Cait Flanders’ book the year of less describes her personal life in vivid detail regarding her addiction to alcohol, shopping, and takeout coffee. It started with an article in Forbes four years ago and (thankfully) expanded into the full book. She comes to realize that she can control herself without the need for Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar external control. I appreciated that she read the book in the Audible version. This makes me feel like I am getting the more authentic version of the book and a deeper insight into the story.
One of her blog posts stated that “we don’t buy things; we buy stories.” I know I do this. I look at a backpack or notebook or pelican case and think “I will be more organized with this item and I will be better.” This healthy reminder is like a mantra to tell ourselves when considering a purchase in the “save for later” section on Amazon.
Right before I finished listening to the Audible version I found out that she stopped personal blogging. So I missed the posts that lead up to the shopping ban and the book, but she still is posting, albeit less frequently than in the past. It seems like she is taking a page out of Cal Newport’s latest book, Digital Minimalism.
Obviously listening to the Audible version didn’t allow for writing on the pages of the words Ms. Flanders wrote, so I have less to refer to, rather my impressions of what she went through. I appreciate her love of hiking, drinking coffee, and analyzing her life in her own way, through her own systems. One would be remiss to say, “Well, she doesn’t have kids” or “Her life isn’t as complicated as mine because of X” and write her experiences of as easy for her. The point is to look at what you are doing and spending and ask if that is right for you.
In a way, her book is almost an amalgam of A Million Little Pieces and Your Money or Your Life. She didn’t go to a rehabilitation facility and she didn’t buy Treasury bonds, but her path of self-discovery to minimalism and financial freedom is presaged by those earlier books.