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 and contribution and contentment. More freedom. It just so happens that 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, nice cars, big houses with more bedrooms than inhabitants, pointless masses of toys, scads of superfluous stuff.
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 for a corporation and buying even more stuff didn’t fill the void. In fact, it only brought more debt and stress and anxiety and fear and loneliness and guilt and 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 age 30 to become full-time authors and speakers. After publishing Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life, we embarked on an international book tour 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.
We’ve been fortunate enough to establish an online audience of more than 4 million annual readers and have 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 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 in 2013, where we cofounded Asymmetrical Press, a publishing house for the indie at heart.
In 2015 we will release our first feature-length film, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, directed by Matt D’Avella, in association with Catalyst, Asymmetrical, and SPYR Media.
More About The Minimalists
- New here? Start here.
- Check out our books.
- TV, radio, and print interviews.
- Questions? See our FAQ’s.
About Joshua Fields Millburn
Hi. I’m Joshua Fields Millburn. Some people think 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 12 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. Even though I’m far more handsome, Josh has been able to suppress his jealousy and so we’ve managed to stay friends. 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 10 pack of White Castles at age 10 (JFM: 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 (JFM: 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.
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 just about mentoring; I’m passionate for many things. I love snowboarding, wakeboarding, paddleboarding. Pretty much any kind of boarding—except waterboarding.
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, after my Packing Party in 2010, I’m living a meaningful life with less stuff and pursuing my passions.
I’m an extravert (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 around people; I’m 6’2″, while Ryan is, well, let’s just say he’s shorter than six feet (Ryan: I’m 5’11¾”. That rounds up to six feet, damn it!). 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 successfully run a business, we are both tremendously passionate people. I know this will probably sound overly 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.