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The Minimalists The Minimalists
Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, BBC, and NPR.

About Joshua & Ryan

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, though, we’re missing the larger point.

Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less. We focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps make that room.

Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things—which aren’t things at all.

For The Minimalists, it all started with a lingering discontent. Nearly a decade ago, while approaching age 30, we had achieved everything that was supposed to make us happy: six-figure careers, luxury cars, oversized houses, and all the stuff to clutter every corner of our consumer-driven lives.

And yet with all that stuff, we weren’t satisfied. There was a gaping void, and working 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, depression.

What’s worse, we didn’t have control of our time, and thus we didn’t control our own lives. So, in 2009, we took back control using the principles of minimalism. (Read about our 21-day journey into minimalism.)

Since starting this website in 2010, we’ve been fortunate enough to establish an audience of more than 20 million people, and The Minimalists have been featured throughout the media. We have spoken at Harvard Business School, Apple, Google, and SXSW.

In 2011, we walked away from our corporate careers and published our first book, Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life. That same year, we went on an international book tour and eventually began contributing to people through our online writing classes and private mentoring sessions.

After we left the corporate world, we found time to contribute to several worthy causes. In the past few years, The Minimalists have built two orphanages, provided relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, supported the survivors of the Orlando and Las Vegas mass shootings, funded a high school for a year in Kenya, installed clean-water wells in three countries, constructed an elementary school in Laos, and purchased thousands of mosquito nets to fight malaria in Africa. We are currently raising money to build a grocery store in our hometown, Dayton, Ohio, which has one of the largest food deserts in the United States.

Toward the end of 2012, we moved from Dayton, Ohio, to a cabin near Philipsburg, Montana, as a four-month writing experiment, followed by a move to beautiful Missoula in 2013, where we cofounded Asymmetrical Press, a publishing house for the indie at heart.

In 2014, we published our most popular book, the critically acclaimed memoir Everything That Remains, and we embarked on a 100-city bookstore tour.

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’ first-ever WordTasting Tour.

In 2016, we launched The Minimalists Podcast, where we discuss living a meaningful life with less. That same year, we, alongside our friends Sarah and Joshua Weaver, opened a coffeehouse in St. Petersburg, Florida: Bandit Coffee Co. Then, on May 24, 2016, our documentary, Minimalism, was released in 400 theaters in the United States and Canada, opening as the #1 indie documentary of 2016. It is now available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon.

In 2017, we announced our 50-city Less Is Now Tour. In each city, we presented an in-depth talk about minimalism and recorded a live version of The Minimalists Podcast. We also moved to Los Angeles because that’s where people go to tell stories.

In 2018, we built a podcast and film studio in Hollywood in an effort to produce more meaningful audio, video, and written creations, and we journeyed to the South with Dave Ramsey’s team for our Simply Southern Tour.

In 2019 and 2020, we worked with director Matt D’Avella on our second film, Less Is Now, a Netflix original documentary that explores the benefits of living with less. We also finished writing our fourth book, Love People Use Things (Celadon/Macmillan), which examines life’s seven essential relationships. Both projects will be released in 2021.

More About The Minimalists

About Joshua Fields Millburn

Joshua Fields Millburn, photo by Joshua Weaver
I was born in 1981 in Dayton, Ohio. Because we grew up poor, I suspected our lack of happiness was birthed out of a lack of money. So when I turned eighteen, I skipped college and applied for an entry-level corporate job and spent the next decade climbing the corporate ladder, forsaking everything except the pursuit of money—because that was sure to make me happy, right?

In time, I became the youngest director in our company’s 140-year history. Even though I earned a remarkable income, I didn’t feel remarkable. I had accumulated the trinkets of success, but something was missing.

Then, in late 2009, my mother died and my marriage ended in the same month, which caused me to question everything: finances, freedom, the future. That’s when I discovered minimalism. Now, roughly a decade later, I probably own fewer than 288 things, but I don’t actually count my stuff.

In 2011, a dozen years into chasing the American Dream, I quit my six-figure job at age 30 to focus on meaningful creative work. Writing is the form of creativity I’m most passionate about. I like to think of my writing as one part David Foster Wallace, one part Christopher Wallace, and one part William Wallace.

After spending my first 31 years in Ohio, most recently in a minimalist apartment in downtown Dayton, I moved to Montana in 2012, where I met my wife, Rebecca. We lived in a minimalist home in Missoula with our daughter, Ella, until we moved into our minimalist home in Los Angeles in 2017.

I’m not a Stoic, and I’m certainly not a Luddite, but I enjoy conducting stoical experiments from time to time, like living without the Internet, living without a phone, living without purchasing things, living without a television, and living without goals.

As an introvert (INTJ), I used to be an extremely private person. Then I discovered Twitter. You can follow me for pithy musings and smart-aleck remarks. If that’s not enough, you can listen to some of my favorite music and read my long-winded answers to these 20 questions about minimalism.

Ryan’s Comments About Joshua

I’ve known Josh since the fifth grade. My favorite memory is the first time I saw Josh eat an entire ten-pack of White Castle hamburgers at age ten. He was literally the fattest kid in our school. Oh, and he had a mullet until he was twelve. [I can’t deny this unfortunate fact, mainly because there’re pictures to prove it. —JFM]

About Ryan Nicodemus

Ryan Nicodemus, photo by Joshua Weaver
I was born in 1981 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Southwest Ohio by way of Upstate New York. I now live in Los Angeles with my partner, Mariah. You can see a photo tour of our previous home in Missoula, Montana, here.

Although I grew up in a dysfunctional home without much money, I eventually had it made in the corporate world. I was living the American Dream until I was laid off, but that’s actually one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Now, since my Packing Party in 2010, I’m focused on living a meaningful life with less stuff, and I’m pursuing my passions.

My deepest passion is mentoring people. I had a decade of mentoring and leadership experience in the corporate world, which I’ve repurposed to help people get unstuck in their personal lives. But mentoring isn’t my only passion. I’m passionate about many things: I enjoy snowboarding, wakeboarding, paddleboarding—pretty much any kind of boarding, except waterboarding.

As an extrovert (ENFP), I’m the more social half of The Minimalists. If you like interesting, silly updates, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

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 always the life of the party. I’m 6’2″, Ryan is … well … let’s just say he’s shorter than six feet. [Hey, I’m 5’11¾”, and that totally rounds up to six feet! —Ryan] Oh, and Ryan likes turtles, great coffee, and the evening news.

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