I started making changes to my own life a little over twelve months ago, forever in financial trouble when doing research on how to make a change, one simple thing kept cropping up again and again, “STOP buying stuff!”. I began with reading A Year of Less by Cait Flanders and I’ll always say that book was what truly sparked something in me to begin making a change, I related to so much of what Cait wrote in the book. I quickly got into reading more books and researching on the subject of Minimalism and consuming less and quickly came across Stuffication.
Stuffication is written by James Wallman, James is a journalist, keynote speaker and author. He has written for news publications such as The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Observer and The New York Times to name a few. His work has also been featured in magazines such as Wired, GQ, Red and Time. His keynote speeches have seen him work with a multitude of clients including HSBC, Barclays, KFC, Ferrero Rocher, Avis and Toyota. In 2013 James self-published Stuffication before being picked up by Penguin in 2015, he followed this up with his second book in 2019 Time and How We Spend It.
The book begins with a case study on The Minimalists: Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Milburn and how their journey began. They are well known to many remotely interested in minimalism, but if you’ve never heard of them they set a great benchmark, a shining example of minimalism in the world today and a good outline for the theme of the rest of the book.
We then move onto the origins of consumerism in the world, I found this part really quite fascinating as with most of the reading I have done about consuming less, this subject has never really come up in great detail before, which actually surprises me somewhat. In the 1920s manufacturing and agricultural industries were producing far more than they could sell. The leaders of industry and the government, however, did not see it as a problem of overproduction more of underconsumption and set about encouraging people to consume more through advertising and credit.
Case studies of different types of minimalism from around the world are then detailed, from those that choose to live with the least amount of possessions as possible to those choosing simpler lives to enable themselves more time and to see the world or just to help with an illness.
The second half of the book then details Experientialism and this is what I found most interesting of all, because I don’t think I’d ever really classed myself as a full-on minimalist. I’ve got a HUGE LEGO collection so I think that disqualifies me as a minimalist straight away, but I am actively trying to consume less and be a lot more thoughtful about all purchases.
This part of the book was a complete revelation to me, it was one of those the moments where you just totally click with what’s written, you agree with everything that’s being said and it fits you perfectly. I’ve always valued experiences over material things, whenever I’ve given gifts it always tends to be an experience so I can spend time with that person and do something we’ll always have the memory of together to look back on. James devotes a large section of the book to describe a world that is coming to realise that experiences in life are far more important and how companies are beginning to catch onto this too in the way they market their products.
I then enjoyed reading about the history of the foundations of economics and the role GDP has played for many years worldwide. With times changing and perhaps a culture growing where we do consume less, then GDP is becoming a less relevant measure and instead indicators of well being are indeed becoming more commonplace.
The rest of the book continues on packed with lots more great information and case studies than I can list here, I could go on and on and this review would be huge. Overall I really loved the book, as I’ve said I totally clicked with it, it’s one of those books that comes along every so often and makes everything fall into place for you. I’m so glad I got it, I sure learned a lot from it and read it no time at all. I’d highly recommend picking it up.
Currently, you can pick it up on Amazon here for £6.49 on Kindle and £3.08 for the paperback and from all good bookshops. Grab it today, you won’t be disappointed.