Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki caught my attention, partly because the author is Japanese. It feels both weird and refreshing to read a Japanese book translated into English.

Overview

The book is a good introduction to minimalism. Fumio clearly defines what a minimalism actually is. According to him, “Minimalism is a lifestyle in which you reduce your possessions to the absolute minimum you need.” But what does “absolute minimum” mean? This is a tricky part. Many of us convince ourselves that we “need” variety of clothes so that we can wear different clothes everyday. But that’s not true. Fumio mentions Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, both famous for wearing the same outfit everyday. We own a lot of clothes because we can afford them. When majority of people can afford something, it becomes the norm. Once it becomes the norm, it’s so hard to get out of it.

Fumio used to possess a lot of stuff: books, TV, expensive clothes, and more. He discarded or sold them all, and now he is happier than ever before.

I initially thought that the concept of minimalism does not require a whole book. After all, it’s about throwing stuff and simplifying our lives, right? It turns out, the benefits of minimalism are broader than I expected. It saves you time and money. It gives you more freedom. It makes you healthier. And so much more.

Fumio also talks about why we are becoming minimalists. Here are the 4 reasons:

  • Too much information
  • Technology(Ebook, smartphone, cloud storage)
  • Sharing economy
  • The physical danger of our possession(earthquake)

It’s easier than ever to be a minimalist. He expects a minimalist lifestyle to continue to grow in popularity. I believe so too.

Take action

A good book informs you, but a great book inspires you to take action. I was so inspired that I stopped reading the book in the middle of it and started cleaning up my apartment. I threw away more than 30 wine bottles that I displayed. They represented how many parties I've thrown and therefore how social I am, but I don’t need social approval. I also sold an old microwave on yahoo auction. Yes, I own 2 microwaves. Since I bought a microwave oven, the old one has been sitting in my apartment. I knew I had to get rid of it, but I never did because “I could do it anytime and I still have space in my apartment”. This is the danger of living in a big apartment.

Conclusion

The information in the book might be available on the internet. But if you don’t have time to go through lots of blogs or need a concise introduction to the subject, I recommend you take a look at it.

If you’re interested in this book, check it out here: Goodbye, Things