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

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  9,761 ratings  ·  767 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
Hardcover, 170 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Hachette Books (first published 2008)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  9,761 ratings  ·  767 reviews

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Sep 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Anna Bearne
Mar 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it is ridiculous on the face of it to take advice on how to simplify your life from a man who has fathered six children, this audiobook resonated with me right now and I've already implemented at least one thing from it this week that has been helpful.

There's nothing new here. So what's the value added? First of all, it's just refreshing that the author doesn't make false claims about bringing us some amazing new science of whatever. Secondly, the narrator has a friendly, encouraging t
Mike Gibbs
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Fani *loves angst*
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
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
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
Manik Sukoco
Jan 05, 2016 rated it liked it
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 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A mindful approach to effectively simplifying your life. He has enough tips and ideas for just about anybody. This is about slowing down, yet getting more done by only focusing on the most essential things in your life. We can't do everything but we can do what we need to do in a calm state of mind, not a hectic one....I have already applied his ideas to my life and gotten more done by simplifying--even on the job I slowed down and yet got more done...This is genius. ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
LynnDee (LynnDee's Library)
The author was extremely repetitive but he had a lot of good points and tips that I am willing to try.
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: creativity, pop-psych
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
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Willian Molinari
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm migrating all my reviews to my blog. If you want to read the full review with my raw notes, check it here: https://pothix.com/powerofless

It's a good book. It's repetitive and a bit outdated (I heard Google reader somewhere) but all the hints here are still valid.

To summarize: the focus is everything. Chose something you want to do and do it. Remove everything else that's not moving you toward your priorities and do what you have to do. He lists some actionable that can help you on this journ
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Read the stuff you're interested in on his blog. Shorter, less repetitive, less condescending. I finished the book because I scanned most of it looking for content I hadn't heard of yet, but I never should have started. ...more
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was very obvious. While I picked up one or two good tips, the overall message was pretty common sense.
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: self-help
Tired of Cliched self-help books... I think i should write an Anti-Self help book
Sep 14, 2010 rated it liked it
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 (http://zenhabits.net/) 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
Jacqueline Boss
Dec 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars. Extremely rambling and repetitive. Overly specific advice. Bizarre organizational structure, with the same things popping up chapter after chapter and multiple times within a chapter, as if the last few paragraphs about the same topic were completely forgotten. Ex- the number of times email organization was brought up and the suggestion to only check email at 10am and 4pm was extremely excessive, as were the number of times it was suggested to make your intentions known to others to h ...more
Bon Tom
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Very practical, comprehensive collection of skills everybody can acquire with some will and determination and put them to work in order to get their shit together.

I'd say all of them are very good. Some of them I practiced for years, some are very easily and intuitively acceptable as something you are definitely wanting to try. I was also very surprised to learn some completely counter intuitive stuff, wondering how come I didn't think of this earlier.
Danielius (Debesyla)
This was a bit too long book about living with less...

...Yes, that's ironic, I know.

Anyway, this was a fine book, but I would rather recommend "The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life", another, shorter, book by Leo on same topic. ;-)
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Although I was able to take away a few motivational pieces and tips, I felt that much of what was said were things I am already doing or is common sense. It was also repetitive at times. All in all, I still enjoyed the quick read. It DID motivate me to finally wipe out my email inbox to zero. Bottom line for the majority of the book: Focus on the essential and eliminate the rest.
Tobechukwu Udeigbo
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a necessary book for everyone to read, especially if you want to see real results in your personal and professional lives. I highly recommend it to millennial because of our craze-crowded calendar and digitally-congested world which make us easily distracted and less motivated to set goals and achieve them.

It is also an easy straight-to-the-point read! Plus, simple to understand and apply concepts.

I rate it 8/10.
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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, mnmlist.com, 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

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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.” 10 likes
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