Announcing “Simpler” (And a New Direction for Three New Leaves)

It’s all in the name, isn’t it?

Three New Leaves. From the start, this blog has been about three things very near and dear to my heart: minimalism, travel, and Paleo/Primal nutrition. I’ve focused on some more than others (forgive me, travel section!), but these three principles have been the guiding lines I’ve built this blog around, the three concepts I hoped could be most useful to the wider world.

They’ve also proven to be a pain in the ass.

Should I write about this one thing? What if it alienates the people who come here for minimalism? Does anyone even care about the Paleo nutrition side of things, or should I just say “screw it all!” and focus on minimalism? (The life of a blogger, in case you can’t tell, is a dramatic one.)

I thought, when I started this blog, that tackling all three ideas would be a fun way to differentiate myself from the myriad self-improvement sites on the ‘net. And who knows? Maybe it was. But I do know, now, that something important has been missing, and that Three New Leaves has suffered for its absence.

I needed a common thread. I needed an idea, I guess, to connect all three concepts — a way of pulling them together, wrapping them up, and sticking a bow on the package that made it seem less like a bunch of random ideas and more like a cohesive picture. I needed, in other words, to figure out the Great Damn Point of this blog.

Well. I found it. Chris Guilleabeau found it, to be more accurate, and in the span of a maybe three-minute conversation (which I am not in the slightest bit jealous about.) (At all.)

I met Chris at his Houston stop on the Unconventional Book Tour (alongside great people Jenny and Safan). He was in town to promote The Art of Non-Conformity, a pretty fantastic book (and just one of his many awesome products). Long after the talk had finished, I waited in line to have a brief chat with the man himself. My memory is fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure the conversation went a little like this:

Matt: I’m screwed, aren’t I? You can say it. I should have just picked one niche and been done, but noooo, Matt, you just had to dream big, didn’t you? Oh, man. I’m screwed.

Chris: I don’t think so. You’re talking about minimalism and health, right? You’re encouraging people to be mindful — to simplify their lives in order to improve them. That makes sense to me.

Matt: So screw — wait, what?


He’s right. There has been a common theme, here, one that has been here all along, and for some strange reason it never really clicked until the night of that conversation.

Three New Leaves, at the end of the day, is about simplicity.

Simplicity in life — and in stuff, in possessions, and in looking beyond all the fluff to focus on what truly matters. Minimalism, in a nutshell.

Simplicity in health — the idea that good health doesn’t have to be hard. You can build a strong, vibrant body without ever stepping foot in a gym, counting calories, or eating six square meals a day. Who knew that healthy living could be so simple — so easy?

Simplicity in motion — the idea that traveling is the best way to grow and know yourself, which is kind of astonishing when you realize that traveling is just living somewhere different.

That’s the Great Damn Point of this blog, and that’s the new direction for Three New Leaves.

To be clear, this isn’t going to signal some huge change in content or anything. I’ll still be talking about all three leaves and posting awkward photos of myself, but it’ll be with a new sense of a purpose — a new understanding of just what I can offer to every single one of you brave enough (or foolish enough!) to listen.

I want to help you simplify your lives. Three New Leaves is still about change, but it’s a change, now, for a better, simpler life.

And I’m going to write an eBook about it.

Announcing: Simpler

But don’t fret! People spend enough money as is during the holiday season, so my first book will be offered free to anyone who wants to read it. It’ll be a guide to simple living that has been appropriately dubbed “Simpler.” Consider it a collection of thoughts on applying simplicity to many parts of life: health, technology, stuff, and so on, a compendium of the ideas you’ve seen on Three New Leaves and an expansion on each.

I’m announcing it now to keep myself on track for release on January 1st, 2011. It’s my hope that it could shed light on some new ideas just in time for the New Year, which is right when everyone is bound and determined to do things better anyways.

And hey! Want to read it early? You’re in luck!

On December 25th, I’m going to roll out of bed, fire up the computer — the only time for that entire day! — and send out an email to every single person on my email subscription list. That email will be short and sweet, just a few words of gratitude from a birthday boy to every person who helped make his birthday wish come true, but it’ll also come with a link to download my brand-new eBook.

Let me repeat that again: every single person who is signed up for my email subscription list by December 25th, 2010, will receive a copy of “Simpler” that very morning. That’s an entire week ahead of the public release, which is pretty sweet, so consider this an expression of love to every single person who has deemed this little blog worth following.

So what are you waiting for? Get on this list!

Everyone else: stick around, won’t you? I’m excited to see where the next year will take us, especially now that Three New Leaves has its Great Damn Point, and I hope you’re interested too to see how far we can go.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear any comments or concerns you have about anything written here or in previous posts. Any thoughts on Three New Leaves? Anything you’d like me to discuss more, and anything you’d prefer I discuss less? I’ll do a formal poll sometime next year, but for now I’d love to hear your thoughts on the site so far and its new direction.

I’d love to meet you, either way, so please don’t ever hesitate to email me.

Stay close, folks. These next few months are going to be great.


  1. Julien says:

    I though all along that your blog was about simplicity !
    (It’s even in my “minimalist” bookmarks).
    I Should have told you !
    Anyway, I am sure you are on the good tracks…

    • Matt Madeiro says:

      Man, you should have told me! :) Haha. Oh well. Better late than never, right?

      Thanks, Julien!

  2. Safan says:

    Love the idea! I think you’ll do great. can’t wait to get a hold of the e-book. Thanks for the mention. Jenny, you and me will conquer the world domination summit next summer.

  3. David Damron says:

    Don’t you just have to laugh when you have been grinding your brain for “the answer” and then it comes “in a three minute conversation”.

    I have found, via Babauta-Principles, that if I let things be, they tend to work themselves out faster than if I get in the way.

    Congrats on finding your center. Now start kicking ass and building from there.

    David Damron

    • Matt Madeiro says:

      Thanks, David! I’ll do just that: get out of the way and let the good stuff flow from there.

      Or just talk to Chris on a regular basis. I’m sure he won’t mind. ;)

  4. Nina Yau says:

    SO excited for you, Matt! It’s going to be killer!! YEAH!!!

    This is what I enjoy reading on 3NL:

    Minimalism (you knew that was coming!)
    Paleo/Primal Diet (informative)
    Anything to do with social/health experiments (fascinating)

    But mainly, I enjoy your “simple” approach in life. I think it’s great and very positive. Many people can benefit from this, I’m sure. Way to go!

  5. What a fun story. Congrats on reaching the Great Damn Point. Sounds like you have some Great Damn Work cut out for you…

    • Matt Madeiro says:

      Always do!

      But thanks, Chris, for helping me find my Great Damn Point. I fully blame you for the Great Damn Work that now waits. :)

  6. Jen Gresham says:

    Isn’t Chris great for insights like that?

    You have many great damn points and I look forward to reading them, Matt. Enjoy your birthday! (Bacon anyone?)


  7. Marie says:

    I find your three leaves (love the heart shaped clover!) a natural combination… and strangely am looking at all 3 aspects myself right now! I call it “streamlining” which is equivalent to your “simplifying”. :)

    I’m taking my family to Puerto Rico in March, and my personnal goal is to only have carry-on luggage. I’ve also started to rethink my belongings and cutting back. I’m in excellent health, but my weight is almost at my all time high and I definitely want to make changes – thanks for the primal link and info!

    I love your writing style… simple, direct and very enjoyable. You should definitely keep writing and I think a book is a great idea. That said, I’d love to read your Christmas release but never subscribe to e-mail lists which add clutter to my inbox. I assume that you will also give us a link on your blog…


  8. Chase Night says:

    Hey, this sounds awesome, man! I can’t wait to read your book; signing up for the list right now.

  9. NomadicNeill says:

    Hey Matt,

    I think sometimes people never really sit down and consider what the purpose of their blog is (it’s not the same as what topics you write about). Is it to showcase a product, your personality, your business, a hobby or interest?

    The purpose of my blog is to simply write and share whatever interests me. Someone else who maybe wants to make money from their blog might have to think about keeping to a specific niche.

    • Matt Madeiro says:

      Hey Neill!

      That’s a great point — and one I’ve learned from many nights wondering about my three-niche system. :) Were I in this purely for business, it would have been much smarter to stick to just one thing and focus purely on that. Truthfully, though, I knew there was no way I could do that. The three topics here have done so many wonderful things for me that I just have to talk about them all.

      Business be damned! Haha.

      Great blog, by the way. I love reading about the challenges of eating Paleo in foreign countries, so do me a favor and keep talking that up. :)

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  11. Robin says:

    Hi Matt,
    New reader, just wanted to say “HI!” and thanks for the great content. My husband has been eating primal for 12 months now and has dropped a lot of pudge. My five year old son and I are joining him this month. My son has Autism and we are hoping this will improve some of his issues. Keep up the good work and thanks for the dose of motivation.

    Grok on.

    • Matt Madeiro says:

      Hi, Robin!

      I’m so glad to hear that you and your son are joining the Primal parade. :) And I sincerely hope it helps him with whatever issues he might be having! If you need additional motivation, dig back through the success stories over at MDA. It’s hard not to feel incredibly inspired when you do!

      Grok on!

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