The Power of Less, by Leo Babauta

June 1, 2019

We live in an age of overwhelm. Internet, our phones, TV, radio, advertising, email, and a thousand other communication channels—we receive thousands of messages a day. But our ability to absorb more messages has not evolved in hundreds of years.

Leo Babauta was a very normal man. Married with six kids, he was also a smoker, forty pounds overweight, deeply in debt, and blindingly stressed out.

Today, however, his blog is “one of the Top 25 blogs and Top 50 websites in the world.” Why does he receive 1,000,000 visitors per month? And how did he drop the weight, quit smoking, erase his debt, and save up?

He discovered The Power of Less.

This short book is elegant and simple. One by one, Babauta tackles the problems of our culture in these chapters:

  1. Simple Goals and Projects
  2. Simple Tasks
  3. Simple Time Management
  4. Simple Email
  5. Simple Internet
  6. Simple Filing
  7. Simple Commitments
  8. Simple Daily Routines
  9. Declutter Your Work Space
  10. Slow Down
  11. Simple Health and Fitness

Babatua’s steps are concrete and specific. And you can start where you like. But before you do anything, read the first five chapters (40 fast pages), which outline his Principles:

* Set limits.

* Choose the essential.

* Simplify.

* Focus.

* Create Habits.

* & Start Small.

What I love most about this book: Babatua takes the overwhelming complexity we all struggle with and dismantles it until we are left with simplicity itself.

Morning Rituals.

If you’re like me, you start your day with good intentions. Before I sleep, I have my game plan:

* Get 7-7.5 hours of sleep. Move ahead ten squares.

* When I awake, review my dreams. Move ahead three squares.

* Tap into my subconscious while I still can and ask the big questions about life. Move ahead eight squares.

* Pray. Move ahead fifteen squares.

* Take advantage of the fact that I already prepped everything I need for a smooth morning routine, from clothes laid out to breakfast ready to go. Move ahead nine squares.

* Peacefully begin my day with the to-do list I’ve written before. Move ahead twelve more squares, and win the game!

But when I’m weak, I reach for my phone and check email. AnD ThAt sCraMbULz mY BrAIn.



+ How to wake up peacefully.

+ What I dreamed about.

+ What Big Questions about Life I was discerning.

+ Prayer.

+ Basically, anything where my thoughts & heart were in a state of grace, and I was fully me before the world came crashing in.

Instead, when I screw up, I immediately retrieve my iPhone and pummel myself with dozens of other voices. I like my iPhone, but I imagine a week of no internet until noon might bring a whole new level of peace and productivity into my life.

Enough Solutions. Why Babauta Wrote This Book.

“For many people these days, work is a constant stream of emails, of news and requests, of phone calls and instant messages, of papers and notes and files. The day starts with an inbox full of emails, and ends with an inbox just as full, and each email represents a request for information or for actions that we don’t have time to fulfill. We are drinking form a fire hose of information, with no idea of how to reduce the flow.

“It’s stressful and wasteful. And if we stop to think about it, it’s not how we want to spend our lives.”

So true! I don’t know about you, but I long to:

* Enjoy face-to-face interaction with family and friends.

* Move my body frequently.

* Engage in hobbies and challenges; to put my mind in high gear.

* Be more creative.

* Have something, someone, or The Big Someone melt my heart.

Instead, our lives contain too much busywork. Unnecessary busywork. Busywork is like being nibbled to death by ducks. Babauta shows us the way out.

Everything I’ve read about Peak Performers (top athletes, inventors, businesspeople, creators) shows: they’ll all slowing down so as to achieve more at the highest of levels.   Human beings actually aren’t adapted to the frenetic, cortisol-spiking society we’ve inherited—and the highest achievers realize that. It turns out, you really can have everything that allows you and the people around you to thrive:

* Family;

* Love;

* Deeply meaningful work where you do things that matter;

* Recreation; &

* Better health.

            News You Can Use.

Save Time: Any of Chapters 7 to 16, listed above, will add hours of joy to your day—and maybe a whole day or two to your week.

Save Money: Once you get the hang of choosing the essential (Chapter 3), this will spill over into your spending rather easily.

Reduce Stress: That’s what all 170 pages of this book are about!

I hope that the average person will get this message, and won’t keep getting concussed by 100 emails per day and a tsunami of other trivia. When the average person’s thoughts are lost in the overwhelm, the rest of us are poorer because we never enjoy their deepest presence or contribution.

For their sake, I recommend that you read The Power of Less, begin to simplify your own life, reduce your own cortisol levels—and then pay it forward.

link to The Power of Less.

Little Green Book is a newsletter written by Tim Wuebker.  Once a week, Tim describes an astonishing book, a real game changer, and/or a riveting read.  Not only are these books thrilling, sometime they save you time, save you money, and increase your peace. 

No author paid to receive a review.  Tim wrote this for free because he loves these books. 

The greatest compliments you can give Little Green Book and Tim is to subscribe to this newsletter, and then share it with anyone whom you think would find it fun or useful.  

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never enjoy their deepest presence or contribution.

For their sake, I recommend that you read The Power of Less, begin to simplify your own life, reduce your own cortisol levels—and then pay it forward.

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