11 Essential Books on Minimalism

Best books on minimalism

Now, people have more than ever – more money, more possessions, and more choice of products on the market. But even so, minimalism is a growing trend. Some people call it a philosophy; for others, it’s a way of life. 

Whatever the definition of minimalism is to you, it seems to help people find a greater sense of meaning in their life. You might be a complete beginner minimalist. Or even if you’ve fully embraced the movement, there’s a minimalism book out there for you. You can come to minimalism from a design perspective. Using minimalist principles, you can create a calm, clutter-free living space. In that case, check out my roundup on the best books on minimalist design.

But you might want to incorporate minimalist principles in all aspects of your life. In that case, you’ll be looking for a minimalist living book – I’ve linked some excellent examples below! 

Books are always my favorite source of inspiration and guidance. So, I created this guide to the best books on minimalism! You’ll find plenty of food for thought from this comprehensive list.

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Why is Minimalism Important? 

When life feels rushed and material pressures are high, there has to be an alternative. These relentless demands are what caused people to turn to minimalism.

People have realized that there is more to life than working hard, earning money, and spending it. Because you might meet your material and financial goals, that doesn’t always translate to health, happiness, and fulfillment.

When you choose minimalism, your focus switches from things to people. You’ll start to build better connections with the people around you. You’ll experience more joy as you live more intentionally. And you can discover true meaning in life and start working towards what really matters!

Minimalist Life and Design

You can take the first step towards a minimalist life by decluttering your house. We all have cupboards full of things that we don’t want to need. Getting rid of unnecessary possessions will create a calm, spacious living space. 

But living the minimalist life goes beyond just possessions. It’s about making intentional decisions and freeing up emotional clutter, too. When you dive deep into minimalism, you will discover what brings you fulfillment. You’ll know how you want to spend your time and what goals you want to achieve in life.

Minimalist thinking is also important in design. It’s relevant whether you’re designing a physical or digital product. Every page has white space on it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to read the words. These principles lead to the rise of the Minimalism movement in art and design. There’s a lot we can learn from prominent figures who spearheaded this movement.

The Best Books on Minimalism: My Reviews

When I want to learn more about any topic, I always turn to books. So here’s my roundup of the best books about minimalism!

Minimalist Lifestyle Books

If you’ve been eager to start living in a minimalist way but you didn’t know how to start, these books are for you!

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own

 

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own - best books on minimalism

In this book, author Joshua Becker suggests a radical idea: We don’t need everything that we own. Not only does he walk you through why you don’t need all your stuff. But Becker provides you with a practical plan to declutter your house and your life. And he knows how to do this – he did it himself!

The ultimate goal of doing this is to switch the focus from a full house to a full life. If you follow Becker’s advice, you will find more joy, calm, and beauty in your life. An inspiring yet actionable read.

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

 

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

Marie Kondo is one of the most well-known names in the minimalist world. You might have even watched her series on Netflix. But her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is where it all began!

In this Japanese minimalism book, Kondo walks you through how to declutter your house. It’s not an easy process, and it requires commitment. But Kondo’s unique step-by-step approach makes it much more approachable. It all comes down to one simple principle: ‘Does it spark joy?’. Any item that fails this question doesn’t belong in your house!

This is one of the best minimalism books for beginners. If you’re not sure where to start, grab this book. It will ease you in gently!

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Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

 

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism - best books on minimalism

 

The beauty of ‘Goodbye, Things’ is that the author, Fumio Sasaki, is no expert on minimalism. Because this is the problem with minimalism books: they can often seem impractical. It can be hard to relate to ‘experts’ with immaculate homes and a huge following.

But Sasaki is just a normal person. He experienced the stress and overwhelm that comes with a cluttered life. And in this book, he relates his journey to minimalism. You’ll discover how it’s changed his life for the better, plus some useful tips to help you get started, too!

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The Joy of Less

The Joy of Less - best books on minimalism

This lighthearted book is a fun read that is split into four main parts. In the first section, you’ll discover why you should embrace having less. Francine Jay has enough positivity to get you excited to start the process yourself! 

Then, later sections cover the practical aspects of decluttering and becoming minimalist. You’ll learn a 10-step method that makes it easy for anyone to create a minimalist living space. Jay shows you how to tackle your house with a clear room-to-room guide for a stress-free, simple process. There’s even advice on winning over skeptical family members who don’t want to part with all their stuff!

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Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

 

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things - best books on minimalism

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that more money and more things will make you happy. That’s exactly the life that Joshua and Ryan were living. Until they realized that chasing that ‘dream lifestyle’ was making them miserable.

This minimalist lifestyle book relates their transition to minimalist living. These guys share everything here; no holds barred! You can read all about the difficult moments that lead to making this decision. Plus, they cover the incredible effects of embracing minimalism. The inspiring yet relatable tone make this one of the best books about minimalism!

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

 

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less - best books on minimalism

Greg McKeown is a leader in minimalist thinking. But he sees beyond the minimalism of the physical things around us. In Essentialism, McKeown tackles all the things holding us back from doing what we truly love in life. This revolutionary theory of essentialism challenges us to stop saying ‘Yes’ to everything. Instead, we need to consider how we want to spend our time. 

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t have enough time for everything, this book will be a rewarding read. It will give you the strength and confidence to identify what you want to achieve in life. You’ll also decide how you really want to spend your time. After all, time is also a limited resource. We have to choose wisely! Once you read this, you’ll be inspired to say no to time-wasting so that you can achieve your life goals.

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Minimalist Design Books

If you’re excited by the idea of minimalist design, I’ve got you covered. These minimalist books are must-reads for you!

Designing Design by Kenya Hara

 

Designing Design by Kenya Hara - best books on minimalism

This groundbreaking book is a beautiful work. It highlights incredible design from some of the best graphic designers worldwide. You need to snap up this book! It’s the perfect in-depth exploration of color, space, and minimalism in design. It will fill you with awe and wonder. 

In these pages, you’ll find a wide range of works ranging from illustrations to photos and sculptures. Zen minimalism inspired many of these artworks. But there are many modern pieces in here too. The designs selected by Hara are consistent in their beauty and quality.. Without a doubt, this is the best book on minimalism for artists and designers.

 

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Design as Art by Bruno Munari

 

Design as Art by Bruno Munari - best books on minimalism

Design is often looked down upon as the second best to its superior sister, art. But Munari overturns this theory in this classic minimalism book. Here, he explains how design is both practical but also, undeniably, art. His surprising and eye-opening examples include road signs, cars, even chairs. You won’t regret reading this unique book on the beauty and power of minimalist design.

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White

 

White - best books on minimalism

Another excellent book from world-renowned Kenya Hara. This unique book explores the concept of ‘white.’ Hara highlights the importance of emptiness – white space – in design. 

As a graphic designer, he is inspired by Japanese aesthetics and simple design. In his opinion, this empty, white space is just as essential to successful design as what is there. If you love Japanese culture, you’ll race through this slim volume.

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Agnes Martin: Her Art and Life

 

Agnes Martin: Her Art and Life - best books on minimalism

Agnes Martin was a legendary figure and a key leader of the Minimalism art movement. A fascinating woman, she lived a long and varied life that offered lots of inspiration for her art. But she wasn’t without her struggles. 

This in-depth biography offers incredible insight into a pioneer of minimalist art. If you’re experimenting with your own art style, I recommend picking up this book.

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Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible

 

Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible - best books on minimalism

When it comes to design, less is more, according to Dieter Rams. And he should know – he’s designed hundreds of products over the last few decades. There’s little he hasn’t created, and his designs stand out. 

That’s because Rams always follows his 10 fundamental principles of good design. And it works! If you want a thorough understanding of design, you need to read this book. It will blow your mind and allow you to come to your own work with a deeper understanding of what design is. Hundreds of color images complement the engaging text, making this an enjoyable read.

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So there you have the ultimate guide to the best minimalism books in 2020. Pick up one (or two, three, of four) of these books on minimalism and they are sure to inspire and motivate you. 

You’ll learn about the science of minimalism – why it benefits us so much. Plus, you’ll find helpful tips and ideas on how to create your own minimalist lifestyle and living space. So grab whichever book calls to you – happy reading! Which book do you plan to read first? Drop me a comment below to share – I’d love to know!

If you loved this article, why not share it on social media? You might brighten up someone’s day with this inspirational list of minimalism books. To stay up to date on the best tips, resources, and reviews for creative people, sign up for the Proactive Creative newsletter, too!

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My name is Outmane Amahou, 2D / 3D graphic designer and artist.
I am an avid reader of nonfiction books. I have a deep appreciation for minimalism in design, art, and life. I'm always looking for effective and original ways to boost my creativity. I love To share ideas and resources.

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