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  • Writer's pictureLiz W.

Review of "Love People, Use Things" by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Intro to the Review

We have all had that experience of enthusiastically starting a new book only to realize partway through that it's not what we were expecting. The purpose of the following review is not to judge whether the book is "good" or "bad." The goal is to help you decide whether or not it is a good book for you.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Does it seem like the content covered in this book aligns with what I was expecting to find?

  • Is the main problem addressed in this book similar to my own goal of what I would like to learn from it?

  • Is the style and format written in a way that will not hinder my ability to get the most value from this book?

  • Am I the intended audience for this book?

If after reading the review you can answer yes to all these questions, this book is the right fit for you. If not, well, there are plenty more books out there just waiting for you to read them.

Love People, Use Things

Because the Opposite Never Works

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

336 pages - Ⓒ Celadon Books 2021

Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things—which aren’t things at all.

Author Background

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, otherwise known as The Minimalists, have written three other books: Essential (2015), Minimalism (2011), and Everything That Remains (2014). They both were drawn to living a minimalist lifestyle after spending decades climbing the corporate ladder and chasing the stereotypical American Dream only to find it unfulfilling and emotionally unrewarding.

Their first film "Minimalism" (2016) is available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon.

The film "Less is Now" (2021) is available on Netflix.

You can find their website here.

Their podcast can be found on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and elsewhere.

What Problem Does This Book Attempt To Address?

Our society’s fixation with consumerism is a symptom of a deeper problem. To get at the root of this problem, the book addresses the mindset that leads us consumerism - a mindset that also leads to depression, stress and a sense of meaninglessness. The book discusses how shifting to a mindset of minimalism in all aspects of life can improve your overall well-being, leading to joy and contentment. These aspects of life are addressed in terms of the relationships we have with them. This includes money, truth, self, relationships, among others.


• Concept explanation: Clear

• Related stories: Many

• Data references and studies: Adequate

• Charts and graphics: Few

• Practical application: Strong

This book does an excellent job of balancing philosophy and theory with practical application. The concepts are often introduced with a story from the author’s life. The concepts are presented in a straightforward way that is clear and easy to understand. Nothing feels muddled or confusing, as can sometimes happen in books with a philosophical focus.

There is not a strong emphasis on data and references, though some statistics are included. The amount provided seems appropriate given the nature of the book. It has no charts or diagrams nor are any needed. Instead each chapter includes pictures from times in the authors’ lives related to the experiences they are sharing.

Each chapter includes reflection questions and action steps to further emphasize the importance of applying the concepts rather than just reading about them.

Writing Style & Presentation

• Tone: Casual, friendly

• Organization: Excellent

• Flow: Excellent

The tone of the book is casual, friendly, yet very articulate. The organization is superb and the content flows very well. The topics shift naturally and with ease.

While you may notice a few phrases that seems a bit overused, in general, one of the things that stands out is the full utilization of the English language. There is a breadth of vocabulary not found in most nonfiction books. Some of the ideas are presented in the form of poems, and so too, the use of words feels artful and intentional throughout the entire book.

Bringing It all Together

One thing done really well: Balancing the theoretical and practical application together.

One thing that could be better: There are a few words and phrases that the author leans on that start to feel repetitive a few chapters in.

One main thing I took away from this book was: Minimalism is an approach to life, not just an approach to stuff. When you live with intention it impacts how you approach all aspects of life.

Overall Recommendation

Who I would recommend this book for: People who feel like they are on the hamster wheel of life and are looking for a way to find more meaning.

Who I wouldn’t recommend this book for: People strictly interested in learning how to be a minimalist in regards to material possessions. I believe their other book focuses more on that topic.


Enhance Your Reading by Using a Workbook

If you have decided this book is a good fit for you, I have created a workbook to help you get the most value from reading it. Here is a small sample of the material contained in the workbook.

Your workbook includes:

  • Pre-reading questions

  • Chapter discussion questions with space for writing answers

  • Space to write your own summary for each chapter

  • Vocabulary words with space to write definitions and add words

  • Key terms with space to write definitions and add words

  • Chapter reflection questions

  • Final reflection questions

  • A condensed list of all discussion questions and vocabulary for reference

  • Reflection pages for writing thoughts and ideas

Discussion Question Preview

Below you will find a small sample of the discussion questions from the workbook.

Key Terms Preview

  • Contentment

  • Don’t Upgrade Rule

  • Emergency Items Rule

Vocabulary List Preview

Abstruse: (adj.) Difficult to comprehend

Anodyne: (adj.) Not likely to offend or arouse tensions

Apropos: (adj.) Being both relevant and opportune

... download the workbook to see the full lists!

Where to Find the Workbook

All available workbooks can be found on Amazon and are free to Kindle Unlimited members.

You can find this particular workbook by clicking here.

Your Feedback is Appreciated!

Are you a student? A teacher? A manager? A parent? Why did you decide to use a workbook and did it help you get more from the book you were reading? Please share your story so I can continue to make these workbooks a valuable resource to you and others.

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