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Book Review: A-Z Of Minimalism – A Practical Guide to Freedom by Upasna Sethi

This is a professional book review of “A-Z Of Minimalism – A Practical Guide to Freedom” by Upasna Sethi.  This book has been placed under ‘Hoarding‘ and ‘Non-Fiction‘ under Amazon Kindle ebooks.  The audience of the book would be anyone who is looking to declutter their spaces as well as their minds, and lead a simple yet fruitful life.

The catchy, simple cover of the book invites the reader to open the book to read.  The book has been organized into small chapters, which are digestible and makes the reader ponder over the content after reading a chapter.  The exercises provided at the end of each chapter are helpful.  The graphics interspersed with the text look good and provide a colorful look to the content.

In each chapter, the author provides helpful tips on what they did to minimalize.  I especially liked how the author impresses upon the reader how the quest for shopping is insatiable and one keeps buying more and more!  But, I could not quite agree with the author’s suggestion to delete shopping apps from the smartphone, as apps for grocery, medicine ordering, cab booking, etc, are a reality of today’s life, and one cannot avoid them. I presume the author’s advice is for addicted shoppers and not for all.

Also valuable is the suggestion to celebrate minimally by being together rather than making huge and expensive arrangements.  Thus, each chapter provides a very valuable tip on how to minimalize, which the reader, in general, would be able to relate to and implement in their own life.

There are several mechanical errors in the book, which could have been avoided by careful proofreading. For example, an unwanted hyphen next to the word ‘by’ in the phrase “step by step” on Page 1, unnecessary capitalization of the first letter in many words throughout the book (“Life of a Minimalist” on Page 1). These errors give an impression that the author is a juvenile one, in spite of the mature, valuable theme of the book. This reviewer recommends a thorough proofreading in the next edition of the book or the next book of the author.

The font of the Table of Contents could have been a bit larger. It would help the reader to provide the page numbers against the chapter names.  I have to mention about the formatting. There are unnecessary lines between sentences, and the formatting looks too awkward.  A sense of completeness in reading is lost because of lack of properly paragraphed text.

Overall, I found this book valuable for someone who is looking to cut-down on their shopping, life style, and in every sphere of their life. We all realize that too much is very stressful and makes us unable to manage things. Consumption has to be cut down, as it is very important for our own well-being, for the environment, and for our mother planet Earth.  In this regard, the author has done a pretty good job in bringing together the tips that the reader can readily follow.  The formatting and the mechanical errors have to be taken care of, to make the book more presentable to the reader.  Owing to the overall value that the book provides to the reader, I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

You can order the book at Amazon at the following links:

Amazon India
Amazon US




Restaurants and hotels, are you listening?

A recent report in THE HINDU newspaper said that 48.5% people of the Tamilnadu state live in cities (

The above is just to give you an idea about the population density in cities. And, the amount of food that is served to the people out there. Restaurants and hotels are a major chunk in the food distribution. We need to closely look at the food generation, utilization and wastage.

Ingredients of food like rice, fruits, vegetables, grains come from villages to cities. They are then distributed to the restaurants and hotels. The restaurants and hotels prepare the food, and deliver it to customers.  The customers eat and they waste too!

A study says that 3 out of 10 people all over the world are hungry each day. It’s a crime that we waste the food when there’s non-availability of food in some portions of the world. I have seen in restaurants and hotels that lot of food is getting wasted and just thrown away. It’s not only a cost problem, but it’s also a wastage and an environment problem, as unsegregated waste leads to environment issues.

Many steps can be taken by the restaurants and food chains in the city to prevent food waste:

  • When they procure, they carefully look at the demand-supply situation, and order only the quantity required
  • In spite of the above precaution, if ingredients are still not being used which might go waste, donate it to the elderly homes, orphanages and needy people
  • When the cooked food is served to the customer, and if the customer wastes it (which can be identified by the server as above some limit), then a ‘waste processing fee’ should be levied on the customer to clear the waste. Many times, especially in India, only money brings awareness and commitment to the people, so they will be afraid of paying penalty, and will not waste food. They will order only the amount of food that they can eat.  This ‘waste processing fee’ could be anywhere between 10 to 15 percent of the total cost of the ordered food. Notice boards can be kept in the hotel to make the customer aware that they will be charged if they waste food.
  • Ingredients can be shared among the food chains and hotels so that they don’t order stuff that is already available in some other hotel in the city. An online database of availability can be maintained between the partnering hotels so that they know among each other on what stuff is surplus

By following ideas like the above, food and its ingredients wastage can be considerably reduced.  Restaurants and hotels definitely have a huge role to play in avoiding food waste.


Wasting food….

How would you feel – if you meticulously study from your 5 years of age to your college, and then just thrown out of the circulation without recognition?

That’s exactly the same when you throw & waste the food that’s put on your plate.
The food has come all the way from earth, taking in resources like water, labour & sweat, grew for 3-4 months, got transported from the village to a processing center, and then to your city, reached the shop, and you bought it. And how wise is it for you to just dump it in the trash just because you can’t eat it? If you can’t eat it, why do you allow it to be put in your plate in the first place? Or why did you ask for that extra second serving when you well know that you cannot complete it, and your stomach is full? Think !

We have a whole lot of people who don’t have one good food a day, and here we are wasting food in our own homes, not to mention the marriage halls and big show-off functions. I saw idlis and vadas (tasty) ones getting wasted in one of the institutions which expressly discourages wasting food ! Now, that’s sad. I am going to talk to the Principal and let him know.

At all levels, starting from buying the groceries, to cooking, to having the food in the plate, think twice, thrice & four times, whether you really need it. With the kind of population we have in India, we are going to have problems buying carrot (not caret!). And when that happens, you will feel the pinch! We need to change !