The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism

The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism Review

"More than just a story of an abiding cultural preoccupation, The Longing For Less peels back the commodified husk of minimalism to reveal something surprising and thoroughly alive." -Jenny Odell, author of How to Do Nothing

"Thoughtful and absorbing . . . A superb outing from a gifted young critic that will spark joy in many readers." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Less is more”: Everywhere we hear the mantra. Marie Kondo and other decluttering gurus promise that shedding our stuff will solve our problems. We commit to cleanse diets and strive for inbox zero. Amid the frantic pace and distraction of everyday life, we covet silence-and airy, Instagrammable spaces in which to enjoy it. The popular term for this brand of upscale austerity, “minimalism,” has mostly come to stand for things to buy and consume. But minimalism has richer, deeper, and altogether more valuable gifts to offer.

Kyle Chayka is one of our sharpest cultural observers. After spending years covering minimalist trends for leading publications, he now delves beneath this lifestyle's glossy surface, seeking better ways to claim the time and space we crave. He shows that our longing for less goes back further than we realize. His search leads him to the philosophical and spiritual origins of minimalism, and to the stories of artists such as Agnes Martin and Donald Judd; composers such as John Cage and Julius Eastman; architects and designers; visionaries and misfits. As Chayka looks anew at their extraordinary lives and explores the places where they worked-from Manhattan lofts to the Texas high desert and the back alleys of Kyoto-he reminds us that what we most require is presence, not absence. The result is an elegant new synthesis of our minimalist desires and our profound emotional needs.

Title:The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism

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    The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism Reviews

  • D.  St. Germain

    The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism by Kyle Chaka explores the various meanings the word minimalism takes and has taken over time. As he notes, When a word or style is everywhere, it tends to...

  • Erika

    The Longing for Less is a fascinating exploration of the concept of minimalism - its current appeal, its impact on society, and its historic roots in the visual arts, music, literature, and design. Th...

  • Kusaimamekirai

    Im always somewhat bemused when something from my adopted homeland here in Japan breaks through in America. There was the ramen craze a few years ago (is this still happening?), and now we have Mari...

  • Kristine

    The Longing for Less by Kyle Chayka is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-November.The concept of resisting a tendency to become overly ornate and hang on to unimportant things, and, instead, t...

  • Alexandra

    A different look at minimalism - looking at examples through the years up until now. More of own story and of others. Not a step by step of decluttering....

  • Victoria Chen

    tl;dr - I could've googled for historical ascetes rather than read this compilation.Several chapters in, it was still unclear to me what point the author was trying to make. At times he seemed moralis...

  • Yannick Schutz

    A few good portraits. I came for the minimalism, stayed for the stories.I laughed and enjoyed the historical touches.I dont think I like the almost condescending tone it can come around for current mi...

  • Annie Wilson

    This book started off super strong, and I was interested in it as what I thought would be an interesting historical/sociological analysis of minimalism, but halfway through it unravels into a collecti...

  • Jose

    Overall I think this book is somewhat muddled. I don't think Chayka does a good job tying together the current personal enrichment form of minimalism with various strands of art trends that have been ...

  • Gwen

    Chayka's Minimalism: the appreciation of things for and in themselves, and the removal of barriers between the self and the world (46)This book is not really about how to help *you* long for less, but...