Money at 30: “The More of Less” Book Review
If you’re like most people, I assume that, at some point, you’ve looked around your home and wondered why you have so much crap. Sure you should probably get rid of it but it’s not really hurting anyone, right? And then there’s all the other stuff that you might not use on a day-to-day basis but holds a special place in your heart for one reason or another — what do you do with that? Admittedly, these are all things I’ve personally dealt with in my three and a half decades of life, leading me to occasionally consider the concept of minimalism. That passing interest (coupled with the current quarantine) led me discover the book The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by author Joshua Becker.
I’ve only recently become aware of Becker, after his website Becoming Minimalist made its way into my RSS feed reader. After sharing a couple of posts from said site, I decided to poke around a bit and saw that he had also penned a few books — of course including this one, which was originally published back in 2016 (in other words, before Marie Kondo made her big Netflix debut). So, while it was a few years old, I decided to pick up a paperback copy and give it a shot.
As you’d expect, the book finds Becker recalling what first sparked his interest in minimalism, sharing some of his successes and missteps, and laying out a few tips for how you can declutter your home (and, in turn your life). That said, while the book is full of helpful advice and looks more specifically at some common problem areas, it’s not necessarily a step-by-step guide. For that, I’m guessing you may want to turn to Becker’s follow-up The Minimalist Home.
In any case, one of my favorite chapters in The More of Less revolved around experimentation. Throughout this section, Becker not only detailed some specific challenges and trials others have engaged in but also shares his concept of “leveling” as a way to ease into the minimalist lifestyle. Moreover, in previous chapters, he makes it clear that you don’t need to wipe out everyone in one shot as (true to his blog’s title) becoming minimalist is a process — and one that everyone will go about differently. On that note, he also discusses some techniques for getting your spouse/partner and kids on board with your change in lifestyle.
Beyond just sharing how you can pare down your possessions, Becker also looks at some of the auxiliary benefits or “dividends” that come with minimalism. For example, he also touches on intentional living and the benefits of generosity. In fact, for his closing salvo, Becker encourages readers to not only dream big for themselves but also consider how their minimalist ways can enable them to help others.
Getting down to brass tacks, the biggest compliment I can pay this book is that, during and after reading it this weekend, my wife and I took Becker’s advice and started tackling some small projects. This included going through the nerdy knick-knacks we amassed in our Loot Crate days, tossing pieces of my wardrobe that represented past career lives (overworn suits and shirts from my time as a movie theatre manager and junior-sized sweaters I would wear on Glee), and finally going through our random bags of cords and connections that was packed with hilariously outdated attachments. Obviously there’s still a ton more for us to do before we even approach being considered minimalist, but I’d like to think Becker would be proud of our early progress.
But will I continue down this path? Honestly, I’d like to think so — but it won’t be easy. Heck, I was getting borderline emotional just reading about some of the things people had to get rid of in the “death of a dream” section. Yet, I can definitely say I feel more motivated to make some changes after reading the book and also have plans to share what I’ve learned with others.
Needless to say, I definitely enjoyed The More of Less. Perhaps true to its minimalist message, the book was also a breezy read, allowing me to consume it in a weekend and then jump in. Alternatively, you could slow things down and take the middle chapters one at a time as you accomplish the missions behind their teachings. Regardless of how you ultimately approach it, if you’ve considered becoming minimalist — or at least learning to live with less — this is one item I think is worth adding to your bookshelf.
Also published on Medium.