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7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess [Kindle Edition]

Jen Hatmaker
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (542 customer reviews)

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Book Description

American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

Editorial Reviews


“Jen Hatmaker is a model for her experiment in radical obedience to Christ. May we all be as committed to Jesus’ Gospel revolution.”
— Richard Stearns, president of World Vision US, author of The Hole in Our Gospel

About the Author

Jen Hatmaker and her family live in Austin, Texas, where the city motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” Jen’s eight previous books include Interrupted and A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study. She and her husband planted Austin New Church in an economically and ethnically diverse, socially unique, urban area of the city in 2008. They’ve seen their world turned upside down as they’ve considered what it means to ask God how to live and not just what to do. Together with her husband and their five children, they all keep Austin weird and seek to glorify God as they do.

Product Details

  • File Size: 13129 KB
  • Print Length: 243 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1433672960
  • Publisher: B&H Publishing Group (December 2, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006O34NKK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,593 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
161 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really important book written in a really good way January 5, 2012
You must read this book! Here's what it's about: Jen (the author) did an experiment in which each month for 7 months, she and sometimes her entire family fasted in an area she felt they were excessive in: media, stress, possessions, shopping, food, clothes, and waste. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that sounds all preachy and super-spiritual and hard and you don't want to read it. Thankfully, it's the complete opposite. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious, totally real-life, 100% empowering, and 0% guilt-inducing.

You must go immediately to purchase this book and devour it whole. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Do not stop to brush your teeth or feed your children. While you're out, buy Depends to wear because you will pee yourself while reading from laughing so hard.

Some other suggestions of how to read this book:
Keep a notepad handy while you're reading to write down notes and thoughts because ideas and action points will come to you like nobody's business.
Do not read this book right before you go to bed because you will not be able to sleep due to the millions of thoughts running around in your brain.
Read this book with your girlfriends.
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373 of 452 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed June 12, 2012
This book has been going around book clubs and blog circles for a while now with nearly unanimous positive reviews, yet I was very disappointed by what I found when I picked it up myself.

Mrs. Hatmaker and her friends are clearly passionate, well-intentioned people. Their church focuses on helping the homeless and disenfranchised, many of them are adopting African orphans, and her intentions in the starting this experiment were good.

But honestly I came away from the book mystified, disappointed and having failed to connect. Most of the drama that drove the book was the sole by-product of the author's refusal to plan anything (ever) and compulsive spending habits. She's sadly blasé about the simple things she doesn't know and doesn't consider important to learn (case in point, whether watermelons grow on bushes, vines or stems). It's also hard to be empathetic when so much of what she does either contradicts previous chapters or makes you question other content (if they were so desperately poor early in their marriage, why does she have so few skills in area like reducing waste, careful shopping, and basic mending of clothing in house?). It somewhat strained believability that someone who writes and researches for a living and lives in a notoriously "earthy crunchy" city was only just learning about (and terribly shocked by) the mess of industrialized food, incessant media onslaught, and the perils of vast over-consumption.

Perhaps most frustrating was the reality that she didn't actually learn any new skills or make permanent lifestyle changes. She fasted from things for a set period of time, setting arbitrary rules that fit nicely with the theme of "7" but weren't necessarily related to best practices, long-term growth or sometimes even basic logic.
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155 of 191 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Excited to read, dissappointed that I did. August 4, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book came so highly recommended I couldn't wait to receive it and start reading. But, as I started reading I couldn't shake the feeling that it was ALL about the author. Her writing style was funny, in fact, she reminds me of the Pioneer Woman in style, but the whole thing seemed so, so, pointless...and that is sad. Because, so many of us are hungry for less stuff, more simplicity, and true joy. This book left me feeling like her experiment was some sort of joke. I mean, I know she cares about the plight of the less fortunate and that is good. But, this felt more like a romp with a gal and her girlfriends to see how it would be to go slumming with the rest of the poor folk...I don't know. I guess maybe its just me. But, I didn't get a good vibe from this "experiment" at all.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Missed Opportunity August 17, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was excited to read this book after a friend told me about it. Simplifying has been a goal of mine for some time, and I was hoping this book would bring some inspiration. It did not do that at all. The writing style was casual, which is fine, but it lacked real insight. There were a lot of vignettes that didn't lead anywhere. The author missed an opportunity to gain and share real insight with a great idea. The way she wrote of her children in Ethopia was off-putting as well. The whole book came off as shallow. I was really disappointed.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, awesome book. January 22, 2014
By Netexc
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a little burned out on Christian books and teachings for the past few years. My wife showed me this article on the recent Duck Dynasty controversy that I really liked, so I clicked on the author name - Jen Hatmaker. After a few clicks I ended up on Amazon and saw this book. I've really been craving simplicity and getting away from this consumer lifestyle so I ordered Seven. I just finished it yesterday and I can honestly say t's been more thought provoking for me than any other book I've read. I have made several important lifestyle changes during the last month of reading the book that are very freeing and exciting.

I noticed a few reviews making statements to the effect that the author is self absorbed. I would tread very carefully there. That's basically judging the motives of someone's heart. Even if you actually lived in the same house as her you should be very slow to do that. I read the exact same book and to me it came across as an honest. authentic, transparent account of a bold experiment.

Anyway, awesome book! Extremely talented writer and communicator. Loved it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars we should all try this
An eye opening and sometimes funny experiment into the materialism in America and how we could break the cycle. Read more
Published 1 hour ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A must read if you need to help yourself dramatically in reducing your consumption of everything.
Stumbled across this recommended read on a blog and am glad I purchased.
Published 14 hours ago by Mountain Refuge
4.0 out of 5 stars Read it
Excellent eye opener. Serious with plenty of humor. Highly recommend for anyone who cares for our world and it's people
Published 16 hours ago by Pat Reycraft
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and thought-provoking
Especially loved the last chapter!!! Perfect for stepping back and taking stock of what we are doing and what may be worth changing.
Published 2 days ago by Elizabeth Hiett
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This book is an eye-opener and yet written in a humble, humorous style that makes it fun and easy reading while giving one much to ponder.
Published 3 days ago by Kay M. Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read... even greater challenge!
Very readable and very relevant. Jen writes like you are sitting with her in her kitchen and you are doing life together. Oh that we should all be that fortunate! Read more
Published 5 days ago by Hannah A. Bolick
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it,,
Ending the book, I'm so appreciative of how she is honest, raw, and passionate about putting God first in her life. She is contagious!
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read
Jen is witty & wonderful in her writing. This book will make you laugh, cry, and be inspired to commit to clearing some excess from your life. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Renee
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Reminder of What is Important
A book that draws the reader in from the very beginning. A gracious look into the extreme excess offered today. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Caroline Matthews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
A great challenge for any Christian who is serious about following Jesus and not just believing in Him. Written with humor, candor, and love, Jen opens the lid to a boiling pot. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Anthony Gingerich
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More About the Author

Jen Hatmaker and her husband Brandon pastor Austin New Church in Texas. They pioneered Restore Austin, connecting churches to local and global non-profits for the individual, collective, and social renewal of Austin and beyond. Jen speaks at retreats, conferences, and seminars all around the country. She is the author of nine books and Bible studies, including Interrupted, A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study Series, and most recently, Seven. Jen and Brandon have five children: Gavin - 12, Sydney - 10, and Caleb - 8, and they've recently added Ben - 8, and Remy - 5 from Ethiopia. Drop her a line or check out her ministry at

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