Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

Fumio Sasaki is not an enlightened minimalism expert; he’s just a regular guy who was stressed at work, insecure, and constantly comparing himself to others—until one day he decided to change his life by reducing his possessions to the bare minimum. The benefits were instantaneous and absolutely remarkable: without all his “stuff,” Sasaki finally felt true freedom, peace o...

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Title:Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism
Author:Fumio Sasaki
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism Reviews

  • Alice

    I received an advanced copy from Goodreads, and was, to be honest, skeptical at first. Hasn't Marie Kondo already turned the minimalism trend around? Sasaki's book is his own, however. He is a humble and honest guide throughout the book. Sasaki offers insights on minimalism through his own mind and life. I really enjoyed reading the book. It felt very cleansing, like taking a shower at the end of a long day.

    I took notes throughout the book, for personal reference. Here is a slice:

    * Our minds are

    I received an advanced copy from Goodreads, and was, to be honest, skeptical at first. Hasn't Marie Kondo already turned the minimalism trend around? Sasaki's book is his own, however. He is a humble and honest guide throughout the book. Sasaki offers insights on minimalism through his own mind and life. I really enjoyed reading the book. It felt very cleansing, like taking a shower at the end of a long day.

    I took notes throughout the book, for personal reference. Here is a slice:

    * Our minds are old, unequipped for technological overload.

    * You get used to things you buy. They're only new and shiny for a week or a month.

    * Why less possessions? You get less messages sent from them. Messages = the connotations. You know, that old composition notebook that's half written in. You don't want to waste the rest of the unwritten pages. You have to use it. Yes, you'll use it tomorrow for a grocery list. But there are so many pages left to finish writing in. Tomorrow comes, you forget to use it. And it still sits on your desk and you're still convinced you'll use it.

  • Trish

    Sasaki’s photographs in the beginning of this book jolt one awake to what he means by minimalism. Some people are so radical that it makes the rest of us look like hoarders. But by the end of this very simply-written and superbly-argued short book, most of the arguments we have for cluttering our space and complicating our lives are defeated.

    One must recognize at some point that whatever dreams are mixed up in purchases we have made, the potential of the ideas quickly fade when not acted on imm

    Sasaki’s photographs in the beginning of this book jolt one awake to what he means by minimalism. Some people are so radical that it makes the rest of us look like hoarders. But by the end of this very simply-written and superbly-argued short book, most of the arguments we have for cluttering our space and complicating our lives are defeated.

    One must recognize at some point that whatever dreams are mixed up in purchases we have made, the potential of the ideas quickly fade when not acted on immediately, as in when the objects are “saved” for something we vaguely anticipate in the future. In the minimalist outlook, objects should do some kind of worthwhile duty, even if that duty is to make us happy, or please our senses.

    When objects become a burden, or chastise us by their silent immobility, collecting dust, literally taking up the space we need to breathe, we can give them away, throw them out, auction them off, or otherwise get them out of our lives so that some potential can grow back into our ideas. That means even books we bought with the intention to read but which make us sad every time we look at them.

    But don’t take my word for it. Sasaki really does have an answer for every possible objection you may have. For instance, #37. Discarding memorabilia is not the same as discarding memories. Sasaki quotes Tatsuya Nakazaki: “Even if we were to throw away photos and records that are filled with memorable moments, the past continues to exist in our memories…All the important memories that we have inside us will naturally remain.” I am not convinced this is so at every stage of life, but think there is a natural life to what we need in terms of archival items. If your children don’t want it, you don’t need to keep all of it. Keep the ones that matter only.

    Note that Sasaki recommends scanning documents like old letters that are important to you because you can’t go out and buy another if you find you were too radical in your culling. However, even the archival record becomes a burden when it becomes too large unless well-marked with dates, etc. He admits that letting go of those stored memories is a further step in true minimalist living.

    The freedom one experiences when one owns fewer things is undeniable. Sasaki expresses the joy he experiences when he visits a hotel or a friend who uses big bath towels. He’d limited himself to a microfiber quick-drying hand towel for all his household needs, and enjoyed the lack of big loads of washing at home and using big thick towels while he was out: a twofer of happiness.

    We are encouraged to find our own minimalism. Everyone has their own limits and definition. The author explains that #15. Minimalism is a method and a beginning. The concept is like a prologue and the act of minimizing is a story that each practitioner needs to create individually. We definitely don’t need all we have, and the things we own aren’t who we are. We are still us, underneath all the stuff. Some people will find this reassuring; others may find it disconcerting.

    At the end of this small book, Sasaki reminds us the clarity that comes with minimalism. Concentration is easier. Waste is minimized. Social relationships are enhanced. You don’t need forty seconds in a disaster to decide what to take. You live in the now.

    The translation of this book is fantastic, by Eriko Sugita. It does not read like a translation, but as an intimate sharing by someone who has been through the hard work of paring down one’s possessions so that his own personality shines through. It is a kind of gift. Even if one doesn’t throw a thing away (I heartily doubt that will be the case) after (or during) the reading of this book, the notions are seeds. Gratitude grows in the absence of things.

  • Joseph

    Picked this up as a $1.99 audible book.

    I have been a minimalist so sorts for quite a while. In the Marines I could pack up everything I owned into two sea bags. Married, a kid, college (books) and I kind of lost it. Now with a life I could pack into a midsize hatchback (with a bike rack) I am back.

    Sasaki can physically pack up his life and move in 30 minutes. I can’t. He lives in a 200 square meter apartment. I like going to Ikea and have imagined I could be happy in one of their display micro

    Picked this up as a $1.99 audible book.

    I have been a minimalist so sorts for quite a while. In the Marines I could pack up everything I owned into two sea bags. Married, a kid, college (books) and I kind of lost it. Now with a life I could pack into a midsize hatchback (with a bike rack) I am back.

    Sasaki can physically pack up his life and move in 30 minutes. I can’t. He lives in a 200 square meter apartment. I like going to Ikea and have imagined I could be happy in one of their display micro apartments. Sasaki also ties personal happiness to minimalism in a logical discussion that is very believable. I do imagine it would be like a book on vegetarianism helping save the planet and the readers health to many people though. It is something many do not believe is natural. However, if the reader is curious and interested it is a great instructional book.

  • Justin Tate

    I’m now a minimalist.

  • Nguyễn Quang Vũ

    Đầu tiên phải nói về cái Tít. Quyển này có tên tiếng Nhựt Bổn là: "ぼくたちに、もうモノは必要ない。 断捨離からミニマリストへ". Đương nhiên là tớ copy paste chứ hiểu chết liền luôn nếu không có thằng Google Translate. Ý cái Tít là: Không cần cái gì nữa, tối giản đi mà sống ... Đại khái thế. Xuất bản bằng tiếng Anh thì nó tên là "Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living". Nói chung là không có chữ nào liên quan đến việc cả nước Nhật sống như thế cả. Cơ mà dân nhà mình xính ngoại. Kiểu làm dạy con làm giàu thì học người Do Thái

    Đầu tiên phải nói về cái Tít. Quyển này có tên tiếng Nhựt Bổn là: "ぼくたちに、もうモノは必要ない。 断捨離からミニマリストへ". Đương nhiên là tớ copy paste chứ hiểu chết liền luôn nếu không có thằng Google Translate. Ý cái Tít là: Không cần cái gì nữa, tối giản đi mà sống ... Đại khái thế. Xuất bản bằng tiếng Anh thì nó tên là "Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living". Nói chung là không có chữ nào liên quan đến việc cả nước Nhật sống như thế cả. Cơ mà dân nhà mình xính ngoại. Kiểu làm dạy con làm giàu thì học người Do Thái (thế éo nào mà hình như cứ việc gì dân Do Thái làm thì mục đích chính luôn là để làm giàu, từ đọc sách đến đi ỉa, thề luôn); dạy con tự lập thì học người Mỹ; dạy con làm cái gì cũng giỏi và bá cmn đạo thì học người Nhật. Chỉ không biết có ai học người Việt mình cái gì không thôi. Chắc là học đánh nhau với bọn giãy chết thì OK.

    Quyển này thuộc thể loại life-style, mình đưa nó vào danh sách sách "thông-não" và "tự-giúp-mình". Nói chung là nó có tác động lên não thật. Nội dung chính là tư tưởng bỏ bớt đồ đạc đi, sống tối giản nhất có thể để tập trung tâm trí vào những việc mà mình quan tâm hơn. Não con người ta là một cỗ máy vi tính 50 ngàn năm nay chưa bao giờ được nâng cấp. Ổ cứng vẫn thế, Ram, CPU vẫn thế. Từ xưa đến nay nó chỉ có vậy mà không tiến hóa gì thêm. Vậy tại sao lại để cho những vật dụng lộn xộn bừa bộn không thể kiểm soát được chiếm mất cái dung lượng não bộ, vốn vẫn thế từ hàng chục ngàn năm nay, và trở vật cản trong cuộc sống của chúng ta. Fumio Sasaki đưa ra một con đường (trong cả vạn con đường) để dẫn đến sự an bình và hạnh phúc hơn trong cuộc sống. Con đường đó bắt đầu từ việc giảm bớt đồ đạc trong nhà.

    Mình hầu hết ủng hộ phong cách này. Nhưng giảm đến mức nào thì lại là một vấn đề. Mình nghi ngờ việc tác giả nói rằng mình là một người thích xem phim, nghe nhạc và đọc sách. Nếu là người thích xem phim, đặc biệt là điện ảnh thì chả bao giờ họ chấp nhận xem phim bằng cách đeo kính thực tại ảo cả. Nhất định là phải màn hình to và âm thanh lập thể. Dùng kính VR chỉ là bất đắc dĩ. Tương tự như vậy với đọc sách. Cảm giác cầm quyển sách giấy xịn, dù có cũ thì cũng vẫn khác với cầm cái Kindle để lướt. Đồng ý là kiến thức thì chả khác đếch gì nhau. Nhưng cảm giác là khác đấy. Mình không đời nào scan sách giấy để đọc trên Kindle cả. Máy đọc sách hoàn toàn chỉ để dùng khi nhỡ nhàng, đi du lịch hoặc để đọc những quyển không bán ở Việt Nam. Cũng có thể mình chưa đủ độ tối giản. Có lẽ phải chiêm nghiệm thêm trong tương lai.

    Nhưng nói chung, quyển này (và cả mấy tác phẩm có liên quan, VD như quyển "Nghệ thuật bài trí của người Nhật" của Marie Kondō) là rất đáng đọc và suy nghĩ. Mình cũng đã vứt đi được kha khá đồ và rõ ràng là cảm thấy nhẹ nhàng. Tương lai sẽ còn vứt tiếp. Nên nhớ, chẳng có cái gì là không thể vứt đi được. Cứ yên tâm là như thế.

    Vote: 4/5

  • 7jane

    I've read a couple of books on minimalist lifestyle, and this is one of the best in my opinion. I especially like that all the photos included with the book are at the start, helps to make the book appealing. You can see from them not only single persons, but also a couple, a family and a traveling person's backpack contents (though only scarf can be counted as clothes in it, which leaves me wondering about the rest of the clothes that could be there).

    This includes the author's own pictures and

    I've read a couple of books on minimalist lifestyle, and this is one of the best in my opinion. I especially like that all the photos included with the book are at the start, helps to make the book appealing. You can see from them not only single persons, but also a couple, a family and a traveling person's backpack contents (though only scarf can be counted as clothes in it, which leaves me wondering about the rest of the clothes that could be there).

    This includes the author's own pictures and comments deeper in the book on how he made a journey from maximalist (lots of stuff) to minimalist one. He certainly has reached a satisfying point doing this, and offers now his thoughts and ideas on how to do it etc. First chapter defines what a minimalist is and what it means to be one, plus some reasons for its popularity. Second chapter talks about why we are (or have been) maximalists. In the third chapter we finally get ways to reduce our possessions. And in chapters four and five we read about positive changes that becoming minimalist has given to the author (and many others). Then there are very grateful, and unusually cute afterwords and thank-yous, plus finally two lists of the tips explained in the third chapter, handily attached at the end.

    The author benefited much from the change. No more need to compare himself to others, no heaviness of all the things, no feeling of 'my possessions = my worthiness', no dissatisfaction with bad habits. He relates to people better, feels grateful and happy easier, dares to try new things and experiences. This book is a Japanese point of view, but not too different. He's clearly a Steve Jobs fan *lol*

    I like that he stresses that each one of us can define our own level of minimalism. It's merely a method of reducing possessions to the one that are necessary and truly matter to us, and not owning just to pretend or 'someday I'll do' things. There is so repeat, but so lightly it didn't manage to annoy me at all. Everything is just said so cheerfully, calmly and not-pushy. The author clearly loves minimalism, and this letting go of things has none of the 'hello trees hello sky'-ism of the Konmari method (it is mentioned in the book, but briefly).

    I think that if you want only one book on minimalism and how to do it, it is this one.

    =

    Myself, I think I will aim somewhere in-between minimalism and the maximalist ends, for reasons. I like chairs and beds with legs (all the getting up from the floor is not my thing),

    want to own enough clothes to fill the washing machine properly (having just 3 shirts won't do),

    and my books, movies and music I prefer to have as visible things - I don't own these to show off, and do seriously cherish them; if I don't, they don't stay, no worries.

    So, perhaps I will own more than minimalism might be like, but getting rid of maximalism is perhaps the best intention for me now. Then again, who knows what the future will be like? :)

  • Paul Secor

    Some thoughts on

    :

    Mr. Sasaki writes about minimalism in maximalist manner. A good editor could have cut this book down to the length of a magazine article, added a few of the book's photographs, and nothing much would have been lost. In fact, the book could have almost been condensed to the "55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things" on the last few pages of the book. That would have been true minimalism. But then, Mr. Sasaki wouldn't have had a book to sell.

    Mr. Sasaki writes

    Some thoughts on

    :

    Mr. Sasaki writes about minimalism in maximalist manner. A good editor could have cut this book down to the length of a magazine article, added a few of the book's photographs, and nothing much would have been lost. In fact, the book could have almost been condensed to the "55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things" on the last few pages of the book. That would have been true minimalism. But then, Mr. Sasaki wouldn't have had a book to sell.

    Mr. Sasaki writes about people gaining an identity through the things they have. However, he's gained an identity as a minimalist by giving things up. In a way, it's the same deal - just going in another direction.

    Reading

    , I felt as if I was listening to a combination TV preacher and motivational speaker. Minimalism is the one true religion and you can change your life for the better by converting to minimalism.

    Mr. Sasaki writes about being an alcoholic (he doesn't use the term but, to me, getting drunk every night and going to work hung over the next morning is being an alcoholic) before finding minimalism. If finding a minimalism lifestyle worked for him, that's great, but I doubt that it would be a common cure for alcoholism, as he implies.

    This book is an advertisement for Apple and its products. I could have done without that.

    All of that said, I did find some good points in the book, and reading it did make me think about my life and some changes I could make to it.

    I know that I have too many things cluttering up my life, and as I was reading, I found myself getting rid of some things I hadn't used in years and probably never would use.

    I also thought about buying things, often for no good reason. Until recently, I owned two watches -

    one with a black face and a black band, and one with a light colored face and a brown band. (I know people who don't even own a watch, and just look at their phone if they need to know the time.) The watch with the brown band started losing time after about 25 years, so I decided to replace it. I bought an relatively inexpensive but solid watch from L.L. Bean that I figure will last me for a good many years. If I had read this book a week ago, I would have stuck to one watch and would have been happy with it.

    Mr. Sasaki also writes about valuing things that we have and not growing tired of them because they're no longer new or novel. To me, that's a very important concept. There are things in our home that I value, and clothes that I enjoy wearing, even though they're far from being new.

    The book also makes the point that by placing less value on things and by becoming less attached and involved with those things, we may become more involved with the people in our lives. That's probably true and certainly a good thing.

    A good quote from the book: p.253: "Because I don't own very much, I have the luxury of time."

    In the end, I wasn't converted. I want to sleep on a real mattress on a bed. I like to read books with paper pages, not words illuminated on a screen. (If Mr. Sasaki reads non e-book books, it's only at the library, they don't seem to be welcome in his home.) I don't want to listen to recorded music played through computer speakers, or through ear buds or head phones. I no doubt have more clothes than I need (though I'm very far from being whatever the male version of a fashionista is called), but I enjoy changing what I wear. Three white shirts (shown in the photograph of Mr. Sasaki's closet) wouldn't do it for me.

    Another Goodreads reviewer of this book

    quoted William Morris: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." That says it for me, much more so than minimalism does.

    My rating - five stars for the ideas presented - two stars for the manner in which they were presented - so three.

  • Darwin8u

    ― Fumio Sasaki, Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

    I wasn't a fan of the writing. Perhaps, I went in expecting more of a Zen minimalism asthetic. Perhaps, I am just comparing it to other design/living books that seemed to resonate better (

    ,

    ,

    , etc.). By the end of the book, it all just

    ― Fumio Sasaki, Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

    I wasn't a fan of the writing. Perhaps, I went in expecting more of a Zen minimalism asthetic. Perhaps, I am just comparing it to other design/living books that seemed to resonate better (

    ,

    ,

    , etc.). By the end of the book, it all just seemed overwritten/overhyped. So, 2-stars.

    It also seemed like a bit too self-help, too superficial, too list-oriented. I felt I was given a bunch of bullet points for tossing out things that never traveled very deep. I also (and I've seen this expressed by others) find it odd that a book on minimalism would have a list 55 items long. Perhaps, Sasaki could have slimmed that list down to 25? Some of the items seemed a bit redundant and others seemed a bit weak. Even Sasaki's explanation for they why, seemed a bit superficial. Also, I wasn't a fan of the corporate minimalism. He name-dropped Apple and Steve Jobs (also Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, etc) as if the New Japanese Minimalism existed in an app on the iPhone. Hell, it probably does.

    That all said, however, it DID encourage me to drop off a couple boxes of books to Goodwill and start ditching some dishes in our kitchen and clothes in our closet. So, I gave it an extra star (three-stars) for JUST that.

  • Kathryn

    Fumio Sasaki takes minimalism to an entirely new level. I could not live in such a fundamental environment. I need beauty and plant life; my home is my sanctuary, not just a place to sleep. This lifestyle works for him and others, I am sure, but just not for me. I much prefer William Morris's quote "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

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