I recently received a copy of Faith Janes’ new e-book, “Family-Sized Minimalism“, to review. I had the chance to look it over this last weekend.
As always, before we begin I’d like to take a second also and point you to my review guidelines. Full disclosure is very important to me, and I want you to know where I stand.
On with the review!
This was a fun e-book to read. There were just a few things I didn’t like about the e-book, so I’ll address them first and get them out of the way.
It was difficult to read sometimes.
While it’s clear that Faith put a lot of effort into the backgrounds and such, some of the odd combinations of text colors and backgrounds made the text a bit difficult to read.
Sudden color shock.
When you scroll to the next page and the background goes from dark red to bright white, it’s visually jarring.
The sections lacked visual continuity.
I correlate drastic changes in a background with a similar change in content. The background changing on every page, without there being other elements to tie each chapter together, made this book feel much more disorganized than it actually is.
This isn’t one of those super-short e-books that lacks depth – Faith has taken the time to discuss her topic in detail.
Great Photos & Art.
Aside from the comments I made above, the photos for chapter intros, the cover of the e-book, etc. were all top-notch and very nicely selected.
The chapters of this book seem to flow into each other quite well.
If you’re reading the chapter about minimalism for children, that’s what you’re reading – Faith does a very good job of keeping her chapters related to the topic at hand.
Narrative + Tips = Good!
Throughout the e-book, Faith shares stories from her own life as illustrations, balanced nicely with concrete action steps you can take to begin applying minimalist principles to your own life.
Faith interviews twelve other minimalists about how they apply minimalism specifically to their family life. There’s not a lot in this section that’s earth-shattering, but the interviews reinforce the core idea that minimalism is as individual as the person who practices it. As a side note - this section provides an example of the visual continuity that I feel is lacking in the rest of the book.
This book is, in my opinion, almost exactly what a book on minimalism for families should be.
Faith lays out how minimalism looks in a family situation, and confronts the challenges head-on.
She covers all the bases well – kids’ clutter, specific solutions for certain areas of your home, dealing with family members that don’t share your minimalist values, motivation for getting started, dealing with discouragement – it’s all in here.
I’m not going to feed you that tired old line about how this e-book is “no fluff, just rock-solid practical information”, because it’s not true (and it never is).
What this book is is a nice balance of the two. There’s enough practical information here that you’ll learn a lot, but there’s enough in the way of stories and other narrative that you won’t feel like you’re sitting through a boring lecture.
The “Deluxe” Upgrade
Faith has a “deluxe” version of this e-book that contains a podcast (a little over 11 minutes) and a PDF with a bunch of worksheets.
If you already have a well-established way of planning meals and setting goals, and if you’ve got a pretty good handle on the mental techniques needed to handle the “tough clutter” (like emotional items), there won’t be a lot of value here for you.
But if you’re a beginning declutterer, or if you could use some practical worksheets that walk you through goal setting, planning meals, and organizing trips to the grocery store, the $10 upgrade will probably be money well-spent.
Pricing + How To Get It
UPDATE – As of May 6th, 2011, the price of “Family-Sized Minimalism” has been reduced to $9 for the e-book only or $12 for the “deluxe” edition. Having originally been $27 for the e-book only, or $37 for the “deluxe” edition, this is a very substantial price drop.
Faith has lowered the price to, in her words, help “the message of Family-Sized Minimalism to reach as many homes as possible.”
For more info, go to the Family-Sized Minimalism product page!
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