Josh Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus have three words for you:

Less is more.

Best buddies growing up in Ohio, the two achieved corporate and financial success before nearly suffocating on the trappings of their upwardly mobile, toy-centric lifestyle. Ending up as what their publicist calls "wasteful twentysomethings,'' they decided to downsize the hell out of their unhappy and spiritually bankrupt lives.

They quit their 80-hour-a-week jobs, sold their homes, dumped most of their material possessions and then embraced a life with "less money, less stuff, and more meaning.'' Both of their marriages ended as well, and neither has children.

Now The Minimalists, as they call themselves, and their burgeoning online empire of books, essays, blog posts and podcasts, are coming to preach their gospel in the belly of the always-on, materialistic beast -- Silicon Valley.

"We grew up fairly poor and just figured that money would make us happy,'' Millburn said in a telephone interview recently as he pitched The Minimalists' latest book, Everything that Remains, , which they will sign at 7 p.m. Mondayat the Barnes & Noble on Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose. "But by the time we reached our late 20s, working for the same large telecom company in the Midwest, we started looking around at our ostensible success. And what was supposed to be making us happy wasn't.''

While the two 32-year-old Montana residents say they still live modestly, making relatively little money and doing their current 100-city tour in a 12-year-old Toyota Corolla, their less-is-more mantra has resulted in a new sort of abundance: With 2 million people following their blog, more than 11,000 Twitter followers and a slew of TV appearances and newspaper articles about their startup, Millburn and Nicodemus seem to have struck a chord in a world consumed by consumerism.

They've written four books, including their first which was called "Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life,'' exploring the minimalism movement and how it can benefit health and personal relationships. There's a documentary in the works, and the two guys host meetups all over the country where like-minded souls try to simplify and make sense out of their harried lives.

In city after city, the two have shared their story of how their personal achievements in the corporate world felt more and more like a straitjacket. For Millburn, it was the loss of his mother and the end of his marriage in 2009 that got his attention.

"I'd been focused on the accumulation of stuff versus on what was truly important in my life,'' said Millburn, the more outgoing of the two. "I was living the American Dream -- big house, luxury cars, closets filled with expensive clothes and suits, all sort of tech gadgets. But there this lingering discontent -- I realized I was trying to fill this void inside me with stuff. But the more stuff I got, the bigger the void felt.''

Nicodemus was going through a similar bout of soul-searching at the same time. So he decided to hold what he called "a packing party.''

"I packed up everything in my condo as if I were moving, put it all into one room, then I unpacked things day by day as I needed them,'' he said. "First, I unpacked my toothbrush. Then my bed and sheets, then some work clothes. I'd been confused and depressed, but through the process, I started to learn what was really important to me. It was all very cleansing.''

By the time he was done, Nicodemus had discarded 80 percent of his belongings.

Next came their first book, as the two wrote about how a minimalist life could improve your health and relationships. "As I started to get rid of stuff,'' Nicodemus said, "I also starting thinking about the people I'd been hanging out with, often people who could help me get that next promotion. That all started to change as well.''

On a road trip, they realized that Montana would be a perfect place to, as Millburn says, "do the writing thing.'' So they lived in a cabin for four months, then moved into a rental in Missoula in 2013. Along with the tour and the blogging and the meetups, The Minimalists are teaching writing classes and doing mentoring. And while the books have done well, he said, their expenses are also much more manageable.

"The best part of being a minimalist,'' Millburn said, only half-jokingly, "is that you don't have many bills anymore. But in the end, minimalism is not simply about getting rid of stuff -- it's about making sure that everything you do and bring into your life truly adds value to it.''

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689 or follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc

The Minimalists
When: Monday, March 31, at 7 p.m.
Where: Barnes & Noble, 3600 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose
Cost: Free