The Minimalists is a blog run by Joshua Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus designed to help people become minimalists, and in doing so, live a more meaningful life.
Both Josh and Ryan previously worked well-paying corporate jobs, and lived the corresponding lifestyle; they had a fancy apartment with lots of stuff, which is often associated with happiness. Over time, though, they found that owning more things did not make them happier.
What is minimalism? It’s a philosophy rooted in the belief that buying more things does not make you happier. True happiness is found by focusing on meaningful and often intangible things; relationships with others, pursuing your interests, and growing as a person.
Why Read The Minimalists?
1. They genuinely want to help people live a more meaningful life. It is evident that each essay’s intent is to help the reader on his or her search for meaning. Their social media presence echoes this tone, and they always (always) respond to messages asking for advice. For example, after months of deliberation, I was close to donating much of wardrobe. I sent Josh a tweet with the concerns I had with making this change. He responded promptly and honestly; thanks to him, I now only wear my favorite clothes.
2. They are realistic minimalists. Some minimalist bloggers live an extreme lifestyle, constantly traveling and doing extraordinary things, while possessing 100 or fewer things. Josh and Ryan, on the other hand, don’t focus on an extreme lifestyle or the number of things they own. Instead, their only desire is to live a comfortable, meaningful life, which encourages their readers that anyone can add more value to their lives by ascribing to a minimalist philosophy.
3. Josh and Ryan are funny dudes. If they’re not seriously discussing the tenets of minimalism, they’re playful and genuine, and never cutting or mean. They have a great time teasing each other on the website, as well as through social media, which brings a great lightness to the subject of living a meaningful life.
4. They give props where props are due.They graciously give thanks to minimalists who have inspired them to write their blog, and occasionally feature other minimalists. It is clear that they have only love and admiration for their peers. This is shown in a post showing gratitude to the authentic people who have inspired them, their best friends and influences, and in the video interview with Exile Lifestyle’s Colin Wright.
What to Read on The Minimalists | My Favorite Essays
Start with The Basics
The first essay I read on The Minimalists was 30 Life Lessons from Joshua , which was inspired by Leo Babauta’s 38 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 38 Years. It is a powerfully honest self-reflective piece that, although it is quite lengthy, is a worthy read. It was my introduction to the website and Joshua’s personal philosophy.
This essay, titled You Are Not Your Khakis, outlines their view on stuff: it’s just stuff. They encourage the reader to question his or her possessions and think about how the money spent on these things can be more meaningfully utilized. How often do you question your possessions?
One of their most popular essays is 10 Life Changing Links, and it is full of great advice from sources all over the Internet. I’ll let Josh and Ryan tell it: “Below is a list of our five favorite minimalist essays from other sites and our five favorite non-minimalist essays. These were all life changing for us. They resonated with us on a deeper level that touched our nerve-endings in a special way.”
This essay addresses the most common concern with minimalism: implausibility. Josh discusses that minimalism is not a radical lifestyle.
Digging a Little Deeper
Forever Does Not Exist is a short essay taking a very stoic approach to time, change, and inevitably death. As Marcus Aurelius says in Book Four of Meditations, “Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good.”
Letting go of Sentimental Items is a touching piece about Josh’s experience cleaning out his mother’s house after her passing. A must read.
This piece, Ending the Tyranny of Cool, resonates with my college experience.
Where to Find The Minimalists | Ohio
The Minimalists is a great resource for anyone who seeks a more meaningful life. If you’re seeking a more meaningful life, but not sure if you’re willing to give up any of your stuff, you can relate to their message. You may begin to think about what is truly important to you.
They’ve been very busy lately; they recently published two books on minimalism and are currently touring coffee shops around the U.S. to meet their followers. In addition, Josh recently published a collection of fiction short stories. Below are their books:
- Minimalism: Essential Essays ($3.99)
- Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life ($14.99)
- Falling While Sitting Down ($3.99)
Note how many positive, genuine reviews they received: they deserve every one.
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