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Minimalism vs. Frugality: Unlocking Happiness Through Simple Living with Emrys Westacott – Ep. 25

19 May 2024

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Episode Summary:

Emrys Westacott, a professor of philosophy at Alfred University and the author of The Wisdom of Frugality. Together, they explore the intricacies of minimalism and frugality, dissecting their definitions, benefits, and potential pitfalls.

The discussion spans the philosophical concept of eudaimonia (human flourishing) as envisioned by ancient Greek philosophers, and its practical application in today's fast-paced, consumption-driven world. Emrys offers valuable insights into how embracing simplicity can lead to a more fulfilling life, both mentally and emotionally.

What You Will Learn:

  • Definitions and differences between minimalism and frugality.
  • The concept of eudaimonia and its relevance to modern life.
  • Practical benefits and potential drawbacks of living a frugal lifestyle.
  • An overview of the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement and its principles.

About Emrys Westacott:


Emrys Westacott is professor of philosophy at Alfred University in Western New York. He is the author of numerous articles, occasional short stories and poems, and three books.

His last book was The Wisdom of Frugality: Why less is more, more or less, both published by Princeton University Press. He is currently writing a book about our changing attitudes towards work and leisure.



  • The Wisdom Of Frugality:
  • The Virtues of Our Vices;
  • Thinking Through Philosophy (with Chris Horner);
  • Articles:

  • Aeon: Why The Simple Life Is Not Just Beautiful, It’s Necessary:
  • Humanities: Philosophers Who Like Stuff
  • Think: How Not To Accuse Someone Of Prejudice
  • Philosophy Now: The Moral Countenance Of Art
  • Philosophy Now: Does Being Under Surveillance Make Us Morally Better

      Memorable Quotes:

      • "The values of what matters most in life are not the things that necessarily cost a huge amount of money or that exhibit one's social status."
      • "Happiness, or flourishing, for ancient philosophers like Aristotle, was really an objective matter of whether someone was living a good life."
      • "For the majority of people, it's more important to focus on the quality of one's relationships and experiences rather than things like wealth and luxury."
      • "One value that an emphasis on frugality and simple living has is that it leads you away from strutting your stuff and displaying your wealth, your status, your achievements."

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