Book Review: The Power of Less

power of less cover image

I hate Leo Babauta.

I mean, really. He starts out by writing that "Only a few years ago, I was over my head in debt, overweight and unhealthy, eating fried and fatty foods. I wasn't exercising, and I was a smoker."

So he took up running, lost 40 pounds, ran two marathons and did two triathlons, became a vegetarian, got out of debt, doubled his income, started two blogs and wrote a book. Oh, and he decluttered his home with six kids underfoot. And he makes it sound so easy: Just simplify. "it's a matter of placing limits, and focusing on the essential."

This is not a new approach to TreeHugger readers; we have been peddling the idea of green frugal living, decluttering, "less is more" for years. But Leo did it.

leo at computer image

Leo at work

I first started reading Leo when I saw a post called A guide to creating a minimalist home, which laid out a straightforward menu for achieving that architect's beloved mimimalist look without pain. After all, my mantra on my TreeHugger bio was that "the key to sustainability is to simply use less. And, the key to happily using less is to design things better." -always looking for the better thing to buy. Leo had a much better idea: Just get rid of things. Declutter. Simplify. It has nothing to do with owning the RIGHT thing, it has everything to do with owning FEWER things.

I was impressed with this post, started following him regularly and became an admirer- he really does make self-improvement sound simple and easy. He claims that you don't have to be an energizer bunny, either, but that this is the lazy person's approach, putting laziness to work for you. Don't try to do everything or everything at once but:

1. Set limitations
2. choose the essential.
3. simplify.
4. focus.
5. create habits.
6. start small.

All sound obvious and perhaps even trite, but Leo goes into detail and it all begins to make sense- there is nothing wrong with simplistic and obvious if it works.

The book is a little slip of a thing, and I must confess that there wasn't much in it that I didn't already know from following the website, zenhabits. However it really does put it all together in one spot. It is, as Leo describes it,

"A how-to manual on how to simplify and focus on the essential. How to do less while accomplishing more. How to focus and use that focus to achieve your goals, no matter what they are."

All by doing less.

The Power of Less Also available in Audiobook. You can also get a free Ebook : Thriving on Less: Simplifying in a tough economy

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