Musings on “Everything That Remains”

“Our identities are shaped by the costumes we wear. I am seated in a cramped conference room, surrounded by ghosts in shirtsleeves and pleated trousers.”

Those are the opening lines to “Everything That Remains,” a memoir-esque work written by Joshua Fields Millburn (with “interruptions” by Ryan Nicodemus). Within the first couple of pages you can see that the book is stylishly written, and Millburn’s lively imagery is a big part of that.

If you are someone who is into simple living or even someone who reads a lot of blogs (like this one, for example), then you have probably heard of the two men who call themselves “The Minimalists.” Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have an amazing story that manages to both inspire you and challenge you at the same time.

Their message is a frank one, a simple one. And if you want to hear it, I advise you go to their site – It is their story, and they tell it so much better than I ever could.

To sum it up, “Everything That Remains,” makes for a very interesting and engaging read. Not only because it tells the story of the duo’s journey towards living meaningful lives, but because the whole book feels familiar. While Millburn’s story is a unique one, chances are that you could pick up the book, turn to any page, and find something that relates to you in the here and now. Heck, I wouldn’t say I have much in common with Millburn, but I found myself relating to so many parts of his story.

This is because his story is far from new. Countless people have felt the same dissatisfaction, suffered the same losses, tried (but failed) to make the same changes. The difference is that he decided to share his story with the world, only to discover that so many others shared his ideas and his experiences and wanted to live meaningful lives as well. They just needed . . . a little push, that’s all.

And ultimately, that’s what this book is. It’s a push in the right direction. It’s — as Millburn says — a recipe that worked for him and may also benefit others. Whether you’re looking to start your journey towards living with less or you’re a long-time minimalist (or you’re just looking for a thought-provoking read), I would definitely recommend flipping through a couple pages and seeing where it takes you.

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