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minimalism in a nerdy world

The pressure of an empty shelf

minimalism comes to a book shelf

I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. … I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible.

-The Matrix

During my purge/minimizing I often shuffled my stuff around to get it unstuck in my mind as “a collection.”

My bookshelves, recently literally over-flowing, started having spaces.

And then the light broke through the wall of stuff and there it was.

An empty shelf.

The desire and temptation to fill that shelf was immense. I had put space at such a premium in my office that it seemed obscene to leave a whole shelf not serving a purpose.

So I gave it a purpose.

Dust catcher.

I intentionally left the shelf open so it could be a reminder of things to come.

Space. Clarity. Openness.


What would that shelf hold? A treasured object that has been lost in the noise? A new spot for my new interest in records?

That shelf became a symbol of my plan and journey.

Removing the clutter to get to a place I had room for something new to enter.

Sometimes you have to make your life like an empty shelf. When a space opens up, don’t rush to fill it.

Let the dust settle first.

Minimalist Collector video: Minimalism milestone

Are you afraid of missing out, or afraid of not being missed?

Well the phone don’t ring ’cause my friends ain’t home.

-Bryan Adams “When You’re Gone”

The most addictive part of social media, smart phones, email, and our interconnection is what is called the fear of missing out. FOMO for short.

The world seems to be spinning faster and faster, and we race to stay up to the minute, connected, onside, informed.

But the hard truth is that when we forget to charge our phone, or get stuck in a meeting, or take a quick nap, the world spins on without us.

That “news” you missed is really 85 tweets all linking to the same article.

That phone call that went to voicemail was a recorded sales call.

And those folks you thought were your friends did not think of you once while you were catching some z’s.

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minimalism v. The Endowment Effect

I am the most offensively possessive man on earth. I do something to things. Let me pick up an ashtray from a dime-store counter, pay for it and put it in my pocket—and it becomes a special kind of ashtray, unlike any on earth, because it’s mine.

-Ayn Rand “The Fountainhead”

It is always interesting to me when diverse schools of thought converge in slow living. Listening to one of my favorite podcasts, NPR’s Planet Money, I stumbled upon the work of Richard Thaler, recent winner of the Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

Thaler, the founder of the field  of behavioral economics, primarily studies why everybody makes economic decisions that are not in their best interests, and do so consistently.

The theory that sparked my mind is what Thaler calls ‘the Endowment Effect.’ Thaler and his colleagues have repeated experiment after experiment showing that the simple fact of ownership of a Thing increases the financial value we ascribe to the Thing.

This pattern—the fact that people often demand much more to give up an object than they would be willing to pay to acquire it—is called the endowment effect

-Richard Thaler

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Minimalist Collector video: minimalism and economic theory

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