Minimalism for Beginners

Minimalism for Beginners, an e-book written and copyright by Dawn Li.

This little book is subtitled “30 Easy Steps to Living a Stress-Free, Decluttered Life” and is designed for a segment of the population that apparently wishes to be as totally free as possible of any seeming restraints. To accomplish this feat they divest themselves of as many elements as possible that they believe are or may be interfering with this overriding desire. The presentation opens with a disclaimer, followed by an introduction, fifteen short chapters and a conclusion. It purports to establish “a liberating experience” rather than the often interpreted thought brought to mind of “an exercise in self-depravation, the sort of thing you would expect from the likes of monks, nuns and Zen masters.” Instead “the truth of the matter is that minimalism is a healthy and rewarding way of life that can help you to feel better on every level.” Chapters 1 and 2 describe the ‘journey’ and how to redefine your values; 3, 4 and 5 offer suggestions for eliminating kitchen and closet items and linens; 6, 7 and 8 discuss various aspects of shopping; 9 and 10 deal with use of modern technology; 11the garage; 12 defeating hording; 13 tackling the “need to own”; 14 how to use space wisely; 15 turning clutter into art; and a conclusion that “hopefully you understand that minimalism doesn’t mean you have to get rid of things to make you happy. Getting rid of clutter will free up more than valuable space in your home, it will also free up valuable space in your heart and mind, space that can be used for people and experiences that truly deserve that space.

5* Aptly titled, simply provided format for any interested newbie.

Happiness for Beginners

Happiness for Beginners, The Power of Positive Thinking, an e-book written, copyright and published by Ani Right.

The book provides a lengthy, all-encompassing disclaimer, followed by free book offers for reviews/comments “…to hear from you to enable me to improve to better meet your expectations”, a Table of Contents that offers an Introduction and Conclusion bracketing seventeen chapters of suggestions of how to live a more fulfilling and happier life. It seemingly follows much of the somewhat controversial mid-twentieth century minister, Norman Vincent Peal’s influential books, notably his book Power of Positive Thinking, to provide in a more simplistic manner the myriad factors required to reach one’s projected goal.

This author’s presentation does set forth much material that well could provide a beginning to the individual without a clue as to how to attain a happier and more meaningful life. The manner in which it is provided is exactly in this vein – a straightforward, unsophisticated approach that reminds the reader to be grateful for things as simple as “the air we breathe, doctors and nurses for their abilities, soldiers for their self-sacrificing endeavors, sunrise, your job whether you like it or not and even street cleaners”. Included also in the collection of things for which you should be grateful are missing a train or bus because: “You don’t know what you have just avoided. There are people who have missed their trains only to find out later that the train they missed was involved in an accident”. In other words, remove all negativity from your thought processes. Further suggestions are set forth in a homely manner that intersperses a number of platitudes and a quite persuasive pitch for the importance of gratitude. The reader may encounter some degree of ambiguity occasionally; e.g. in the first 4 chapters – a summary statement: “…in spite of mistakes, I completely accept myself, in spite of that bad condition. I totally like myself. In spite of that negative event… I totally and completely accept myself under all conditions” vs. Chapter 9: “the first step to handling negative thoughts is by setting up a reasoning parameter that will help filter your thoughts and remove any negative thoughts. How do you do that? Well you can decide to distract or shut off your mind when negative thoughts present themselves. However, it will be best to put the negative thought process through a verification process to ascertain if it (the) fears are real.” So, in such areas the reader simply must ‘pay a bit more attention to discern the proper path’.

To conclude: If a reader is looking for a definitive plan for finding a path to a fulfilling and happy life, this book is NOT for you. However, if you are completely without a thought as how even to begin to search for a ‘better way’, you no doubt will find this book helpful. Although judicious editing would have enhanced the message, the author has presented this introductory material in a totally unsophisticated, homely manner that, apropos the book’s title, should be helpful.

4* Appropriately titled book