Blog, Minimalism

Best Books on Minimalism & the Minimalist Movement

If there’s one thing we love, it’s some quiet and a good book! While you’re binging those pages, why not soak up some information about something that you’re interested in.

Unlike websites that have to express their point quickly and concisely in order to sustain the readers’ attention, books have hundreds of pages and endless potential to go as in-depth as the author desires about a topic. So if you’re looking for some thorough answers about minimalism, you’ll likely find them in the right book.

The 10 Best Books About Minimalism

If you’re a more visual learner, you’re in luck!  Minimalist picture books, or “look books”, are popular and readily available. That your look book to the store with you and use it as a reference when you’re browsing for decor. 

The best thing about books is that they’re freely available to everybody. The best part for minimalists is that you don’t have to keep them. Take ten minutes to sign up for a library card—it’s free and gives you access to a wealth of minimalist information.

Then next time you swing by your local library, take a look at these titles. Whether you’re looking for guidance from the best of the best or a good laugh—minimalism has been translated in many different ways. 

This selection of books covers the physical aspects of minimalism as well as the social and artistic implications behind minimalism. You’ll love these books if you’re just dipping your toe into minimalism as they introduce the information in a clear but engaging way.

If you’ve been involved in the minimalist movement for a while, these books can open your mind to new perspectives and benefits of minimalism that you otherwise never would’ve considered. 

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

Also mentioned in our list of the top minimalist documentaries, Marie Kondo wrote a book about decluttering that sold over 6 million copies before she earned her Netflix docu-series on the subject. In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, tidying expert Marie Kondo details the keys behind her masterful organization skills.

This book is packed with tips and instructions for organizing, sorting, decluttering, and keeping new things out. And it’s not all strategy talk either. Kondo emphasizes the importance of your feelings in the process and constantly applies the golden question: “Does this spark joy?”.

So if you’re stuck somewhere in the decluttering process or don’t even know how to declutter, this is a very informative and instructional read!

2. Essential: Essays by the Minimalists by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

The minimalist gurus Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus present a series of essays that expose the unspoken truths about consumerist culture while giving us a look into the minimalist’s life in the modern day.

They highlight how enriching and transformative the experience of minimalism has been to their lives financially, mentally, relationship- and health-wise. They proudly assert that freedom from our attachment to the material world is true freedom that allows us to engage in more mindful and meaningful interactions with the world.

Dive into this book to explore an honest account of the wonderful, and sometimes hard, realities of minimalist life. 

3. The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay

Affectionately referred to as “Miss Minimalist”, Francine Jay has composed an electric novel about the benefits of decluttering.

This book is a great pick-me-up when you need motivation to hop up and sort through that pile of junk mail. The author cheers you along as you take your first steps into your minimalist journey and inspires you to be excited about living with less.

The Joy of Less, in addition to being fun, is also very informative and features several decluttering guides and tips on how to incorporate minimalism into your life. This is an upbeat how-to on minimalist life at home!

4. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker

This book turns our attention inward as it directly addresses us and our level of satisfaction with our lives.

Author Joshua Becker discusses the reality of how comfortable society has become with our clutter, so much so that we don’t even notice its daily effects on our lives and the pursuit of our goals. Becker describes just how your material possessions are holding you back and the enlightenment that lies on the other side of our barricade of things.

He passionately explores the fulfilling and life-changing properties of minimalist life.  The author also walks you through how to plan out the best approach for incorporating minimalism into your life and navigating it around your unique circumstances.

If you want more insight into how minimalism will directly affect and benefit you, give this one a read!

5. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders

Cait Flanders documents what started as her daring herself not to purchase anything that wasn’t necessary.

In an attempt to alleviate her dissatisfaction with her life and focus more on the pursuit of her dreams, Flanders decided she needed a lifestyle change and resolved to quit shopping cold-turkey and practice financial minimalism for a year.

She discloses the lessons she learned and how this experiment inspired her to make greater life changes such as getting rid of 70% of her possessions and detoxing from television.

Not everything about the author’s journey is smooth sailing but it’s an inspiring story that details the miraculous, unexpected transformations that came out of her challenge. This novel conveys an important message: it takes just a single decision to change the course of your life.

6. Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver

Soulful Simplicity follows the author, Courtney Carver, as she pursues minimalism to save her from the stresses that are negatively affecting her health after she’s diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Once she was diagnosed, the weight of her daily life became harder to manage; she had to make a change. 

She takes the principle of simplicity and explains in detail how to apply it to all sectors of your life including your relationships, careers, and home life in order to establish a more peaceful and less stressful life.

Carver’s novel opens your eyes to just how much power you have in creating the life you want. And just how blissful simplicity can be. 

7. Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson

Surely you’re curious as to how someone can live life producing little to no waste! Reflect on how often you throw things away. It’s hard to imagine how you’d go through life without throwing things away.

Well, author Bea Johnson’s family of four only produce a single quart of trash per year! Zero Waste Home is a personal account of her shift into waste-free living along with her husband and two sons. Johnson opens up about challenges, how she pulled it off, and tips and secrets that are vital to a smooth transition.

She spills all the knowledge she garnered over the course of her journey (including a blueprint concerning how to introduce a zero-waste lifestyle into your family’s lives) and shares the astonishing rewards of living so consciously.

Bea Johnson gives us a feel-good story as well as a great bit of minimalist-mom/-dad advice.

9. The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz

The Paradox of Choice challenges the idea that choice is a good thing. You would think that choices are good things—when you have more choices you’re more likely to find what you want.

Schwartz asserts that we have so many choices nowadays between so many products and services, that actually no matter what we choose we’ll never be happy with it.

We expend so much time and energy comparing brands, quality, and features, but since there’s no one right choice we’re prone to second guessing and wondering if we could’ve chosen better instead of being satisfied with what we have.

He describes how society’s culture of excess has backfired on us and we don’t even notice. The frequency with which we experience frustration from decision-fatigue is bad for our mental and emotional health.

This book is a guide to making constructive, careful, and conscious choices that bring us closer to true happiness.

10. Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More by Courtney Carver

Fashionistas! This book is a unique take on minimalist literature with a focus on our closet. Here’s a dare for you: wear only 33 clothing items for 3 months. You might be taken aback at the first thought of this, but Courtney Carver attests to the benefits of this closet cleanse.

When you don’t have to fret so much over what to wear, how you leave the house everyday becomes more about you than what you have on. Our uneventful wardrobe encourages us to engage in more acts of self-care and give ourselves more attention.

Prop this book open and learn more about the author’s process of downsizing their closet, as well as tips, tricks, and motivation to get the most out of the experience. 

Popular Minimalist Authors to Check Out

There are minimalist experts around the world that are extraordinary despite not making this list.

If none of the above titles speak to you, use your library’s research database (or Google) to research some authors whose style might align more with you. Honorable mentions go to these renowned minimalist authors:

Alice Cassaza

She’s a woman advocate, mindset coach, inspirational speaker, mental health advocate blogger, mom, minimalist, and author (whew!). With God’s help, she’s empowering women by guiding them through the transformative process of minimalism. 

Fumio Sasaki

Master minimalist and author, Fumio Sasaki lives his daily life in a 215-square-foot apartment. Sasaki’s literature translates what he learned in his journey to stretch sparsity as far as he can.

Zoë Kim

Author, mom, and wonderful spirit, Zoë Kim coaches families into a comfortable minimalist lifestyle. She’s written about her experience as a minimalist mom and valuable information about how to minimize and declutter around your family. 

Final Notes

Sometimes you need a wholesome personal story to inspire you to continue on your own journey. It helps so much to feel like there’s someone that relates to you and that has been where you are not.

Or maybe you need a detailed how-to drawn out for you that you can refer to over and over again.

Comprehensively, the works on this list clearly lay out how to be a minimalist: tutorials on how to declutter and organize, what minimalism means for yourself or others, what to expect (easy and difficult) from the minimalist experience, and how to get through the hard parts.

So if you didn’t know how, now you do! Some of these will quickly become some of your favorite pieces of minimalist literature. Don’t be afraid to give them all a go—reading is a great hobby for minimalists, after all!