The Longing for Less: Living With Minimalism (Bloomsbury)
One of our keenest social observers examines the deep historical roots--and untapped possibilities--of our newfound, all-consuming drive to reduce.
Everywhere we hear the mantra: Less is more. Marie Kondo and other decluttering gurus promise that shedding our stuff will solve our problems, while tech-industry lifehackers preach a ruthless time-management gospel. We commit to cleanse diets and strive for inbox zero. Amid the frantic pace and distraction of everyday life, we covet silence--and airy, Instagrammable spaces in which to enjoy it. All the while, the enduring values of minimalism become harder to discern through its branding as yet another luxury commodity.
After spending years covering these trends for leading publications, cultural critic Kyle Chayka delves beneath the minimalist lifestyle's glossy surface, seeking ways to better claim the time and space we crave, on our own terms. He finds that the origins of our current love affair with austerity go back further than we realize, as his search leads him to the stories of the singular innovators whose creativity laid the foundation for minimalism as we know it today: artists such as Donald Judd and Agnes Martin; composers such as John Cage and Julius Eastman; architects and ascetics; philosophers and poets. As Chayka looks anew at their extraordinary lives and explores the places where they worked, he gleans fresh insights into our longing for less. And finally, tracing the footsteps of two Japanese literary masters, he arrives at an elegant new synthesis of our minimalist desires and our profound emotional needs.
Praise for The Longing for Less:
“In its lightly-worn learning and serious grace, The Longing for Less functions both as a corrective to our shallow form of minimalism and as a guide to a deeper form that still has a great deal to teach us.” –Brian Phillips, bestselling author of Impossible Owls
Kyle Chayka is a freelance writer and critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, the New Republic, Rolling Stone, n+1, the Verge, Garage, the Paris Review, and other publications. He has contributed chapters to Reading Pop Culture: A Portable Anthology and A Companion to Digital Art. He began his career as a visual art critic for Hyperallergic in Brooklyn, and now lives in Washington, D.C.
Geoff Manaugh is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the author of A Burglar’s Guide to the City, on the relationship between crime and architecture. A Burglar’s Guide to the City was a New York Times-bestseller for two months, and, in 2016, was optioned for television by CBS Studios. According to Amazon.com, it was one of their “Best Books of 2016.”
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