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The Minimalists
The Minimalists are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars and New York Times–bestselling authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Alongside their podcast cohost, T.K. Coleman, this simple-living trio helps millions of people eliminate clutter and live meaningfully with less. Learn More.

Fight Club’s Tyler Durden Is a Minimalist

Fight Club is not a film about fighting: it’s a narrative about life, and it’s about ridding ourselves of the corporate and cultural influences (or perhaps the confluence of the two) that control our lives. Following are some of our favorite minimalist quotes from the film.

  1. The things you own end up owning you.
  2. It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
  3. You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
  4. Reject the basic assumptions of civilization—especially the importance of material possessions.
  5. Fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns. I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let’s evolve—let the chips fall where they may.
  6. The liberator who destroyed my property has realigned my perceptions.
  7. Do you know what a duvet is? It’s a blanket. Just a blanket. Now why do guys like you and me know what a duvet is? Is this essential to our survival, in the hunter-gatherer sense of the word? No. What are we then? We are consumers. We’re the byproducts of a lifestyle obsession.
  8. We’re consumers. We are the byproducts of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty—these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra…fuck Martha Stewart. Martha’s polishing the brass on the Titanic. It’s all going down, man. So fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns.
  9. Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. Goddammit, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables—slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man: No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war; our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
  10. What do you want? Wanna go back to the shit job, fucking condo world, watching sitcoms? Fuck you—I won’t do it.
  11. Explaining consumerism: We are all part of the same compost heap.
  12. Drawing a metaphor for the modern consumer-driven life: How embarrassing—a house full of condiments and no food.
  13. Narrator, while looking at a Calvin Klein ad on the bus: Is that what a real man is supposed to look like?
  14. Fuck what you know. You need to forget about what you know, that’s your problem. Forget about what you think you know about life, about friendship, and especially about you and me.
  15. Hitting bottom isn’t a weekend retreat. It’s not a goddamn seminar. Stop trying to control everything, and just let go! LET GO!
  16. Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.
  17. Only after disaster can we be resurrected.
  18. Guys, what would you wish you’d done before you died?
  19. After Raymond Hessel faces death, but lives: Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.
  20. Talking to himself about himself: Hey, you created me—take some responsibility!
  21. And the eighth and final rule—if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.
  22. Suggesting that most experiences are, by nature, dead: God damn! We just had a near-life experience, fellas.
  23. Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
  24. Time to stand up for what you believe in.
  25. If you are reading this, then this warning is for you: Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don’t you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can’t think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you’re supposed to read? Do you think everything you’re supposed to think? Buy what you’re told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you’re alive. If you don’t claim your humanity, you will become a statistic. You have been warned.
  26. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.

We hope those last two quotes—as well as the preceding 24—will get you to take action. After all, this is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. Take action. Now.