Once you’ve read the minimalist memoir Everything That Remains, the authors ask that you “remember to minimize it once you’re finished — pass it on, donate it, or sell it.” It’s not every author that asks the readers to give their books away instead of buying more copies — so we already know that Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are a little … uh … different.
See, these guys don’t need the profit from crazy-high book sales because they’re not that interested in making money, spending money, or owning stuff. That’s their message: That you’ll be happier when you own fewer things, when you have fewer anchors weighing you down and limiting your options, when you’re honest with yourself about the difference between what you really need and what you’re using to reach an illusive and impossible goal of contentment through belongings.
In a couple of weeks, Church Street is bringing these crazy post-capitalists in for a conversation about living with less. We like Joshua and Ryan because they aren’t preaching an agenda, or pretending to have all the answers, or pushing some kind of program. (Heck, they’re barely even trying to sell their book.) We like them because their passion is clear, and their writing reminds us reevaluate our lives, and to be driven by what matters instead of by owning stuff.
But if The Minimalists aren’t giving us something mind-blowingly different, why buy the book? Why come to hear them speak February 11 at Church Street? Because sometimes you don’t need a guru or a prophet. Sometimes you just need to sit down with a couple of guys who really are living the kind of life they want to live, and to let them tell you what they’ve learned. Conversations like this one are why Cal and I opened Church Street Coffee & Books — to invite our community in for conversation and to talk about ideas big and small. It’s why I’m hoping you’ll set a calendar event for February 11 to come hear Joshua and Ryan speak at Church Street (find event details and RSVP here). Buy the book, or don’t. But do come and learn more about what you’ll have room for when you clear a little space in your life and learn to live with less.
Carrie Rollwagen is co-owner and book buyer at Church Street Coffee & Books.