Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Key Takeaways from "Simplify" book of minimalism (heroku.com)
44 points by nojon 1785 days ago | hide | past | web | 28 comments | favorite

I know this is just a scratchpad of takeaways from a more in-depth piece of writing, but the generalizations on nearly every point make it hard to apply to my own life. Some possessions are necessary, some experiences aren't worth paying for, unused doesn't mean useless (emergency supplies, diverse clothing for diverse weather conditions), watch less TV than what? How are birthday wishlists related to minimalism (I can guess, but it should have more detail), who says my subscriptions are mostly liabilities? Why does inbox zero have to be used by everyone? And why is the meaning of life described as a certainty?

"There are more you should value more than possessions –God"

Hard to keep reading after that line. First, telling me things I should value, and secondly being something I don't take value out of anymore.

Owning things is part of experiencing things, no? And dont put a picture of Steve Jobs on this blog post, thats the Man who brought more devices that people do not need than anyone else. Hardly an example of Minimalism. Unless this was meant as sarcasm.

No! Modern smartphone combines many things in one and simplifies your life in that sense. I play music, use turn by turn GPS, read books, newspapers, and magazines (though mostly on tablet, to be honest), listen to music and Internet radio, watch videos and photos, use instant messaging, check calendar and todo list, write diary, keep my boarding passes, buy movie tickets, check weather forecast, set alarms and kitchen timers - all one small device sitting in my pocket. And oh, sometimes I use it as a phone too.

Smartphone made my life much, much easier.

No, it made your life more distracted, that is all. Most of these things are not necessary just like having a phone wherever you go was just about bringing in more interruptions in your daily life and work. There are things you see, and things you do not see.

I don't see why it couldn't be both. Yes, phones can be very distracting (information when you don't need it), but they can also provide very useful information exactly when you need it.

It can bring interruptions into your life, but it can also simplify and optimize other parts of your life.

You said it yourself: It made your life easier, not simpler.

I don't have a smartphone. I simply don't do most of the things on your list. I use a paper calendar and to-do list. I read paper books from the library. I had an iPhone and found that it made my life more complicated - more generally, its contribution to my life was a net negative - and I got rid of it.

Ok, this is not a well argument. Let's say you are CEO of Twitter, which in your terms is totally should be considered as a distraction. You are living your life with less items and in a less-cluttered way to focus on more important stuff. Then you create Twitter for a purpose. It could be making tons of money, it could be changing people's lives by providing them an advanced communication tool (and look around the world how Twitter can be used, how it changes the countries and governments). It also makes a distraction for most of the people. I used to read tweets during the classes, I still spend hell a lot of time in Twitter, but this is not an valid argument to accuse CEO of Twitter with being not minimalist. It has nothing to do with that. Steve Jobs took the "smart"phone idea a little bit further, of course he made rooms full of money, but he also changed the way we reach the knowledge and we connect each other, which are human needs.

Can we please stop pretending that Steve Job invented anything and had God-like powers? He did not change the way we "connect to each other" nor "how we reach knowledge". He did not invent the web or wikipedia as far as I know, nor did he invent portable computers with network connections. You can probably do better than that.

Now, coming back on your point, Steve Jobs was certainly not a Minimalist himself. He (partially) OWNED a huge company, and he was totally OWNED by his company, by the definition of the book of minimalism itself. Until the end of his life he spent most of his days working for Apple -> which is not a good example of someone detached from earthly possessions. Plus, he was passionate about the products he created, therefore he certainly used them a lot and was "owned" by them as well.

That's why, putting Steve Jobs in a "Buddhic" kind of stature is ridiculous. If you want to find examples of people who live Minimalism, there are much better ones out there.

Man, you should see his Yacht!

Maybe he brought a lot of devices into our lives, but with the goal of them being "bicycles for our minds." He realised people are tool-builders, and that's exactly what he was: a great tool-builder with the goal of simplifying our demanding lifestyles.

So, the simplicity of "minimalism" is still focused on interior decoration and inbox management. How about going beyond this and actually going on to deal with the things that matter more?

The way of minimalism: stuff doesn't matter, so here's my blog about different interesting ways to organize your stuff and pictures of beautiful bourgeois furniture.

Not to mention, the less stuff you need, the less money it takes to have "fuck you" money.

Can someone give me a hint as to why: send people who might give you a birthday present a wishlist, is on this list? it seems completely opposed to the idea of minimalism and also seems like a generally kind of obnoxious thing to do.

The idea is that if you get something you wanted, you won't get something that will soon turn into clutter like 1000 other gag gifts. There is some logic to it but I agree that it's more obnoxious than it's worth.

makes sense. might as well go all the way and ask them to donate to charity instead though.

At this point, author says that people like parents and grandparents have a joy of buying an actual gift and he doesn't want to take this away from them. I agree with that, if they buy you something from the wishlist then you can pay the same amount to the charity yourself, as well.

It seems a bit contradictory that buying a gift for someone is okay but buying one for yourself is a sin. Both can be joyous experiences. If experiences and relationships are more important than possessions, we should ask for experiences with a person as a gift, and actively discourage all possession gifts. (How boring is an essential gift? Thanks for the cheese-grater dad!).

Stopped reading at "There are more you should value more than possessions –God..."

Hello, I am the reader and actually this is exactly what the author has written. I quoted directly from him and I also took this idea from the book.

You better not read PG's essays, because he also uses the word "God". https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q... It is quite interesting to see you are irritated of something I believe and understand from the book.

Apologies. I didn't realise it was a direct quote. And point taken about PG's mention of the word "God" in his essays.

Then it seems to be plagiarism, not a summary of your key takeaways.

Your Google link unfortunately disproved your point.

Quotation marks added later. Good call on that I guess.

Yes, I may have apologised in haste.

>Things you own actually begin to own you after some time. You clean them, organize them, buy them, sell them etc. More you own, the more time they rob from your lives.


>You won’t lose that much.

These two points go hand in hand -- though, I would change "lose" to "miss" in the second.

I grew up rather poor, and with a less than stellar family. As a result, I was bounced around a lot from home to home. One thing I learned from that is that with each move, I unpacked fewer and fewer boxes that were filled with my things. I only needed a few core things in which to be happy. If another move was only few months down the road, I didn't see a point in unpacking all of these useless items if they're just going to go back in the box again. Eventually, I realized that the stuff I didn't unpack was really just that: stuff. I didn't need it to be happy. It was really just one more thing that I had to spend time maintaining.

This minimalism, though originally born from necessity, carried over to adulthood as a simple lifestyle choice. I have a massive problem in wrapping my head around people's obsession with filling their homes with.. stuff.

In an attempt to explain the minimal lifestyle to my much younger brother the other day, I gave the example of people who shop at Kirklands (we just happened to be walking by the place when my older, and very married, sister exclaimed joy at seeing the store). The stuff in that store is little more than yard sale fodder (in my ever so humble opinion!). It's purpose is to will up a space in your home, but it means nothing to the buyer. In a week's time, it will just be another "thing;" something you bought once on a whim. In five years it will either be thrown away, sold, or in a closet somewhere because you've got to make room for ever more stuff in your house.

I've got a very simple question which I ask myself before I purchase something: "Is this item really going to make me happy?" "I cannot imagine a scenario where this fancy silverware holder, which by definition will sit in a drawer, underneath said silverware and thus rarely seen, will really make me happier than this $5 utilitarian one" (actual conversation I had with my girlfriend at Ikea, to which she replied, "but it's cuter!").

That said, I don't not buy things; I'm a sucker for the NASA lego sets, admittedly. But they have meaning to me more than a placeholder. It's an activity I do with my brothers, it is, to me, a symbol of a great human achievement, and I fudging love showing people that there's actually a little lego satellite inside the lego Shuttle. That type of thing is an experience for me. It's not just a thing, looking at it is like a mnemonic for triggering good memories I had of putting it together with family and friends. Those are the things I feel are worth filling your house with, not just stuff because "that wall could use something."

On the other hand owning stuff is cool if it doesn't clutter your life, or you don't mind your life being cluttered. If you live in a house with a few spare rooms and don't move around a lot then it is awesome to have walls of bookshelves or other things you enjoy. Or even to go through that box you put under the stairs 5 years ago and play with your old Nintendo or the like. The minimalist thing is getting really popular but IMO there is enjoyment in ownership of things, as long as the possessions don't own me.

I would gladly be owned by a turbocharged jet ski.

Any time spent on religion is wasted time. There, one less thing to worry about.

but then you have to worry about looking good while the void stares at you. :)

Applications are open for YC Winter 2018

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact