Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Summary

Author: Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus

Minimalism (2011) highlights the importance of minimalism to live a meaningful life. Moreover, decluttering excess things from your life can create more room for the essential things in your life, especially those that matter the most.
minimalism: live a meaningful life

Detailed Summary of Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life

The book is written by two friends, Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who have shared their journey of how they were not happy with their jobs and careers. Even though they were making six figures salaries and had all the luxuries, they still were not feeling fulfilled.

So, they started exploring where true happiness resides and got to know the importance of minimalism, that less is more.

They realized that decluttering excess things from our lives gives us a sense of freedom. Whether it’s the stuff we buy or decluttering our minds. The authors have tried to motivate the readers to adopt minimalism, which is the secret of a meaningful life.

“Success = Happiness + Constant Improvement”
― Joshua Fields Millburn

Moreover, the book also teaches us how to deal with people who don’t agree with our opinions and like to collect things without any reason.

Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Summary Key Points

How to live a more meaningful life? No matter how satisfied you are with your job and pay if you have a distressful life. The coauthors of the book share the journey of their lives and explain how to live and enjoy life more.

Read the book’s key points to know what matters most and what you must have in your life.

You can also read the book Talking to Strangers Summary.

Getting rid of your Debts makes you Feel free

Although debt is respected in Germany, in other nations, it has grown so socially normalized that not having debt is almost strange. However, looking at a series of graphs about the state of debt might quickly make you feel terrified. We always feel a burden when we are in debt.

“Minimalism is a tool we use to live a meaningful life. There are no rules. Rather, minimalism is simply about stripping away the unnecessary things in your life so you can focus on what’s important”
― Joshua Fields Millburn,

In the book, the author shared their story of how they were in debt and how they got rid of it. Josh and Ryan, like many other American students, were in debt. Joshua had to go two years without vacations, eating out, or having any comforts in order to pay off his debt.

It’s entirely up to you whether you start cleaning out your belongings at the same time or not. It can help you earn some extra money while giving you more space to think, not just breathe and live. However, being debt-free will bring a sense of relief unlike any other.

Personal items have a lot of sentimental value for us as humans. We may no longer need the thing, yet we keep it as a keepsake. Joshua and Ryan aren’t saying you shouldn’t save sentimental objects, but they recommend getting rid of as many as possible. It’s actually extremely freeing to be free of these things.

TARA Method

The authors have tried to convince the readers that minimalism is important to live a meaningful life and that decluttering gives us a sense of freedom. But they are also aware of the fact that everyone can’t agree with what you say. Some people just like collecting stuff that they love and keep them knowing that they won’t use it.

So, for those people, Josh and Ryan have a TARA method. They recommend the TARA approach to embrace your friends better despite their massive baseball card collections. This model can be used to better deal with minor annoyances and be a kinder person in general. Life is so much better when we don’t only get along but truly embrace who we are and how unique we are.

Tolerate for their eccentricities.

Accept the fact that they will always exist.

Respect the amount of time they devote to you.

Appreciate that facet of their lives because it is a part of yours as well.

Not only can you use this paradigm to better deal with the small stuff, but you can also use it to better deal with the big stuff.

Five values to Live a Meaningful Life

“Happiness comes from within, from inside yourself, from living a meaningful life.”
― Joshua Fields Millburn

Ryan and Joshua identify five ideals that enable us to live lives that are meaningful.

  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Passions
  • Growth
  • Contribution

Let’s look closely into each of them:


According to Ryan and Joshua, the best place to start is thoroughly examine your health. You must maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle to live a meaningful life. This will guarantee that you are living to your full potential. Diet and exercise are the two components of a healthy lifestyle.


As humans, we thrive on having and maintaining relationships with others. We want to be loved and to love others. Relationships can be defined as people you encounter on a regular basis and maintain touch with, such as partners, spouses, friends, housemates, co-workers, or acquaintances. Joshua and Ryan stress the necessity of learning from previous relationships.


Ryan and Joshua recognize that we all need money to survive. However, pursuing the ‘American Dream’ is a never-ending loop that will never make you happy or allow you to live a meaningful life.

We normally associate passion with work when we speak of it. Ryan and Joshua discuss the ‘American Dream’ and how it is instilled in our culture that you must be a part of the ‘daily grind,’ working Monday through Friday, 9-5. It doesn’t matter if you don’t enjoy it; it’s what we’re supposed to do.


Ryan and Joshua understand that we all require financial support to live. Pursuing the ‘American Dream,’ on the other hand, is a never-ending cycle that will never satisfy you or allow you to live a meaningful life.

When we talk of passion, we usually link it with employment. Ryan and Joshua talk about the ‘American Dream,’ and how it is ingrained in our culture that you must participate in the ‘daily grind,’ working Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It makes no difference if you don’t like it; it’s what we’re meant to be doing.


According to Joshua and Ryan, growth is only the beginning of the trip. You find yourself in a position where you have more of yourself to give than you have ever had before, to give to others and help them flourish. And the cycle keeps going, assisting you in growing even more.

There are so many great ways to make a difference in someone else’s life. You must learn to assess which contribution will be the most beneficial in various scenarios and proceed from there.

Who would I recommend Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life Summary book to?

The book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life is recommended to those trying to explore life’s true meaning. Moreover, anyone fond of collecting and a hoarder should read this book. It will motivate him to be minimalistic.