The early Buddhists and the Stoics understood the problem of suffering very well. The more one is attached to ‘Maya,’ the world of illusions, the material world, the more one desires. The more one desires the more one suffers. However, try what one may, the desires never seem to cease. Thus, the Buddha was compelled to argue that all existence is ‘dukkha’ (which is Sanskrit for suffering). This is beautifully summed up in his four noble truths. The solution that he and the early Stoics like Zeno and Marcus Aurelius seem to have arrived on is something similar to what we see today as minimalism. Below are some handpicked books about minimalism to give you an idea of what it’s all about.
The Joy Of Less by Francine Jay
If you want to live a simple and meaningful life, the book, this is a must-read. If you want to declutter and organize your mental, physical and spiritual space, the author provides a practical, step-by-step guide on doing so. The author’s own story is a refreshing and relatable one and will inspire you into building life-long habits that will help you find meaning in life.
The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Here’s another amazing read. The author is a well-loved Japanese cleaning consultant who was also among Time Magazine’s hundred most influential people in 2015. A lot of us go on gathering and collecting stuff that we hold on to only because we are used to doing so. Marie Kondo shares her strategies for simplifying, organizing, and decluttering our homes. In doing so, we automatically declutter our lives.
Essential Zen Habits by Leo Babauta
This is collection of articles taken from the author’s blog of the same name. He is someone who managed to quit smoking, run marathons, become organized, eat healthy and write an awesome book. The fact that he is a run-of-the-mill ordinary guy, a husband, and a father to six children makes his writing relatable and inspiring.
Sustainable Minimalism by Stephanie Marie Seferian
In an age when sustainability is the new obsession, for lack of a better word, and when threats like global warming and climate change are looming over mankinds’ collective heads, this book offers an excellent guide to living a sustainable, eco-friendly and minimalistic lifestyle. She goes on to explain how things that we think belong in the trash may be recyclable, reusable, or donatable. In most cases, doing so is not only greatly satisfying but also an eco-friendly way to declutter our homes and our lives.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
Technology, just like the mind, is a good servant but a bad master. In this book, the focus is on phasing out the distraction and noise of the digital and technological world. The author presents a method that involves 30 days of digital decluttering. The emphasis is on seeing technology for the tool it is and using it consciously. Most of us today avoid solitude for we are uncomfortable being alone with our own thoughts and emotions. To do so, we readily grab onto these distractions and never get to know our own real selves.
Ikigai by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia
The minimalist approach of zen Buddhism is reflected very profoundly in the Japanese culture. Although not a book on minimalism per se, Ikigai is built upon the same set of values. It is one of my all-time favorite books. Ikigai means a reason or a purpose for being alive. However, to find your Ikigai, it is important to let go of all that stands between you and your purpose. To do so, you’ll have to get rid of distractions and get aligned and attuned to your inner voice. This requires becoming used to solitude and living a life of simplicity. Believe me when I say that this book has the potential to change your life!