Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus
Perhaps it is fitting that my review of the memoir authored by The Minimalists is brief. Overall I enjoyed the book even with the style choice of having commentary in endnotes (I maintained two bookmarks so I could flip back and forth). Using a memoir to illustrate how the authors arrived at their life philosophy is a neat approach especially for someone who wasn’t very familiar with their brand beforehand.
There are certain aspects of minimalism that I don’t like because I think that it causes one to lose a fair amount of self-sufficiency. There are occasions in the story where the author has to use the electronics or internet access of friends and nearby coffee shops to accomplish a task. To me this feels a little bit artificial, a personal minimalism bolstered by a wide availability of financial and urban resources.
As one example that is also used in the book, cancelling home internet access because one can simply go to a café assumes that a person can afford expensive café purchases and has no need for remote work access or to be on-call from home, among other things. The authors do emphasize that different people have different needs and the specific choices that work for them need not apply to others in 1:1 fashion, but even with that caveat, there seems to be a fair amount of external dependence.
In thinking about these things I realized that I personally place a high value on being prepared and having the tools I need to accomplish tasks readily available. Even though I may not use it on a regular basis, when it finally is needed it can save a lot of time (see: my neuro bag). I also like being able to use those things to help others, too. The caveat to this position is that these things are only beneficial if you can find them when needed. To that end, I have come to highly appreciate the KonMari principle of striving to ensure that collections of items are fully visible wherever possible.