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A few people on other websites have commented on the irony of me selling a book The Power of Less about working and doing and living with less, saying something along the lines of:. And how to live frugally. So how do I reconcile selling a book with my philosophy of wanting things to be free, and advocating living frugally?
An ebook such as Zen To Done can be free to distribute and copy and re-use see my Uncopyright but I can still sell it. I believe that with digital technology the way it is, it is impossible or at least highly impractical to stop the spread of information — whether it be books, movies, music, blogs, photographs, or what have you — the way that this information distribution has been controlled and policed in the past.
It will get more and more impractical as things become more and more digital i. I believe that people actually benefit from information being free again, not free as in costs nothing. More people have access to information than ever before, in all of human history.
We are more informed, more able to make good decisions. We have more informed discussions. We are better able to evaluate the actions of our government, of corporations, of anything in society, with more access to information. I believe that art, in all its forms, and creative people of all types, benefit tremendously from free information.
When a writer for example is able to take the work of another writer and use it and modify it and build upon it in his own work, the artist benefits and so does the world. Everyone wins. I believe that artists of all types can make a living even if they give away their info, or release it into the public domain. Corporations might suffer, especially the media giants who have been making billions off proprietary media, but artists will still be able to make a living. Today, publication and distribution is possible without a big publisher, although publicity is still difficult without reliance on media industry and without a big publisher.
But imagine a world where the author publishes and releases his book into the public domain. An author can make a real name for himself if a book does well. His website such as Zen Habits! He can then sell ads on the website and make money. His future books will be in greater demand. You can see what I mean: free distributing of a book might not make you a lot of money directly, but can lead to money in the future.
This is true not only of authors but of all artists. And so this leads to the question: why am I selling The Power of Less? How does this reconcile with my philosophy? Great question. Several points:. An excellent question. I often talk about frugality, and living with less, and getting away from the consumer culture. So why buy a book, then?
You can borrow it from a library, from a friend. Or you can buy it used. Or you can not buy it or read it at all. Buying some things can actually help. I hope that my book can be that for some of you. For others, read it and pass it along. I hope my book will help people, will make a difference in their lives. I believe The Power of Less will change things, if you put them into action.
And the book is designed to be put into action easily. Someday, maybe in the near future like later this year, or next year. It would still be for sale as a paper book, and I could even sell it at a discounted rate here on Zen Habits. But it would be released into the public domain in my dream scenario , meaning people could spread it around after they buy it, and re-use it.
I believe that it would actually increase the sales of the book … because as I said before, if a book is good people will spread it widely … and the wider it spreads, the more physical copies will be sold, if my theory holds true. I believe it to be so. Only time will tell what model of distribution will work for information, but I believe things have to change, and inevitably will.
To read more about The Power of Less, check out the website … or order it now:. Then, Do Even Less. Follow me on Twitter. Why Authors, Musicians, Photographers, and All Artists Win With Free I believe that artists of all types can make a living even if they give away their info, or release it into the public domain.
So how does the author make money? Several ways: He can charge for the digital book on his site. Sure, you could get it for free elsewhere, but there will always be people who pay for it, if only to show thanks for the great book. This is what I do with Zen To Done, and it works.
He can sell a hard copy of the book. Many people will want to give the book as a gift, and who wants to email a gift to someone?
He can sell services. If the book does well and spreads, people will want more from the author. They might want him to help them implement ideas from the book. They might want him to do speaking engagements, or seminars, or teleconferences. They might hire him as a consultant. You can make a lot of money doing these things, and if you release a great book, there will be demand. Several points: I decided to go with a traditional publisher only because they have a much better distribution channel, especially when it comes to physical bookstores, which at this point are still pretty popular that might change in the future.
First, many of the ideas in the book are here on Zen Habits I go deeper into them in the book , but spread out throughout the site.
Third, I want to distribute the entire book freely, in the future. More on this below. What About Frugality?
The Power of Less: Changing Behavior with Leo Babauta
Josh Kaufman is the bestselling author of books on business, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, productivity, creativity, applied psychology, and practical wisdom. In The Power of Less , Leo Babauta masterfully teaches the fine art of focusing on the essential and eliminating the unnecessary. Instead of paying attention to everything, simplicity is choosing to pay attention only to things that matter the most, and ignoring the rest. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, focusing on the essential helps you accomplish the things that matter most. That requires making decisions: constantly choosing what not to focus on or care about at that particular moment in time. Most people avoid setting limits, which is a mistake. You must set limits for yourself.
The Power Of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential
Read in: 4 minutes Favorite quote from the author:. This will not only make you a lot more productive, it will also make you a lot happier. If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want. Download PDF. Yes, there are a few questions in this summary to help you figure out what your priorities are.
The Power Of Less Summary
Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or entrepreneurship book. The author of the blog, Leo Babauta, applies a very simple filter to countless aspects of life: how can we break it down and make it simpler? Reading the book, it comes off like a series of eighteen interconnected and exceptionally polished blog posts. Part I: The Principles Quite frankly, I found the first half of the book much less powerful than the second half.
Review: The Power of Less
Author of new book The Power of Less Leo Babauta advises readers to simplify and focus only on the essential. Today he stopped by to tell us more about his timely message. Lifehacker: In a culture that encourages the acquisition of things like gadgets and the idea of "living life to the fullest," what kind of paradigm shift is required to move from the "more is more" to "less is more" ethos? How does one shift their life into working with less without feeling deprived or limited?