Minimalism and Sustainability

Staff PicksShaw/Watha T. Daniel Library

Minimalism and Sustainability

This list was created to showcase and examine non-fiction books that feature the minimalist lifestyle. Where in the art world minimalism focuses on simplicity, harmony, and order, the books below represent a cultural shift from high consumerism towards a life of reflection, intention, and utility in every aspect.

(Please note all titles are linked to their physical copies; nearly all are also available as library e-books and/or e-audiobooks via OverDrive and its app Libby.)

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
Cal Newport argues that we can have a life of value in a world filled with advertisements and distractions. Newport makes a case against anxiety and challenges readers to refocus their attention on creating routines, developing useful and fulfilling hobbies, and placing value in the time they spend away from screens to connect with the ones they love.

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki
Fumio Sasaki drastically changed his life when he became a minimalist. After years of overspending, he decided to chip away at the life he spent accumulating things. Goodbye, Things tells a story of change that is relatable and easy to digest. It was soothing to read about Sasaki's changes from a self-proclaimed “maximalist” to “minimalist” and the steps he took to create a life of maximum experience and minimal possessions.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders
Cait Flanders has taken many journeys in her life and through them, she was inspired to spend, she started a blog, quit drinking, discovered herself with the new goal of not spending for a year. The time she takes to keep herself away from spending she finds herself growing closer with her friends and family, developing hobbies that contribute to her life, and cherishing small and intimate moments with herself. The book is filled with specialness and moments that will inspire readers who are interested in giving up spending or reducing the amount they consume. Flanders’ story is encouraging and hopeful, filled with failures, mistakes, and reflections that make the writer and reader better. 

Simply Sustainable: Moving Toward Plastic-Free, Low-waste Living by Lily Cameron
Follow this family as they journey into minimizing their environmental impact. By committing to a life of reusing products and reducing their purchase of single-use items in their household, the Cameron family was able to create a minimalist life while using very few non-reusable products. This book makes the transition to reusable products easy. Lily Cameron walks the reader through the step-by-step changes she and her family made with useful tidbits and helpful hints along the way.

Less: A Visual Guide To Minimalism by Rachel Aust
This was a great book to read and the ability to see what an ideal minimalist environment looks like is helpful in making the abstract concept of minimalism more understandable. I liked that the book wanted to help readers pursue their own vision of minimalism and that it provided a guide for readers to help them achieve their minimalist goals.