consumer detox {day 22 of 31}

I hope you know by now that if I tell you I reeeeeeally think you should read a book, I MEAN IT. I can think of a couple times in the past where I felt pressured to recommend a book that I didn’t really LOVE, but no more. If I go on and on about something, it’s heartfelt and it rocked my world in a big way.

Consumer Detox. Amazing book. I’ve read it twice in the past month. And no one’s paying me to say good things about it (I did get a free book from the publisher, but I get a million free books from publishers and don’t really enjoy 90% of them).

In a nutshell, this book is “a three-part journey from a lifestyle dominated by consumerism to a richer, simpler, more generous life. This book isn’t about living a smaller life but having a bigger vision, helping you become everything you were made to be.”

Holy cow. Can I steal that and plaster it across my blog header??

I don’t have the time to write out the eloquent, thoughtful review it deserves, so I’m just going to highlight some of my favorite quotes from just the first chapter alone.

For starters, consumerism is unsustainable. If everyone in the world adopted a Western lifestyle, we would need at least two planets to resource it, and possibly five. This is bad ecology but even worse math. We don’t have two planets. Which means I’m living a lifestyle that can’t be made available to all. (18)

And just so you know he’s not a killjoy and has a great sense of humor,

I need to say right now that the rich countries of the world probably do consume too much ice cream and definitely should invest more in clean water for all. But the stats are never as straightforward as they seem. And a comparison approach can easily lead to an impossible burden of guilt (“This is a great day out we’re having–and what a lovely park! Would anybody like an ice cream, WHILE THE POOR CHILDREN OF THE WORLD SUFFER AND DIE?!”). (22)

I’m looking for a way forward. I want to know how to live within the system but without it dominating my life. I want my consuming to become creative, shaping the economy instead of being shaped by it. (23)

Less stuff, more life. (26)

What are you waiting for? Go get the book at the library. Or buy it. Or answer the following question and be entered to win one of two copies I’m giving away.

Do you solemnly swear to read this book, the whole book, if you should be so fortunate to win a free copy on this here blog? If so, answer “I do.”

45 thoughts on “consumer detox {day 22 of 31}

  1. Pingback: Marla Taviano » better late than next year sometime

  2. Andrea

    I definitely do! Sounds so great and like something I could share with my friends after I have finished. Even if I do not win, I added to my wish list on PaperBackSwap 🙂

  3. Amy P

    I do! And then I swear I will pass it on to family and friends! If we all have the same vision, it might make Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and every other occasion less about getting things!

  4. Pingback: Marla Taviano » 4 ways to love the poor {day 24 of 31}

  5. Aimee

    I do!! Sounds awesome! I’ve been purging around the house and it feels great! Especially getting ride of those shoes I haven’t worn in….(embarrassed to write it) who knows how long! (6 years) ahh.

  6. Jennifer Ekstrand

    I do. It sounds like a good book. Our public library doesn’t have it yet, but I’m going to request that they get it.

  7. Christian

    I do! My wife and I are getting ready to move from a smaller place to a bigger one. I know it sounds backwards but we are trying to set some roots down and want to start out right with a new home.

  8. Lisa

    I do, too!
    Sounds very much in line with where we are at right now and things God has been showing (or should I more honestly say, convicting?) me on lately.
    Thanks for letting us know about this book.
    Lisa

  9. Shannon Wheeler

    I do 🙂 When I closed my business three years ago to stay home with our kids (when I had #3), we cut back in areas to afford the changes. I look back now on things I had, which MEANT SO MUCH TO ME and are actually MEANINGLESS. We made major changes to our vehicle situation (sold the “summer car” and the year-old Denali for one dirt-colored minivan (which I drive with pride), changed how we shop for clothing, how we do vacation weeks (hello stay-at-my-dad’s-cation where we make our own food – I know, crazy idea… who “makes” food, right?). But it’s been such a blessing. I love the idea that less “stuff” is really more of all the meaningful things of life. We sold a lot to go to Ukraine this summer to visit “our” orphan, and in all that we’ve been learning to let go of, I’m really seeing how much I was holding onto more tightly than I was the Lord. And that is not ever ok. So thank you for reinforcing this sense of perspective and priority to us all. It’s encouraging, because it’s so not the world’s message, so it’s a blessing to be in good company over here!

  10. Sharon W

    I do! I actually have this book (along with 26 others) checked out from the library at the moment. But, I’m afraid I won’t get to it before I have to return it.

  11. ellen

    sounds like a great book- am wondering why ‘we’ are taking stuff to consignment shops or selling on ebay or what ever instead of givng our excess to the poor or those that need our ‘stuff’. I am not going to feel bad about eating icecream lol – but I do think it is more than important to partner with ministries that are reaching those that I can not directly reach – or support people who are called to say Cambodia – we reap what we sow and when I sow into ministries like that I end up blessed to be able to support more and more ministries and even be blesssed to be a missionary from time to time.

    1. Bethany Peters

      The idea of selling our stuff comes from Acts 2:45, “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” I take that to mean they took the money they made and gave it to those in need. I had some Disney DVDs that I didn’t want anymore that I sold on Amazon. DVDs aren’t a need, but by selling them I made $20 I could give to someone to buy something they actually need.

      Sometimes it would be more beneficial to give a mom a bag of my extra baby clothes. Other times it might be better to sell those items individually and give the money to a mom who really just needs to buy diapers. Every situation is different.

        1. Shannon Wheeler

          Great questions! I toss those things around in my thoughts, too. Typically, if I know of someone who I can give nice things my kids have outgrown to, I’ll do that, and if I don’t know of anyone, I take it to Goodwill (or sell it in a yard sale to fund our missions trip), and sometimes I’ve donated things to friends who are having adoption yard sales. Lots of good ways to bless others while we get rid of the stuff we don’t need anymore!

  12. Bethany Peters

    I do! I actually have the book from the library and I’ve read it already, but I would like to own a copy so I can underline in it. And yes, I will read it again!

    I think the author does a great job of being real (like the first 2 quotes you put). There were so many illustrations he used that really made me stop and say, “Huh.” and many of his thoughts are revolutionary to me. I love the chapter that maximizing your life is kind of an atheistic approach to life. We can wait until heaven for the adventure to begin. It’s okay if I don’t get such and such done or visit such and such a place before I die–whatever is good about those things will be in heaven and I can enjoy it then.

  13. Anita K Greene

    I do! Absolutely. Have been taking 10 things per week to the consignment shop for about a year now and still have stuff to donate to the local thrift store/service agency that helps folks. After 30 years working for a national mail order catalog and 30 warehouse sales (‘it’s such a good deal’) I’ve had lots to clear out. NOT bringing new stuff into the house in the first place has been my challenge. This book sounds like a ‘must read’.

  14. Fiona

    Yes I do! I would love to read this book. I live in a “Developing Country” and even so, I still feel my life needs a consumer detox. Even in this country, consumerism is growing, and Starbucks, the latest brands, and Virgin Megastores are starting to leave their mark. The problem is that many people here aspire to a Western lifestyle…..

  15. Ruth Chowdhury

    I do! I do! (Since I said it twice, can I be entered twice? Lol totally kidding!) those are great quotes. Sounds like a convicting book that we could all stand to read.

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