The Top 3 Best Books About Minimalism | A Critical Analysis

Does your house look like it has exploded, do you long for a more calm life, with less distraction, stress, and consumerism? Or maybe you like to live in a tiny house and prepare for that or find that your tiny house seems cluttered at times. Minimalism may be just what you are looking for. But where to start?

In this article, we have selected three outstanding books on Minimalism for you. We have made a thorough and critical analysis of several books on Minimalism, and below you can see which books we have selected. In our review, we explain if the books are for beginners or more experienced Minimalists. We have also written down the merits and downsides of each book. We genuinely hope that this balanced overview will help you to find the right book about Minimalism, so you can start or continue your Minimalist journey.

For beginners in Minimalism, we will start by explaining what Minimalism is. Experienced Minimalists may skip this part.

Let’s dive into it!

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism seems to be the answer to a lot of our day-to-day problems: a lot of us are short on time and have too many belongings, and these two things seem to be related. People are more and more starting to feel the need to declutter their lives. And this can have a big impact on the quality of our lives: a tidy house makes us feel calm and in control of our lives.

We can declutter our homes; books, clothes, knickknacks, the likes. But we can also declutter our activities, such as spending time on social media. Or declutter our thoughts; we might feel a lot better by skipping thoughts that are repetitive and have no use whatsoever.

All in all, minimalism is about quality of life, as opposed to quantity. This does not mean that a minimalist always has little possessions – it just means becoming aware of our way of life, and maximizing our time and energy.

1 ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Tidying-up’, by Marie Kondo

Downside: The book seems to be more about decluttering than about Minimalism.

Score: Great, since the method does work for a lot of people.

Level: Beginner.

Marie Kondo undoubtedly is the most famous minimalist, and this little turquoise bestseller has become a bible for so many people throughout the globe. Marie Condo rose to fame after hosting a Netflix show about decluttering.

In this book, she explains her method of decluttering: first the process of discarding, and then the process of tidying. The process of discarding is led by the principle of joy: keep the belongings that give you joy, and discard the rest. The process of tidying is led by assigning each item in your household to a category and working through all of them in a specific order, and specific ways.

Marie Kondo has had great success with her method, and the effects of this method are long-lasting, it is claimed by her followers.

2 ‘The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify’, by Francine Jay

Merit: Practical and helpful for beginners, and her method seems to work.

Downside: Too long, according to some readers.

Score: Great, since it is an all-around effective book.

Level: Beginner and experienced Minimalist.

This book is motivational to beginners of Minimalism, as well as his ideas and advice for people who have been delving into this philosophy for years. In the book, the author explains that a minimalist life does not mean impoverishment, rather it means having an enriched life.

There is a large section devoted to the philosophy of Minimalism, which lays the groundwork for the more practical side of it. Newcomers to the subject can benefit from a step-by-step guide to decluttering every part of their house.

The book helps you to reframe the way you see your belongings, and to downsize – if that is beneficial for you. A lot of people have been successfully decluttering their lives with the help of this book.

Whereas Marie Kondo’s book seems more to deal with tidying and organizing, Francine Jay’s book seems more to focus on downsizing. The difference is there: some people strive for downsizing, and some just want to declutter and organize their lives, and do not want to downsize. Neither of the authors judges or places a value on having possessions: they are just handing out ways to manage our lives even better.

3 ‘Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism’, by Fumio Sasaki

Merit: The photos of before and after say a lot.

Downside: Too extreme for some people, and too long, according to some.

Score: Great, because he touches on the fundamentals of Minimalism.

Level: Beginner and experienced.

We have included this book in our list because it deals with Minimalism in a somewhat more radical way than the other two books. Some people are looking for a more radical change in their lives, and they may benefit from this book.

The writer did away with a lot of his possessions, and that opened up a whole new life for him. In the first part he explains how to declutter and downsize; in the second part, he describes the effects of this process.

For some people this book is too extreme: Sasaki seems to live a life of austerity, and that may not appeal to everyone. On top of that: he is young and single, and people who do not fall into that category may not resonate with his philosophy.

Nevertheless, this book can stir our opinions and beliefs, and help us to go back to the fundamentals of life. This can give us many rewards that may previously have seemed unattainable.

Final thoughts

Decluttering your life and incorporating Minimalism is not something that will happen overnight. Rather it is a process, and these books can help us on the way. Many people find it useful to read more than one book about Minimalism. By reading several books about the subject, we can learn more, have different perspectives on the subject, and become more conscious of the way that we organize our lives.

So, even though this is a top three list, the books could all be number one because they complement each other. It all depends on your needs; if you have too much stuff and want to do away and organize, you can best start with Marie Condo’s book. If you want to downsize and read more about Minimalism, Francine Jay’s book is probably right for you. If you are ready to go to the bone: go with Sasaki’s book.

Whichever way you go: we at Tiny Living Life wish you all the best on your Minimalist journey. Stay tuned for our next article!

Usha Uppal

Usha Uppal

Usha has a Bachelor degree in History of Art and Master degree in Film and Television (University of Amsterdam). She has long had an interest in alternative ways of living. After renovating a former school building in the North of The Netherlands and transforming it into a homestead with a tiny house Airbnb rental, Usha and her family decided to emigrate to Nicaragua, where they can truly live in harmony with nature and build accordingly.
Septic vs Composting Toilet

Septic vs Composting Toilet

Selecting the right waste management system is essential for any household, particularly those located off the municipal sewage network. This blog article compares septic tanks and composting toilets to help you choose the right system that matches your environmental...

read more
What is a dry flush toilet?

What is a dry flush toilet?

Now more than ever, there is a great demand for sustainable approaches to sanitation in today’s green society. Dry-flush toilets offer an innovative solution that conserves water which can be used instead of traditional plumbing fixtures. This article will explore...

read more
Do Incinerating Toilets Smell?

Do Incinerating Toilets Smell?

In this blog post, we will address one of the most frequently asked questions about modern sanitation systems – Do incinerating toilets smell? We’re going to talk about how these toilets work, what technologies are used in order to control their smells and share some...

read more