About The Minimalists
It all started with a lingering discontent in our lives. A few years ago, as we approached age 30, we had achieved everything that was supposed to make us happy: we had great six-figure jobs, nice cars, big houses with more bedrooms than inhabitants, pointless masses of toys, and scads of superfluous stuff.
And yet with all that stuff, we knew we weren’t satisfied with our lives. We knew we weren’t truly happy. We discovered that working 70-80 hours a week for a corporation and buying even more stuff didn’t fill the void. In fact, it only brought us more debt and stress and anxiety and fear and loneliness and guilt and overwhelm and depression.
What’s worse, we found out we didn’t have control of our time and thus didn’t control our own lives. So we took back control using the principles of minimalism to focus on what’s important in life—to focus on living meaningful lives.
In 2011, we left our corporate careers age 30 to become full-time authors and speakers. After seven books, several of which were #1 bestsellers, we embarked on an international book tour with more than 3,300 attendees and eventually began contributing to people through our online writing classes and private mentoring sessions. The topics about which we write and speak cover a wide array, from simple living and pursuing your passion, to writing, publishing, entrepreneurship health, relationships, personal growth, and contribution.
Since we started this site in December 2010, we’ve been fortunate enough to establish an online audience of more than 2 million annual readers and have been featured on CBS This Morning, ABC, NBC, FOX, NPR, CBC Radio, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Forbes, Elle Canada, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Austin American-Statesman, Seattle Times, Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, National Post, Vancouver Sun, Village Voice, LA Weekly, Zen Habits, and numerous other outlets throughout the world.
We have spoken at Harvard Business School and several large events (SXSW, World Domination Summit), as well as many smaller venues, including churches, colleges, corporate groups, libraries, soup kitchens, and various non-profit organizations.
Toward the end of 2012, we moved from our hometown, Dayton, Ohio, to a cabin in Montana as a four-month experiment, followed by a move to beautiful Missoula, where we co-founded Asymmetrical Press, a publishing house for the indie at heart.
More About The Minimalists
- New here? Start here.
- Read about our journey.
- Check out our books.
- Questions? See our FAQ’s.
- Meet us at one of our events.
- Or you can contact us.
About Joshua Fields Millburn
Hi. I’m Joshua Fields Millburn. Some people think I look like Christopher Walken. Thanks? I generally introduce myself as Joshua, but a bunch of people call me Josh. Fine by me. Seriously, I want you to feel comfortable, so call me whatever you want—Joshua, Josh, Millie, JFM—just don’t call me collect.
A few randomish things about me:
I was born in Dayton, Ohio. I lived there for like 31 years, most recently in my minimalist apartment. I love Dayton—I love the Midwest in general—though I recently moved to a cabin in beautiful Montana, followed by a recent move to scenic Missoula.
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 in my life. That’s when I discovered minimalism. It was a beacon in the darkest of nights.
I’m passionate about writing, especially literary fiction. I’ve published three fiction and four nonfiction books, several of which have been bestsellers on Amazon. My new memoir, Everything That Remains, will be published in January 2014. I like to think of my writing as one part David Foster Wallace, one part Christopher Wallace, and one part William Wallace.
While I consider myself primarily a fiction author, I guess I’m best known for my essays here at The Minimalists where Ryan and I write about living more deliberately in our heavily mediated consumer culture (i.e., living meaningfully with less stuff). I think I own less than 288 things (but I don’t actually count my stuff).
If Writing is my full-time lover, then Music is my secret crush. And although I’m not involved with her personally, I frequently enjoy her sweet voice from an earshot away. She reminds me of what it feels like to be alive—the euphony of the peaks, the valleys, and everything in between. You can check out some of my favorite albums here.
I believe the meaning of life is growth and contribution.
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 conduct these uncomfortable little self-studies to deprive myself of anything, though. Rather, I want to examine the way I live, so I can grow. I’ve noticed that growth happens most rapidly whenever I step into my discomfort zone.
I don’t have a college degree of any sort. But I did work in the corporate world for 12 years. (Boring!) I used to manage more than 100 people in 16 retail stores as a regional manager. I was also the director of operations for 150 retail stores. In 2011, I quit my boring six-figure job at age 30 to become a full-time writer.
I teach an online writing class to a small group of students every three months. The class, How to Write Better, tends to sell out every time I offer it. If you’re interested, click the link to see if any seats are open in the next class.
Ryan and I host a limited number of speaking engagements each quarter. You can visit our speaking page if you’d like to book The Minimalist to speak to your group.
In 2012, I co-founded a publishing company and community called Asymmetrical Press with Ryan and our friend Colin Wright. Using asymmetrical techniques, we aim to improve the quality of published work: journalism, literature, poetry, nonfiction, educational texts, coffeetable books, and everything in between.
I’m an introvert. I used to be an incredibly private person. Then I discovered Twitter. Now I’m a little too giddy about my especially short Twitter handle: @JFM. Follow me!
Ryan’s Comments About Joshua
I’ve known Josh since the fifth grade. I’m younger by six months (note from Joshua: actually it’s less than four months, but who’s counting?), and as long as I’ve known him I’ve been the more attractive one (another note from Joshua: sadly, this is true). Even though I’m the one that’s always gotten the more attractive girls (Joshua: this is not true though), we’ve managed to stay friends. I’m happy that Josh is my friend. Together, we have an ability to make anything happen when we put our minds to it. We bring out each other’s strengths, and we keep each other motivated. My favorite memory of Josh is the first time I saw him eat an entire 10 pack of White Castles at age 10 (Joshua: I don’t remember this, but I’ll take your word for it. I was a fat kid, after all). Oh, and he had a mullet until he was 12 years old (Joshua: I can’t deny this unfortunate fact, mainly because there are pictures to prove it).
About Ryan Nicodemus
Hi, my name is Ryan and I like sandwiches (among other things). I was born in 1981 in Knoxville, Tennessee. My family moved around a lot when I was young, but we eventually ended up in Ohio (by way of upstate New York) when I was eight. Three states in eight years. I could go on, but you probably don’t care, and that’s cool. I understand.
I recently moved to a cabin in Montana in an effort to do a sort of Thoreau/Walden-Pond thing, followed by my most recent move to Missoula to start a new business, Asymmetrical Press, a publishing company for the indie at heart.
I have a ton of hobbies, like volleyball, snowboarding, wake boarding, and the like. Professionally, I had it made in the corporate world. I was living the corporate “dream” until I was laid off. But that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Now I’m living a meaningful life with less stuff and pursuing my passions.
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’d like to work with you one-on-one as your personal mentor to help you solve your problems. You can find out more about my private one-on-one mentoring sessions here.
I’ve written three nonfiction books with Joshua Fields Millburn: Simplicity: Essays, Minimalism: Essential Essays, and Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life. A four book, Everything That Remains, is in the works.
Joshua’s Comments About Ryan
I’m fairly certain Ryan will not approve of any of the following “facts” about his life. Ryan is the same age as me, although he was born a few months after I was (he looks much older than me though). We have nearly identical thought processes, but we are almost completely different people: I’m a bit OCD, Ryan is a bit ADD; I’m an introvert who loves time alone, Ryan is an extrovert who loves to be around people; I’m 6’2″, and Ryan is … well, he’s less than six-feet tall. We have a lot of similarities though: we both had difficult childhoods, we both know how to effectively lead people and successfully run a business, we are both tremendously passionate people. This will sound sentimental, but Ryan is the best person I know. He is habitually honest, caring, loving, and passionate. Oh, and he likes turtles and Wendy’s coffee and watching the evening news. I’m grateful we’re friends.