Calling Bullshit on Minimalism

Originally published January 2013

You know what would be a great “minimalist” move? Not reading books on minimalism.

It’s the New Year, everyone’s got their own set of resolutions, and for a lot of people, that includes cutting back, dieting, and not focusing on the material world. Just before the holidays, I got this book—“Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life”—by bloggers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, at the office. “Hmm …,” I thought to myself, “I wonder what these two hipster dudes in jeans and tees can teach me? Color me Anakin because I want to learn, Obi-Wan.”

Clocking in at just under 120 pages, it is a slim How-To indeed. Because, you know—a hefty book would be the antithesis of “minimal.” Well played, gentlemen. But that’s where my appreciation ends. Because you two are freakin’ nuts.

Full disclosure here—you can pry my photo albums and the Internet from my cold, dead hands. So any suggestion from two dudes to scan my 18 gazillion photos and abandon my technology lifeline is going to fall on deaf ears. Here’s my minimalist idea—the time I would spend trying to catalog those 18 gazillion photos? Yeah—I’d rather keep the album in my closet and take that time to play Bejeweled Blitz. Life’s about choices, y’all.

And talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face—why in the name of Ron Blessed Burgundy would you suggest people drop their home Internet connection when you OPERATE A BLOG? This means people can only read your blog at work or at Starbucks. Think that through, guys. Work productivity goes down because everyone’s Facebooking (more—in addition to the time already spent) at work, and my local Starbucks Wi-Fi connection is now being slowed by 30 new freeloaders making their Ghetto Lattes (minimal!) and scamming free Web time.

Does the book offer sage advice? Sure—but my guess is you’ve already read it elsewhere. Exercise (18-minute minimalist exercises! No more expensive gym package!), spend less, love more … and, oh yeah, cut sugar out of your diet, too. Another deal breaker, guys. Some people smoke crack. I eat sugar. Addicted I am, Obi-Wan.

Oh! And they badmouth TV, too. Get rid of it, they say. Think of the cable savings! And the time spent wasted! To quote one of my favorite celluloid characters, Armand Goldman, “How Egyptian of you.”

“We both jettisoned TV. Instead of stare at the glowing idiot box, we read or write or go to a concert or a movie with a friend, creating meaningful, lasting experiences instead of channel surfing our lives away. Living our dreams doesn’t allow time for such passive nonsense.”

Wow. OK, two things. One, there’s no way you have kids. Or if you do … no. You can’t have kids. And two, Jon Stewart, “Game of Thrones” and “Top Chef” is time.well.spent. I write a book blog, and encourage people to read more at every turn, but even I love my glowing idiot box.

My advice? Skip the book, check out their blog occasionally, and maybe just live by a common sense mantra. Minimal, schminimal. I’m living the dream.

Want more? Follow me on Facebook, where I bloviate on a daily basis.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s