The Minimalists

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The Minimalists
Joshua and Ryan speaking in 2014

Joshua and Ryan speaking in 2014
Occupation Authorsfilmmakerspodcasters
Genre Minimalismsimple livingintentional livingself-helpmemoir
Notable works
  • Essential: Essays by The Minimalists
  • Everything That Remains: A Memoir
  • Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
  • Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life

The Minimalists are American authorspodcastersfilmmakers, and public speakers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. The duo began pursuing the minimalist lifestyle in 2010. After experiencing significant improvements in their quality of life as a result of adopting and practicing the tenets of minimalism, the pair launched a website in December 2010 to share their experiences.[1] In late 2012 the pair moved from their hometown of Dayton, Ohio, to a cabin in Philipsburg, Montana, to focus on their writing. After four months in Philipsburg, they moved to Missoula, Montana. In late 2017 they moved from Missoula, Montana, to Los Angeles, California, to focus on the creation of a studio to further spread their message of simple and intentional living.[2]


Millburn and Nicodemus created their website in the hopes they could help others through writing and posting essays discussing their personal journeys adopting and practicing the tenets of minimalism. Topics on the website include simple living, health, relationships, and personal growth.[3]The site now has an annual audience of more than four million readers,[4] and it has been featured in The Wall Street Journal,[5] Time, and The Guardian and on NBCFOXNPRCBCCBS This Morning,[6] and Today. In keeping with the tenets of minimalism, the website displays their essays in a simple layout and has no ads.

Asymmetrical Press[edit]

Millburn and Nicodemus, with author and traveler Colin Wright, co-founded Asymmetrical Press, an independent publishing company and author community, in 2012.[7] Asymmetrical Press currently publishes works by The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn, Colin Wright, Josh Wagner, Shawn Mihalik, Robyn Devine, Chase Night, Robert Brown, and Kelli Donley.

Joshua Fields Millburn[edit]

Joshua Fields Millburn

Joshua Fields Millburn (born June 29, 1981 in Dayton, Ohio)[8] is an American author,[9] writing instructor,[10]and minimalist.[11] He lived in Dayton, chasing the American Dream by climbing the rungs of the corporate America ladder, until he quit his corporate executive job in 2011. “Blindsided by the loss of his mother and his marriage in the same month, Millburn started questioning every aspect of the life he had built for himself. Then, he accidentally discovered a lifestyle known as minimalism…and everything started to change.”[1] He states, “Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.”

Ryan Nicodemus[edit]

Ryan Nicodemus

Ryan Nicodemus (born October 23, 1981 in Knoxville, Tennessee)[12] is an American author, personal mentor,[13] and minimalist.[11] Ryan’s family moved several times but eventually settled in Lebanon, Ohio, when Ryan was eight years old. Ryan began pursuing minimalism after he was laid off from his job as a corporate executive.[1]

Critical reviews[edit]

  • “Like Henry David Thoreau, but with Wi-Fi.”—Boston Globe[14]
  • “Paring down, branching out.”—Chicago Tribune[15]
  • “A better life, by having fewer possessions.”—Seattle Times[16]
  • “Perhaps it’s a good time to sit back and look at how we can all live with less.”—USA Today[17]
  • “The path to a richer, if less cluttered, life.”—Globe & Mail[18]
  • “Helping us end our obsession with stuff.”—LA Weekly[19]



  • Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists[1]
  • Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life[20]

Essay collection[edit]

  • Essential: Essays by The Minimalists[21]


  • As A Decade Fades[22]


Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things[edit]

In 2013, Millburn and Nicodemus approached film director Matt D’Avella of Catalyst to join them on their upcoming world tour to promote their newest book, Everything That Remains. D’Avella had filmed the promotional video for the book earlier that year, and Millburn and Nicodemus wanted him to film their experiences and interactions on the tour so they could include the footage in a future project.

In 2014, D’Avella accompanied Millburn and Nicodemus on several legs of the tour, filming their travels, their events, and their interviews with contemporaries and members of the media. As they periodically reviewed the dailies, they all agreed a narrative was beginning to emerge. It was then that they decided to form a partnership to develop the footage into a documentary film.

In 2015, D’Avella completed the post-production of the film with assistance from the design firm, SPYR.

In 2016, the partnership of The Minimalists, Catalyst, and SPYR released the film theatrically in May as Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. They subsequently released it on iTunesAmazonGoogle Play, and Vimeo in August, and on Netflix in December.

Listing of authors and the books that were cited in the film:

  • Dan Harris, 10% Happier
  • Patrick Rhone, Enough
  • Tammy Strobel, You Can Buy Happiness (And It’s Cheap)
  • Colin Beavan, No Impact Man
  • Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
  • Joshua Becker, Clutterfree With Kids
  • Christine Koh, Minimalist Parenting


  • 2018: The Minimalists will visit Australia and New Zealand as part of their Less Is Now tour.
  • 2017: The Minimalists made tour stops in the United States and Canada as part of their Less Is Now tour.
  • 2016: The Minimalists, along with producer “Podcast Shawn” Harding, launched their podcast, The Minimalists Podcast, in January. The Minimalists made 15 tour stops in the United States and Canada May–June to promote the theatrical release of their documentary film, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. They were joined on several stops by the film’s director, Matt D’Avella, and members of the film’s design firm, SPYR.
  • 2015: The Minimalists made over 35 tour stops in southwestern Canada and the western United States May–June to promote their newest essay collection, Essential, and to promote the newest works by the authors on the Asymmetrical Press roster: Considerations by Colin Wright, Shapes the Sunlight Takes by Josh Wagner, and Particles by Shawn Mihalik. The tour, WordTasting, also featured performances by singer-songwriter Skye Steele from his latest album, Up from the Bitterroot.
  • 2014: The Minimalists made 100 tour stops in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia[23] to promote their book, Everything That Remains.
  • 2011-2013: The Minimalists made 51 tour stops in the United States and Canada.[24]


  1. Jump up to:a b c d Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan (January 1, 2014). Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists. Asymmetrical Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-1938793189.
  2. Jump up^ Nicodemus, Joshua Fields & Ryan. “About Joshua & Ryan”. The Minimalists. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  3. Jump up^ Bowers, Annie (2011-12-20). “Do As The Minimalists Do”Dayton City Paper. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  4. Jump up^ Christenson, Stephanie Taylor. “Could You Be a Minimalist?”. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  5. Jump up^ Beck, Melinda (June 12, 2011). “Shop ‘Til you Stop: How to Treat Compulsive Spending”Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  6. Jump up^ “De-cluttering your way to happiness” CBS This Morning, Retrieved July 25, 2013
  7. Jump up^ Vince Devlin, “Minimalists start unique publishing company in Missoula”Missoulian, February 24, 2013
  8. Jump up^ “Amazon Author Page”. Amazon. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  9. Jump up^ Millburn, Joshua Fields. “Joshua Fields Millburn – Author”. Joshua Fields Millburn. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  10. Jump up^ “General Writing Class”. The Minimalists. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  11. Jump up to:a b Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan. “The Minimalists”. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  12. Jump up^ Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan. “About Joshua & Ryan”. The Minimalists. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  13. Jump up^ Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan. “Private Mentoring Sessions with Ryan Nicodemus”. The Minimalists. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  14. Jump up^ Plumb, Taryn (December 19, 2012). “Like Henry David Thoreau, but with Wi-Fi”Boston Globe. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia (January 1, 2013). “Paring down, branching out”Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  16. Jump up^ Brodeur, Nicole (December 16, 2012). “Ryan Nicodemus: ‘We’re not soulless; we’re not against having fun'”Seattle Times. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  17. Jump up^ Wilson, Craig (November 20, 2012). “Pull up a box, have a minimalist holiday”USA Today. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  18. Jump up^ Posner, Michael (December 13, 2012). “Does a less-is-more life bring happiness?”The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  19. Jump up^ Friedlander, Whitney (December 17, 2012). “How Two Guys Known as ‘The Minimalists’ Are Helping Us End Our Obsession With Stuff”LA Weekly. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  20. Jump up^ Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan (2011). Minimalism : live a meaningful life. Columbia, Mo.: Asymmetrical Press. p. 138. ISBN 978-0615648224.
  21. Jump up^ Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan (July 27, 2012). The Minimalists: Essential Essays. Columbia, MO: Asymmetrical Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-1938793011.
  22. Jump up^ Millburn, Joshua Fields (2013). As a Decade Fades. Columbia, Mo.: Asymmetrical Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-1938793028.
  23. Jump up^ “The Minimalists”. Eventbrite. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  24. Jump up^ “Previous Tours”. Retrieved March 5, 2014.

External links[edit]


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