Well Made

110 Longing for Less with Author Kyle Chayka

Episode Summary

Minimalism goes deeper than aesthetics — way deeper. In his debut book, "The Longing for Less," writer Kyle Chayka goes back to the roots of minimalism to pivot our modern interpretations away from aesthetic and more toward sourcing.

Episode Notes

While it feels like a new trend, every couple decades, there is a new take on minimalism. Writer Kyle Chayka has studied minimalism's many iterations over time and he argues that our modern interpretation — one that's rooted so deeply in aesthetics — is as far as we've ever been from true minimalism.

In his first book, The Longing for Less, Kyle is on a quest to illuminate the origins of minimalism. He critiques various modern interpretations including the Marie Kondo methodology, the Wirecutter-top-pick purchases, and the sharing economy. These new philosophies and practices can all be part of a minimalist life, but Kyle believes that to be true and lasting, minimalism should be rooted in supply chain — in simplifying the steps between an item being made and an item being purchased.

On this episode, Kyle and Stephan weave their way through minimalism through the lens of stoicism, Marxism, and Bauhaus. They discuss how these movements reinterpreted minimalism within constraints of the time, and how our time of "simplified" technology puts us as far from minimalism as we've ever been.