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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  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,952 Ratings  ·  236 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 e
Paperback, 234 pages
Published December 23rd 2013 by Asymmetrical Press
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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 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
Jul 16, 2014 Diane 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 spen
Feb 23, 2014 Jess 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 c ...more
John Cooper
Jul 14, 2014 John Cooper 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" ( 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
Aug 27, 2014 S. rated it did not like it
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
May 17, 2014 Cyndi 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.


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
Jan 24, 2016 Emma 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
Feb 09, 2014 Rebekah 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 on ...more
Deb Henry
Aug 27, 2014 Deb Henry 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.
Aug 19, 2014 Jessie rated it it was ok
Shelves: improve, 2014
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
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 th
Mar 31, 2016 Kat 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
H.D. Knightley
Nov 27, 2015 H.D. Knightley 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 st ...more
Oct 31, 2014 Vanessa 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
Mar 10, 2014 Andy 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.
J.K. Riki
Oct 09, 2015 J.K. Riki 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 occasionall
Apr 21, 2015 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 01, 2016 Meganvansipe rated it really liked it
I love The Minimalists podcast and website. I love the message of living more intentionally. And I enjoyed hearing the backstory of Joshua Fields Millburn's discovery of a minimalist lifestyle. This was an enjoyable read with only a couple spots that made me pause. Parts where he comes off a little arrogant. Or trying to hard to Be A Writer. But most of the book flowed naturally and felt authentic. I do recommend reading it if you already follow The Minimalists!
Jenny (adultishbooks)
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
Renee Alberts
Dec 27, 2015 Renee Alberts rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
This book came highly recommended by people I deeply respect, or I probably would not have finished it for the reasons well-covered in other low-star reviews.

That said, it offers a refreshing perspective on living intentionally and simply, expanding beyond the typical "if you haven't worn it for a year, donate it" tips to deeper evaluations of our attachments.

The book blends memoir and guidebook without fully realizing either. I wish it offered more practical advice or more detail about some of
First sentence: This is a work of nonfiction.

Favorite quote: Does this add value to my life:

Simplicity, grace, minimalism all call me. The older I get the more I want to be surrounded only by things that have true meaning to me. Over the years my husband and I have accumulated too much, too much. Joshua's book was excellent. He has an incredible vocabulary. I may not agree with all of his observations and views, but I am listening and will continue on this path. Less is definitely more.
Marian Beaman
Jul 25, 2016 Marian Beaman rated it really liked it
The book cover of Joshua Fields Millburn’s Everything that Remains touts an endorsement from the Boston Globe: “Like Henry David Thoreau, but with WiFi.” In my opinion, Milburn, a millennial child, leans more toward WiFi though he would subscribe to Thoreau’s bent toward simplicity. And so would his compadre and muse, Ryan Nicodemus. In the book, Millburn speaks in two voices, first as memoirist and then as minimalist, at times a distracting combination.

Part memoir, part how-to, minimalist Milbu
Angela Howe-stemrich
May 28, 2014 Angela Howe-stemrich 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.
Jun 17, 2016 Kate rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2015 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 12, 2016 John rated it really liked it
A fine introspective of life with less baggage. Seemingly honest and contemplative. As we look to downsize in retirement and try out life in Montana (where the authors ended this memoir), even winter seem worthwhile--if we have a hot beverage and a nice cafe to sip it in. “Love people, use things. The opposite doesn’t work.”

Excerpt From: Joshua Fields Millburn. “Everything That Remains.” iBooks.
Jan 04, 2014 Tyler rated it it was amazing
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
Dejan  Vesic
Jul 12, 2016 Dejan Vesic rated it really liked it
Dobra knjiga, izuzetna ideja. Odavno primenjujem sličan princip - ovde je sve samo lepo grupisano na jednom mestu.

Ako vas stvari dave, ako vam je jasno da nešto nije baš kao treba - pročitajte je, možda dobijete ideju ili dve.
Kaelee Newton
Aug 21, 2016 Kaelee Newton rated it it was amazing
A thought provoking memoir of what it means to minimalize (I think I just made up that word) not only your possessions but your entire life.

A few things that I think (I hope) are going to stick with me:
1) How much of your freedom is that item, that coffee, that dinner, that dress or car or flatscreen worth?

2) How much value does something add to your life? Do I truly need all the clothes in my closet? All the dishes in my kitchen? All the DVDs, decorations, books (yes, books!) filling up my sp
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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...

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“You can't change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.” 8 likes
“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?” 6 likes
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