The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

4 CDs. 4:50 hrs. Tantor. 2015. ISBN 9781494508944. $35.99. 1 MP3-CD. SELF-HELP
Kondo's remarkably popular book about organizing your home follows the typical pattern of many self-help books: a counterintuitive claim, seemingly hyperbolic personal testimonies, and a case made for why you should follow precisely the steps and methods researched and recommended by the author. At heart, though, Kondo's book is an unusual thing—a relationship book about people and their possessions. Clothes, books, and mementos are all heavily anthropomorphized, and Kondo's coaching is about how to improve our relationship to our things, in part by keeping only the items that "spark joy." She extols listeners to appreciate their possessions and think about what each object "wants," whether that refers to function or how the items are stored, and gives detailed instructions on how to do just that. Emily Woo Zeller delivers Kondo's text with a quiet earnestness that suits this quirky little book.
VERDICT Listeners with an interest in home organization and a tolerance for the idea that our possessions are full of feelings and energy are likely to enjoy this book, while more skeptical listeners might be put off by its more whimsical qualities.
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