I’ve been a huge fan of Leo Babauta’s ZenHabits for awhile now. His combination of Buddhist zen philosophy and advise on living “less” has helped me gain some insight and perspective on freeing myself and time. When he announced he was writing a book, I knew it was going to be special. The Power of Less was released last month and it is, indeed, something special.
The Power of Less is very well written and clearly organized. At 170 pages long, it’s a pretty quick read (at least for me). Which makes the book a living testament that Babauta puts what his methodology to good use. The introduction sets the tone by giving you the reasons why “less” is more. Today’s world runs at breakneck speed. Our jobs ask us to do more, give more, and stay longer to get these things done. The answer isn’t to do more or be faster— it’s to do less. Babauta likens his process to haiku, where you have to strip the non-essential information and dig down to find the core, or what matters most. What Babauta does with his book, then, is to take you through writing a haiku for your life. Using six simple principles. Less is the new more and when you put Babauta’s six principles to work, you’ll learn how to be more effective by doing less.
Part one outlines the six guiding principles that he’s become famous for. These six steps helped Leo to create new habits that have allowed him to lose weight, clear the clutter in his home, become debt free, and start ZenHabits. These six principles are the building blocks you will use to create your own personal haiku. In order, they are: setting limits; choosing what’s essential and simplifying; using simple focus; creating new habits; and starting small.
Part two puts Babauta’s principles to the test. They show you practical ways to put these principles into your life. Each chapter centers around today’s most common overwhelming conundrums faced by everyone these days. These examples start out with: project, task, and time management; wrangling your email and inboxes; and beating the lure of TEH Internets. He then applies the principles to each as tips and tricks that you can immediately apply. This boils down to stripping away the unessential, the junk and sticking to just those few things that mean the most to you. The power of less, allowing you to do more. It’s tips like these that are invaluable to me and the goals I desire to accomplish in life.
Usually when I read a book to review, I try and read the book all the way through. That way I give the best and accurate review of the book. However, with Leo’s book, I found myself pausing occasionally after passages, to reflect on how it fit into my life. For some of the exercises, I even stopped reading altogether— pausing to reflect and write down my own answers to many of the questions Power of Less asks. As a direct result of having read his book, I’ve condensed my core areas of interest down to 5 areas and implemented (a first ever for me) an Internet time-limiting block. I’m hoping this drastic measure helps me to reclaim my time to focus on editing my first novel.
If you’re looking forward to making change without having to making huge and sweeping changes to your existing philosophies and methodologies then look no further. Power of Less is there to help assist you to do more by doing less. You can read the book in a single evening; and the suggestions and tips carried in the book can be implemented immediately without buying a single thing (unless you feel you need to).
Power of Less retails for $16.95 and is published by Hyperion Press. You can also visit the Power of Less website for more information on the book and download a the free companion eBook, Thriving on Less.