Books About Intentional Living and Leading a Meaningful Life

Break free from distraction and live a life that’s true to you.

Living with intention means different things to different people, but at its core is the pursuit of a simplified lifestyle that’s in tune with your values and beliefs. For some, this means breaking free from an addiction to “stuff” and embracing a minimalist way of life; for others, it’s letting go of bad habits and opting out of the daily grind to search for something more. The following books about intentional living reveal how others have revitalized their lives by slowing down, scaling back, and pursuing a life of purpose — and teach you how to embark on your own journey, as well.

By Jessica Dukes

Love People, Use Things

By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are better known as The Minimalists — you may know them from their popular Netflix documentary The Minimalists: Less Is Now or their podcast. In their newest book, the bestselling authors invite you to imagine a life with far fewer distractions, way less stuff, and more meaning and contentment. Millburn and Nicodemus see this as intentional living, and while eliminating what you no longer need is an important first step, the real challenge is addressing your relationships to your possessions, your values, your creativity, and yourself. Rich with life lessons from the authors and anecdotes from friends they met along the way, Love People, Use Things is an indispensable guide to leading a more fulfilling life.

Everything Is Figureoutable

By Marie Forleo

Hardship is inevitable. But instead of avoiding life’s challenges, Marie Forleo offers a more proactive solution: Understand each obstacle that stands before you, then plow right through it. If you approach your problems believing there’s a solution on the other side, chances are good that you’ll break through and succeed. It’s an exercise in optimism and creative thinking that may make you feel vulnerable but yields life-changing results.

The Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less

By Christine Platt

When you think of living with less, a certain aesthetic comes to mind: white walls, neutral hues, austere arrangements. This wasn’t going to work for Christine Platt, so she created a different aesthetic, one that matched her values and needs, all while keeping what she owned to a minimum. Inspired by the African diaspora, Platt’s approach to living with intention is a meaningful celebration of history and family, and a joyful act of paring down while staying true to yourself.

Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism

By Fumio Sasaki

When he realized he was tired of constantly comparing himself to others, Fumio Sasaki took bold action by saying goodbye to his things and eliminating everything he didn’t need. The result was a remarkable transformation of his space and a radical new outlook on life. Without his stuff to distract him, Sasaki felt truly free and more focused than ever. He also gained a newfound appreciation for the world around him. In this bestselling narrative, Sasaki contemplates what he left behind and offers valuable lessons for simplifying and enriching one’s life.

Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to so Much More

By Courtney Carver

When Courtney Carver was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, one of the first decisions she made was to actively reduce the stress in her life. She began clearing away the physical and psychological clutter that weighed her down, from too much work to too much stuff. The result was a newfound lightness and clarity of perspective that eased her burden in her hour of need. This is the inspiring story of how Carver harnessed the power of simplicity to reclaim her life — a life with more space, more money, and more time to focus on her health and her relationships with those she loved.

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits

By Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin’s bestseller The Happiness Project showed us how to infuse our lives with more happiness. In Better than Before, Rubin tackles the subject of habits — those we’d like to change, those we’d like to pick up, and those we need to drop as soon as possible. With a plan backed by strong research and delivered with her signature humor and kindness, Rubin guides us through managing temptation and establishing healthy habits on our way to a more meaningful life.

Adventures in Opting Out: A Field Guide to Leading an Intentional Life

By Cait Flanders

The truth is, most of us live a life that’s expected of us. And for many, this approach works just fine. But if you feel drained by society’s demands or disillusioned by the direction your life is headed, Cait Flanders offers another way. In Adventures in Opting Out, Flanders reveals how she turned away from the established tracks of life to forge her own path, one defined by adventure and intention. By sharing her life story, Flanders provides a map to guide readers everywhere as they chart their own journey.

The Buy Nothing, Get Everything Plan

By Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller

If you’re on Facebook, chances are you’ve seen a Buy Nothing group. Hey, perhaps you’re even a Buy Nothing group member. If you are, you have Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller to thank for all the items that have been kept out of the landfill. After witnessing so much waste cluttering their Puget Sound island community, Clark and Rockefeller decided to do something about it. Inspired by the concept of gift economies, they created Facebook’s first Buy Nothing group, a digital space where neighbors pooled resources and shared items. Today there are thousands of Buy Nothing groups around the world. In this powerful read, Clark and Rockefeller encourage you to rethink how and why you shop, show you how to wean yourself off regularly buying new things, and teach you to embrace the mindset of giving things away for free.

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

By Cal Newport

If you know someone who can sit through an entire dinner without once looking at their phone, you might be friends with a digital minimalist. Just as we can pare down our possessions and learn to live with less, we can also scale back our dependence on technology. Updating the notifications settings on your phone is a good place to start. But to really break free from digital distraction, you’ll need to do some soul-searching to decide which gadgets you really need and why, and when you need them. Cal Newport’s 30-day digital declutter process puts you back in control of your devices and helps you rediscover all the joys of offline life.

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