The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essentials… in Business and Life by Leo Babauta is an abuse of the subheading. How am I supposed to tweet about that? I know, titling a book is hard. My abuse aside, Leo Babauta has collected a good set of practical advice on how to reduce the life-clutter that gets in the way of all the stuff that’s not clutter.
Babauta is the person behind the popular blog Zen Habits, about simplifying life, healthy living and living more peacefully in general. Babauta’s project started as a personal endeavor to build habits that he desired, like to quit smoking or become a morning person, but it really resonated with people and the project developed a following. It’s a blog–and moreover, a concept–with an active following. There’s even a subreddit dedicated to it with almost 100,000 subscribers. The blog itself is active too, posting about two or three times a week, most, if not all, of which are written by Babauta himself.
It’s a commendable project which produces a steady stream of good, inspiring content. But therein lies the criticism this book has received. It’s a succinct version of the blog itself. As someone who prefers a complete thought to the disjointed ideas, ordered by the date they were posted, I don’t see this as a problem.
But whether you follow the blog, or pick up the book, Babauta’s has some good ideas that are worth a try. When I picked it up ,I was looking for something that would inspire and encourage self-curiosity. Unfortunately for me, Babauta spends a lot more time on questions of “how” than “why”. I continued reading, however, because the practical advice was oscillating between intriguing and validating.
In light of the world we live in, it would do most of us a lot of good to bring limits into our lives that would help us focus. The more mental, emotional, professional, whatever, clutter we have in our lives, the harder it is to do that. By simplifying life, we learn to develop ourselves voluntarily and mindfully. I think this book makes a good primer in that order and it’s worth a read if you know you’re just not going to read through the blog.