About The Minimalists
At first glance, people might think the point of minimalism is only to get rid of material possessions: Eliminating. Jettisoning. Extracting. Detaching. Decluttering. Paring down. Letting go. But that’s a mistake.
True, removing the excess is an important part of the recipe—but it’s just one ingredient. If we’re concerned solely with the stuff, then we’re missing the larger point.
Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less; rather, we focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment. More freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room.
Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things—which actually aren’t things at all.
For us, it all started with a lingering discontent. A few years ago, while approaching age 30, we had achieved everything that was supposed to make us happy: great six-figure jobs, luxury cars, oversized houses, and all the stuff to clutter every corner of our consumer-driven lifestyles.
And yet with all that stuff, we weren’t satisfied with our lives. We weren’t happy. There was a gaping void, and working 70–80 hours a week just to buy more stuff didn’t fill the void: it only brought more debt, stress, anxiety, fear, loneliness, guilt, overwhelm, and depression.
What’s worse, we didn’t have control of our time, and thus didn’t control our own lives. So, in 2010, we took back control using the principles of minimalism to focus on what’s important. (Read about our 21-day journey into minimalism.)
In 2011, we left our corporate careers at age 30. After publishing our first book, Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, we went on an international book tour and eventually began contributing to people through our online writing classes and private mentoring sessions.
We’ve been fortunate enough to establish an online audience of more than four million annual readers, and we’ve been featured all over the media. We have spoken at Harvard Business School, Apple, and several large conferences (SXSW, TEDx, World Domination Summit), as well as many smaller venues, including churches, colleges, corporate groups, libraries, soup kitchens, and various nonprofit organizations.
Toward the end of 2012, we moved from our hometown, Dayton, Ohio, to a cabin near Philipsburg, Montana, as a four-month experiment, followed by a move to beautiful Missoula in 2013, where we cofounded Asymmetrical Press, a publishing house for the indie at heart.
In 2015, we published our third book, Essential: Essays by The Minimalists, which presents a minimalist’s perspective on twelve different areas of life—from decluttering, gift-giving, and finances, to passion, health, and relationships. We also hit the road with five other authors and one musician for Asymmetrical Press’s first-ever WordTasting Tour.
In January 2016, we launched The Minimalists Podcast, where we discuss living a meaningful life with less stuff and answer questions from our listeners. Thanks to your listenership, it is often the #1 Health podcast on iTunes and has climbed the charts to the top 30 of all podcasts.
In February 2016, alongside our friends Sarah & Joshua Weaver, we opened a coffeehouse in St. Petersburg, Florida, called Bandit Coffee Co.
On May 24, 2016, our documentary, Minimalism, hit 400+ theaters in the United States and Canada, opening as the #1 indie documentary of 2016. This release was accompanied by the sold-out, fifteen-city Minimalism Documentary Tour 2016. You can now watch the film online.
More About The Minimalists
- New here? Start here.
- Check out our books.
- TV, radio, and print interviews.
- Questions? See our FAQs.
- Find value here? Consider donating.
About Joshua Fields Millburn
Hi, I’m Joshua Fields Millburn. Some people say I look like Christopher Walken. (Thanks?)
I wasn’t a minimalist, until I was. In late 2009, after my mother died and my marriage ended (in the same month), I started questioning everything. That’s when I discovered minimalism. It was a beacon in the darkest of nights. Now, I think I own fewer than 288 things (but I don’t actually count my stuff).
I’m not a Stoic, and I’m certainly not a Luddite, but I do like to conduct stoical experiments from time to time—like living without Internet at home, living without a phone for two months, living a year without purchasing material possessions, living without a television at home, living without goals, etc.
I don’t have a college degree of any sort, but I did work in the corporate world for twelve years, most recently as the director of operations for 150 retail stores (boring). In 2011, I quit my boring six-figure job at age 30 to become a full-time writer. Writing is my deepest passion, especially literary fiction. I like to think of my writing as one part David Foster Wallace, one part Christopher Wallace, and one part William Wallace.
As an introvert (INTJ), I used to be a very private person. Then I discovered Twitter. Now I’m a little too giddy about my especially minimal Twitter handle: @JFM. Follow me! You can also read 31 somewhat banal things you don’t know about me, listen to some of my favorite music, and read my answers to these 20 questions about minimalism.
Ryan’s Comments About Joshua
I’ve known Josh since the fifth grade. I’ve found that together we have an ability to make anything happen when we put our minds to it—we bring out each other’s strengths and keep each other motivated. My favorite memory of Josh is the first time I saw him eat an entire ten-pack of White Castle hamburgers at age ten. [I don’t remember this, but I’ll take your word for it; I was an extremely fat kid, after all. —JFM] Oh, and he had a mullet until he was twelve years old. [I can’t deny this unfortunate fact, mainly because there’re pictures to prove it. —JFM]
About Ryan Nicodemus
Hi, my name is Ryan, and I like sandwiches (among other things). I was born in 1981 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Southwest Ohio by way of Upstate New York.
My deepest passion is mentoring other people. I have a decade of mentoring, coaching, and training experience in the corporate world. If you need help—if you feel stuck—I can work with you one-on-one as your personal mentor to help you solve your problems. But I’m not passionate only about mentoring, I’m passionate about many things: I love snowboarding, wakeboarding, paddle boarding—pretty much any kind of boarding, except waterboarding.
Professionally, I had it made in the corporate world: I was living the American Dream—until I was laid off—but that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Now, after my Packing Party in 2010, I’m living a meaningful life with less stuff, and I’m pursuing my passions.
I’m an extrovert (ENFP), which means I’m the more social half of The Minimalists. Surprisingly, this creates a great working dynamic between the two of us.
Joshua’s Comments About Ryan
Ryan and I have nearly identical thought processes, but we are completely different people: I’m a tad OCD, he’s a bit ADD; I’m an introvert who loves alone time, Ryan is an extrovert who loves to be the life the party; I’m 6′ 2″, while Ryan is…well…let’s just say he’s shorter than six feet. [Hey, I’m 5′ 11¾”, and that rounds up to six feet, dammit! —Ryan] Although we’re very different, we have a lot of similarities: we both had difficult childhoods, we both know how to effectively lead people, and we both are tremendously passionate. It is not hyperbole when I say that Ryan is the best person I know: he is habitually honest, caring, and loving. Oh, and he likes turtles, Wendy’s coffee, and watching the evening news. I’m grateful we’re friends.