Recently I was approached by the author of the book ‘The Happy Minimalist’ to review it here on my blog. I have been approached in the past to review books on many varied topics, but have refused due to the fact that I haven’t been too keen on their content. This time though is different.
The author Peter Lawrence, has come from a simple beginning. He was born in Singapore and has now retired (at a wonderfully early age due to his minimalist lifestyle) in the USA. In between that he has gathered degrees from universities in two different countries and lived the very life that has led to the publication of his book.
He discusses not only how to be happy in a life that contains the minimum of material wealth, but how important it is for us to live this way. While many people before Peter have written books on how to live a happy and simple life (Living The Good Life by Linda Cockburn springs straight to mind), this book explains more fully why we must as a whole change our very attitude to the unsustainable lifestyle so many of us in the western world lead today.
And thanks to the kind permission of Peter, I am able to include an excerpt from his book. I think this first paragraph sums up nicely both the book itself and the very lifestyle that myself and many others are now trying so desperately to live by:
What is a Minimalist?
The Compact Oxford English Dictionary explains it as:
1. an advocate or practitioner of minimal art or music
2. an advocate of moderate political reform
My scope of a minimalist is broader than the typical dictionary definition. I describe a minimalist as a person who minimizes everything and anything to what is absolutely necessary. According to Greek philosopher Epicurus, whose thinking encapsulates my view, the troubles entailed by maintaining an extravagant lifestyle tend to outweigh the pleasure of enjoying that lifestyle. He recommended that what was necessary for life and happiness be maintained at minimal cost, believing that anything beyond what is necessary should either be tempered by moderation or completely avoided.