stuff to meet those goals. It has a really great message to it, though. So I still think it's well worth the read.
Vanessa
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm a sucker for self-help style books, and although Everything That Remains is described as a 'memoir', I felt that it was a lot more geared towards advice and showcasing minimalism as a life choice. Plus, who can really write a memoir at the age of 31/32? So of course I found this book incredibly interesting and enjoyable to read.

This book is primarily written by Joshua Fields Millburn, one half of The Minimalists, but it includes end notes written by his blogging partner and best friend Ryan
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H.D. Knightley
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. My experiences have been so similar, losing my mother, cleaning out her house, having epiphanies and wanting to become a better...anything. This book is probably very very helpful if you'd like to be inspired to pare down and simplify, I'm more of an armchair minimalist. I love to read about it. I admire people who do. I have theories about the best way to accomplish it and will happily share my discoveries. But actually minimalizing? I don't really have the time, I'm kind of busy ...more
Kate
May 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny Bunting
DNF at page 117

I actually enjoy The Minimalists and I consume a lot of their media (primarily their podcast). I have my tickets ready to go for Minimalism. However, I really do feel like I am burnt out on the Minimalists.

A lot of this memoir is regurgitation from their other media and there's nothing new here. It's not adding value to my life to read this so I'll just stop here.

I also find it deeply ironic that one of the reasons I'm DNF'ing is because reading a physical copy of book is really
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Izette
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book like this I've realised will only have impact, if your are going through a process of re-evaluating your life or seeking a life that has more meaning.
Being in a process like that due to numerous major events in a fairly short time frame has lead to being in a space where it's only natural to want to clear out all the gunk (both physical and psychological) to bring clarity to what is truly important and what needs to be shed along the way.
Not everyone is fortunate to have a clear path on
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RC1140
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have read a book similiar to this before where the authors went from blog -> published. From that point on we are supposed to just accept what they present as acceptable. Sadly that does not ring true for this book (or possibly just the american audience and roots that it originates from).

While there are elements of truth in the book , I honestly zoned out so often its hard to remember exactly where the great nuggets of information were. I do often think that people (super generalized) tend
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Jennifer
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
In 2017, I watched the Minimalists' documentary on Netflix, and from there was led to their podcast and website. I love these guys, and their work has definitely inspired a lot of positive change in my life (i.e. adding value lol). I also happen to identify a lot with JFM, especially his feeling of discontent with the status quo and his desire to pursue a career as a writer.

That being said, this book was only okay for me. There are a lot of great one-liners, some pieces of advice, a few
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Amanda
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Honestly, I wanted to love this book as much as I love minimalism and their message, but Millburn's writing style was all over the place, causing me to really dislike the book.

First, let me say that there are several excellent snippets in here. That being said, the author would go from recalling a memory to giving advice to discussing his hobbies to ranting about socioeconomic status all within a few paragraphs. Chapters would jump from creating a website to limiting consumption to ex
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Sara
Apr 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Mediocre writer pens his self-publishing memoir.

This book could have been 150 pages shorter. There were painful run-on sentences (I believe he was proud of his 3-pager; he brags about it later in the book), cheesy extended metaphors, and entire chapters dripping with a lack of self-awareness. I just about died inside when he projected his thoughts onto a POC in the first few pages.
I love the minimalists podcast, but this book was awful. The writer comes across as an entitled blow-hard who
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Jacques Bezuidenhout
This was a fairly short listen.
Which probably helped it a bit.

There are 3 perspectives I get from this book.

1. A fad similar to barefoot running, where it is sold as the most natural thing, and that you are wrong in not doing it.
2. Great ideas about how to scale down on over indulgence, spending money you don't have, and getting rid of clutter. Focusing on what is important.
3. The information portrayed in such a way that it feels like you should quit your job and dump your wife to be happy.

There
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Sophie
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
If I hadn't received this book for free I probably wouldn't have purchased it, not because the book isn't good but because I'm not usually one for memoirs. "The Minimalists" - Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus - offered their bestselling book for free and, being interested in their other publications, I picked it up to read. It's a short read giving you insight into how money does not guarantee happiness even if you're convinced it will. If you've read or listened to anything by "The ...more
Angela Howe-stemrich
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Very interesting subject matter for me, but the author has an inconsistent writing style and becomes way too "preachy" at times. Also, he doesn't seem to qualify himself before going into his sermons. It reads like a mediocre personal journal at times. The footnotes and a couple of passages are pretty funny, though.
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Joshua Fields Millburn left his corporate career at age 30 to become a full-time author. His essays at TheMinimalists.com have garnered an audience of more than 2 million readers.

Millburn is the bestselling author of three fiction and four nonfiction books and has been featured on CBS This Morning, ABC, NBC, FOX, NPR, CBC Radio, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Forbes, Elle Canada,
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“You can't change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.” 34 likes
“The things you own end up owning you.” 19 likes
More quotes…