Simplify: a plug for my ‘good twin’

This book is the result of a laziness like no other. I’m as ambitious as anyone else when it comes to life, love or money; but above all else I treasure those moments when I can sit on the couch and eat Jaffa Cakes without a care in the world. I’m a lazy man with ideas above his station. If there’s a simple way of doing something, I will know about it.

My doppelgänger Rob used to work in an office until he decided to escape. Inspired by Judith Levine to stop buying anything inedible, he managed to save enough money to finance a Tim Ferris-style mini-retirement, during which he built a modest freelance operation around himself and never went back to the office.

But before all of that, while still stuck at his desk, he wrote an entire book called Simplify, aiming to excite other people about his love of minimalism. It contains such nuggets of perhaps-not-revolutionary wisdom as “do one thing at a time” but also quite bold suggestions like “embrace Nihlism”. He also references New Escapologist heroes like Dickon Edwards and Tom Hodgkinson.

Seemingly simple instructions serve as important and motivating parables: “organise your wallet”, on one level, is a simple practical suggestion, but it’s also a motivational thing about your wallet serving as an everpresent “talisman of simplicity”:

The practical implications of a tidy, minimized wallet are that it becomes easier to use and that there’s far less hassle involved the next time you lose it. There is also a symbolic implication: you can either carry around a leather-bound mess every day or a pouch of calm simplicity. Carry your simple wallet with pride. Astonish shop assistants and muggers with your pocket asceticism.

Also intriguing and funny is the method in which it was written: Rob wrote an entire book as a form of procrastination. While his colleagues were gawping out of the window or playing the games that come with Microsoft Windows, Rob used his procrasto-time to write a book.

He wrote it chapter by chapter, emailing a chapter from the office to his home email account every day. Fifty chapters. Fifty days. It makes me wonder what else could be achieved in fifty days by doing it bit by bit?

Three years later, Rob is selling his book in eBook form (designed by New Escapologist typographer, Tim) through If you’re interested in minimalism, or just curious to see the creative result of an office drone’s procrastination, you can buy it here.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “Simplify: a plug for my ‘good twin’”

  1. Alex says:

    I’ve spent the last hour or two scouring the web and my conclusion is…you (Wringham) and he (Westwood) are the same guy! Yeah??

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