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

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,262 ratings  ·  157 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 ev ...more
Paperback, 234 pages
Published December 23rd 2013 by Asymmetrical Press
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Diane Librarian
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 spen
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 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 t
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 c ...more
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 thei ...more
John Cooper
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" ( 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
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.


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 goo
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 on ...more
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
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
Deb Henry
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.
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 throug
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.
Angela Howe-stemrich
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.
2.5 stars because there are a few valuable insights and the beginning half is endearing and compelling. However, once he turns the corner into Minimalism his voice reeks of disdain and contempt for the world around him. There is an air of superiority and some blatant contradictions... He wants to be present in the moment, and yet favors meeting people only online because it is preposterous to imagine someone in your physical proximity might have some commonality or shared values. He at once mock ...more
I stumbled onto this book by way of stumbling onto The Minimalists blog. Though I enjoyed the book, it was mostly made up of previous blog posts. Like most contemporary bloggers, Millburn (and his seeming sidekick, Ryan Nicodemus, who offers a sort of commentary/footnotes section at the back of the book), stays hyper on-message with his one storyline. It is a simple story that has appeared in video interviews and on his book tour appearances. Another way of saying this is... he, like most blogge ...more
Flor Gonzalez
I didn't really enjoy this book and I would not recommend it. I've read a few posts from the Minimalists, so I was surprised about how much I knew about the refections and anecdotes they included in the book. If I'm a casual reader and I didn't find anything new or particularly exciting, I can imagine how a follower of the blog may find it too repetitive and perhaps boring.
I have never particularly enjoyed the writing style of the Minimalists. I think they overuse adjectives and corny metaphors
Everything That Remains is a book that eludes succinct characterization. It’s a summary of a period of the author’s life, but it’s not quite a memoir. It lays out the thought and action processes of JFM and Ryan Nicodemus as they transition into minimalism, but it’s certainly not a [dry, repetitive] minimalist guide. JFM presents some chapters with a conversational tone, as if he were telling you his story through an email or over a dinner conversation, and yet some chapters read like a refreshi ...more
Lynne Spreen
Everything that Remains is a book about simplifying your life, and it's got some good material in it. I enjoyed these concepts, for example:

1. "Sure, both sides—the hoarders and the cunning organizers—go about their hoarding differently, but the end result is not appreciably different. Whether our homes are strewn with wall-to-wall junk or we have a color-coded and alphabetized methodology to camouflage our mess, we’re still not dealing with the real problem."

2. The "just-in-case" justification:
Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists is a book that I believe will add value to American lives. It is about the radical steps that two young men make in order to find true meaning and purpose in their lives. It chronicles their journey away from a life of excess and stress as they move toward meaning and minimalism. One main reason why I believe it will add value to our lives is that it definitely calls us to ask ourselves if we are fulfilled. This is not a book that asks you if ...more
Insightful. A good reference for simple living, but after reading for awhile I was left with a taste of selfishness. The impression I got was one of "how do I make the world - my world- better for me?" They do good things with their time and talk about enriching their relationships, but in the end this is about their own emotional journey and I am left hoping that my own goals of simplicity and minimalism are not shallow and empty. Am I wasting my time by trying to simplify my life?
Natalie Schriefer
Everything That Remains promotes a powerful message: we can be happier if we forgo our possessions. For those who follow their website, this memoir explains how authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus arrived at their current success - both personally and professionally. For those who aren't familiar with the minimalist duo, their memoir reads just as easily: no prior knowledge required.

The authors' transformation from possession-laden, unhappy individuals to successful minimalists is
I'm giving this book four stars based primarily on the message, rather than the writing. I found the writing style uneven, veering from lofty and pretentious to simple and direct. The chapters written in the latter style were by far the more effective. In the preface, the author even admits to (pretentiously) changing the spelling of some words simply for the sake of it. "Peanutbutter," really? But you leave "ice cream" as is? This shit annoys me. The format using footnotes from the co-author wa ...more
In January I made the decision that I was going to spend 2015 purging things and refocusing our lives. This meant we would say good bye to lots of belongings, activities that weren't adding value, and more. It was a big decision, because by most people's standards we didn't own a lot to start. I hate clutter, and so I thought I was doing a good job keeping life simple. The end goal was to feel comfortable enough to consider ourselves minimalists. I didn't want the kids growing up overwhelmed by ...more
Everything that remains is a good read that details what happens when two over-consuming executives finally realize that having all that "stuff" doesn't bring you happiness. I found the structure a bit different. It's part memoir, yet somewhat akin to fiction in writing style. The author readily admits this in his introduction. I found the end-notes from his partner to be annoying and would have preferred if they added them on the page instead of the back of the book. The book also peaks at abou ...more
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!
Maybe i should give it 4 stars since reading the book made me get up and throw away/donate a lot of stuff. I appreciated his honesty about the mistakes he had made in his relationships and how he became trapped in his possessions. I've started decluttering (thankfully Jeff isn't giving me to hard a time) and I like the idea of giving and receiving gifts that are experiences instead of objects though I'm not sure extended family will go for this idea.

It's also the first time I've heard someone s
I loved reading 'Everything That Remains', although between various essays and surfing The Minimalist's site, at times I felt like I was hearing some things for the second or third time.

I did, however, find myself highlighting away at certain passages, and will probably find myself picking it up for some page flipping from time to time. I also feel that this is a great book to gift someone who is looking for a lifestyle change, or anyone finding themselves overwhelmed.

Their message is a great on
Roberto Lora
Listened via audible audiobook.

If I could split this book review into two, rating the writing of the author and the content that is presented here, then the scores would be very different.

The reason being is that I found that the embellishment of the descriptions sometimes got in the way of the message, thankfully not overly so, however I feel that the authors descriptive skills could be best put it to a different type of writing.

The message which is that of minimalism is a very important one
I highly recommend reading this book. It is truthful and tells you some things you already know - you have too much stuff - in a way that helps you figure out a personalized plan of what to do about it. This book is motivating. What you do with the information is entirely up to you.

There is so much in this book that is right, including the author's statement that it peaked at chapter seven. I highly recommend reading at least the first seven chapters. The second half of the book illustrates furt
Sara Bauer
I can't tell you how life-changing this book is. It's not self-help. It's a memoir ... sort of. Full review will be on my blog soon, but you should buy it immediately. Tyler Durden would approve.
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Joshua Fields Millburn left his corporate career at age 30 to become a full-time author. His essays at 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,
More about Joshua Fields Millburn...
Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Minimalism: Essential Essays Simplicity: Essays A Day in the Life of a Minimalist Falling While Sitting Down (Short Stories)

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“Now, before I spend money I ask myself one question: Is this worth my freedom? Like: Is this coffee worth two dollars of my freedom? Is this shirt worth thirty dollars of my freedom? Is this car worth thirty thousand dollars of my freedom? In other words, am I going to get more value from the thing I’m about to purchase, or am I going to get more value from my freedom?” 4 likes
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.’ ” 4 likes
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