Becoming Minimalist: Book Releases and Mid-Year Updates

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” – William James

It is not untypical for me to make annual reviews of the Becoming Minimalist blog. I find them personally helpful as they force me to intentionally evaluate the history, growth, and vision of this website which has become so important to me and the readers it serves. Additionally, the review posts are helpful for readers (especially recent followers) as they concisely communicate the background and most important posts which have helped shape the existing website they have discovered. Seeing as how this weekend represents the exact mid-point of 2012 and considering how much can change in one year, today seemed like a great opportunity for my first mid-year update.

The Website

Becoming Minimalist remains true to his goal of inspiring others to find more life by owning less. It continues to challenge me and its readers to seek higher passions than the pursuit and collection of worldly possessions. After all, the best things in life are not things.

The continued, steady growth of Becoming Minimalist makes these updates energizing. Often times I receive e-mails from readers seeking permission to reprint entire articles in off-line newsletters and publication. My response is always the same, “Absolutely, please do. I write for the purpose of the words being read. And the more who read the words, the better… regardless of where they find them.” My hope is the words on this website will be read widely and inspire many to find more life by owning less. And for that reason, I find the growth entirely motivating and look forward to sharing with you some of this site’s growth over the past six months:

  • Becoming Minimalist Subscriber count has increased from 12,000 subscribers to 14,200 (after less than 500 readers in 2010).
  • Twitter followers increased from 4,400 to 6,500.
  • Facebook fans increased from 4,000 to 7,350 (our biggest increase in social media sites).
  • Our lesser-known Tumblr blog, Substance Over Stuff, has grown to over 350 followers.
  • I also joined Pinterest as an experiment this past spring to continue connecting with new audiences.
  • Our book Simplify continues to sell well on Amazon (somewhere between 500-600 copies each month).

A heartfelt thanks to each of you who read the blog regularly. And sincere appreciation to anyone of you who have shared its message via blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, pins, or good old-fashioned emails. Every time you share this blog with your circle of influence (whether it be on a social network or over a cup of coffee) you open up the life-giving message of intentionally owning less to a brand new audience – an audience who trusts you far more than they trust me. And for that, I can’t thank you enough.

Thus far, the most popular posts from 2012 include:

While some of my personal favorites include:

The Book

Those who are closest to me know much of these past six months have been dedicated to the creation of a brand-new book, Living With Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness to be published by Group Publishing, a Colorado-based publishing house. The book is scheduled for a mid-August release date.

Needless to say, you’ll be hearing more details about the book and its launch in the coming months. But here’s the first sneak peek: Living With Less is written primarily for teenagers and young adults (ages 12-22) and is desperately needed. For the past 13 years of my life, I have worked with teenagers encouraging them in both their personal and spiritual journeys. One of my greatest desires is to help students realize at a young age there are far more important investments they can make with their lives than the pursuit of worldly possessions.

This book helps accomplish that purpose and approaches living with less in a way I have not seen before in any book targeting teenagers and young adults. Don’t hear me wrong, I have read countless books articulating the evils of materialism, but never have I picked up a book for students that clearly articulates the practical and life-giving benefits of owning less… until this one. I believe Living With Less has the potential to completely reframe the argument as it boldly declares the benefits of minimalism rather than the evils of materialism. Its approach is encouraging, inspirational, and practical.

Group Publishing is a Christian-based organization. On this blog, I rarely venture into specific religious philosophies. But in the book, I go into great depth. The book finds its foundation in the specific teachings of Jesus on the topics of money and possessions. My hope is that those who are not familiar with the specifics of Jesus’ teachings on money and possessions will be introduced to them, while those who are already exposed will begin to see His words in a new light. While Living With Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness is based on my previous book, Simplify, this spiritual aspect of the material will set it apart completely from anything else I have written prior.

More details will be made available in the coming months… or should I say weeks. I know full-well that I’ll need your help in spreading its message.

The Speaking

World Domination Summit. Portland, OR. I’m excited to be co-presenting a seminar with Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus at the World Domination Summit hosted by Chris Guillebeau next weekend in Portland. The seminar is titled “How Minimalism is Changing the Entrepreneurial Landscape.” And while I have presented numerous times in numerous venues the minimalist lifestyle and its benefits for all, this is the first specific opportunity directed towards entrepreneurs. It presents how minimalism can help aspiring entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams of making a living following their passion. Registration is closed.

Okoboji Lakes Bible Conference. Okoboji, IA. On Sunday morning, August 5th, I’ll be presenting minimalism at the Okoboji Lakes Bible Conference. My desire is to make the argument that Jesus was right all along when he called his followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor – that his teachings in that respect are not words to be feared or reasoned away, but are to be accepted as a better way to live life. Registration is open and free. Come join us if you happen to be in Iowa this August.

The 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

Earlier this year, I explained my rationale for setting out to read 52 books in 2012. While I did not necessarily intend to give updates on my progress (I just meant the post as an opportunity to challenge others to read more), the mid-point of the year does seem like a good opportunity for an update.

Currently, I have read 17 books in the first 26 weeks of the year. Here’s the list in no particular order:

  1. Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas
  2. Seven Days in Utopia by David L. Cook
  3. Death by Suburb by Dave L. Goetz
  4. You Can Buy Happiness And It’s Cheap by Tammy Strobel
  5. The Shooting Salvationist by David R. Stokes
  6. Thirsting for God by Gary Thomas
  7. The $100 Start-Up by Chris Guillebeau
  8. A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
  9. The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer
  10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  11. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  12. The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  13. Days After the Crash by Joshua Fields Millburn
  14. You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins
  15. Platform by Michael Hyatt
  16. Getting Things Done by David Allen
  17. FireStarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

Looks like I better pick up the pace a little bit. That is, unless I count the 6 or 7 Junie B. Jones books I’ve read to my daughter… then I’d be right on schedule.

Whether you have been reading Becoming Minimalist for one week, one month, or one year, welcome and thank you. The past 6 months have been exciting and fruitful. We look forward to more of the same during the second half of the year. We would love to have you along with us. You can subscribe to updates via e-mail or rss feed. Either way, rest assured this blog will stay true to its core message: there is more joy to be found in owning less than can be found in pursuing more.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    I have been reading Becoming Minimalist for a few months now, and I must admit, with each new post that is read … I find myself leaving my computer feeling soo refreshed. Keep up the great work. I’m looking forward to more info on the new book :b

  2. says

    Congratulations on your growing blog! I’m so thankful that it has grown because the growth enabled me to find it a few months ago. My life is hardly simple now, but I’m drawn to minimalism. So with EFFORT (funny how it seems harder to do less than more), it’s definitely getting simpler! Thanks for having such a motivating way with words and for grounding your ideas in your faith. I’m looking forward to your next post already!

    • says

      I can relate to the effort that it takes at first. The physical energy required just to remove the clutter, the emotional energy of sorting out why all the purchases were made in the first place, and the mental energy of learning to live life differently. But life s so much better on the other side. Enjoy the journey getting there.

  3. says

    I am so thrilled to read that the new book will reference minimalism in a Christian perspective. I am so looking forward to purchasing a copy for both my teen and my early 20-something year old kids!

  4. says

    So glad I found your blog. Your posts made me realize that there’s a minimalist in me waiting to get unleashed! Thrilled to explore this new world and thankful that you provide the tools to do so.

  5. says

    From your 52-in-52 reasons:
    #2 — “Life requires relationship…. And our lives are either giving life to others or draining it from them.”
    #6 — “It’ll be a good example for my kids.”
    #8 — “It’ll stretch my self-discipline.”
    #10 — “Books lead to greater relationships with the people around us…. Not only do they provide new conversation starters, they offer a new depth to our conversations as well.”

    Good heavens, why would you NOT count Junie B Jones books with your daughter?

    • says

      Thanks Debi. You sure make a pretty good case. They really are highly-entertaining. Some day I should put together a list of my favorite children’s books… that would be fun.

  6. Lori Bell says

    Can’t WAIT for your new book to come out. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now (after it was mentioned on the Happy Herbivore blog). It really speaks to what I’ve been feeling for years but can’t seem to get through to my dear packrat husband. He had an old Fiat in the garage for 20 years… and built a frame over it to fit the rest of the ‘stuff’ he hangs on to in the garage as well. He was saving it to work on with our son, who is now 13 and doesn’t care much about working on cars, much less an old beat up Fiat. Finally we convinced him to sell it, but the other ‘stuff’ is still there. I’m eager for my son to read your new book to discourage inheriting packrat tendencies and maybe help nudge my spouse toward freedom from the slavery to stuff. It’s not even fancy or expensive stuff… just clutter that sucks the life out of you and clouds your thinking. Your new book sounds awesome. It’s often a spiritual issue more than anything else and I have found that I learn things myself when I’m setting out to teach them to our son. Keep us posted!

  7. Anne in Ireland says

    Congratulations on everything! I love good news stories – especially at the beginning of the weekend! Your new book sounds fabulous – and the cover looks amazing, by the way. I am really looking forward to reading it and then buying copies to pass on to others. I live in Ireland and teach 11-18 year olds and I believe as strongly as you do that they need to hear these messages. Many thanks for being such an inspiration.

    • says

      Glad you like the cover Anne. I really like it too! I desperately wanted a cover that communicated life as set the stage for words that carried that theme forward. The designer did a fantastic job with my thoughts. I’m very grateful.

  8. says

    Your books sounds really promising! We are really trying to teach our kid the benefits of simple living, and how stuff isn’t really important. Would love to read your book :)

  9. says

    What awesome growth! I really neglected my blog, wrote half thought out articles and just generally made a mess for quite some time. What do you think happened?

    I’m back on the right path now and having so much more fun. The readers are slowly coming back and I hope to have a similar growth report (although not quite as good I am sure) in a year from now.

    The book looks fantastic and I hope it does amazing.

    Your talk about Jesus and his call to sell things sounds really interesting. I am not Christian but do have an interest in stories of the holy books and have only just started reading the bible.

    From the brief description of the story (which I have heard talked about before) my interest lies in what Jesus thought about the people who would buy all the things you sell, it feels like passing on a problem and maybe when we rid things we shouldn’t just be glad to get rid of it but should also find a way to pass on a message as to why you are getting rid of something. Anyway if the talk becomes available online I would be really interested in listening to it.

    Good luck with everything.

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing your book list. One you will certainly want to read is Dan Miller’s “Wisdom Meets Passion.” It releases in August. When it comes to making the decision to live simply, we must ask ourselves some probing questions. “What are the short-term consequences of this decision?” is just one of the questions in the TILE decision-making strategy. If what we want to do or have passes the test, then the decision won’t interfere with our desire to live simply.

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