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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.

Why Did We Stop Reading?

We have the best of intentions every time we purchase a new book. But then we get busy and, over time, our bookshelves become mausoleums of unread tomes. Stacks and stacks of novels and biographies and self-help books, all collecting dust.

There are at least two reasons we stumble into this predicament. First, we put too much pressure on ourselves: we see someone online who claims they read a book a week, and then we beat ourselves up when we don’t live up to their expectations. Second, we let that which is easy and passive—social media, news feeds, television—pull our attention away from deeper, more meaningful pursuits like long-form reading.

But we can remove both of these obstacles with relative ease. First, we can set our own expectations—how about we each resolve to read just one enriching book per month this year? Second, we can eliminate as many distractions as possible—starting with removing the social media apps from our phones, and then replacing them with an e-reader app so that when we feel the tug of instant gratification, we reach for an e-book instead of our Instagram feeds. If we make only those two changes, we’ll read considerably more throughout the coming twelve months.

If you’re looking for some new books to get you started, these are my favorites from the past year:

Civilized to Death by Christopher Ryan. What is the price of progress? This book masterfully articulates why the so-called progress of the modern era has made us miserable. It’s a new perspective that will make you reconsider your idea of “success.”

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. A fresh take on the distractions that bombard our heavily mediated world—with practical advice and experiments to help you break through the digital clutter.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. This is the book I wish I would have written about my childhood. Vance, who grew up in the same area and in similar circumstances as me, dissects the other side of the tracks in this thrilling memoir, putting into words the nuanced aspects of poverty that are often banalized or ignored by mainstream media outlets.

Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg. Certainly the best political autobiography I’ve read. Regardless of your political leanings (I personally disagree with Buttigieg on several issues), the beautiful writing and narrative urgency of this book make it unputdownable. If Buttigieg doesn’t further his career as a politician, he has a promising future as a Great American Writer.

For more of my favorite books, check out my recommended books list. What’s your favorite recent book? Text me at 937-202-4654 and let me know (yes, that’s really my phone number).