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7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess [Kindle Edition]

Jen Hatmaker
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (835 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: 13037 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:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,271 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
214 of 241 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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501 of 595 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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64 of 79 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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200 of 261 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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96 of 128 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the how-to guide I'd hoped for March 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I can appreciate Jen's motives toward rebelling against excess. I, too, have struggled with how much is too much and wanting to simplify. I also did like Jen's humor, for the most part. Though some of it was a bit too much for my personal taste. I've never been a fan of people saying they'd "murder" for something like a food item. That's just not my thing.

I read all of the chapter on food, and didn't care to read much after that. I'm all for feeding my family healthy and wholesome food, with little waste. But I've grown so weary of advocates pounding facts about how holy organic food is vs. how processed food is evil. It often sounds alarmist in nature, which is certainly not a Biblical concept. But where she really lost me, was after her comments about how food waste brings her to tears, she later tells a story about a salad. She ordered plain, dry spinach, but it was served tossed in dressing. So, she sent it back. They didn't rinse the dressing off, they threw it away and made another. How in the world does that not contradict her entire movement?

I expected more of a, "here are some tips to simplify your life." But it's really just an author's journal tracking her progress. At the end of the food challenge month, her conclusions weren't as grand as I expected, and I was left asking what the point even was. I didn't realize this was a fast, where things were only temporarily given up. I was looking for a book about an entire lifestyle change, a more permanent one lasting longer than 30 days.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changer!
We read this for book club. It really got me thinking about how I live my life- how I spend my money, and my time. I think it's a great tool for self exploration and improvement!!
Published 2 days ago by Amy Schoenherr
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing! Very thought provoking!
Published 4 days ago by Andrea Pennington
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an awesome book! Thanks for selling Jen Hatmaker on Amazon
This is an awesome book! Thanks for selling Jen Hatmaker on Amazon! =)
Published 5 days ago by Karen Senior
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to be challenged?
It may sound crazy, but this is a call for all!
Published 20 days ago by Sybil West
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
I'm not sure I've ever been so inspired by a book. Our youth group will be using this as a blue print for our summer series.
Published 24 days ago by Cboso
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I read this book because I have been purging, praying and preparing for the next phase of my life after widowhood. Read more
Published 24 days ago by djbman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Love this book!!!!
Published 26 days ago by emily breedlove
5.0 out of 5 stars Good.Thoughtful
Lots of good stuff to chew on!
Published 26 days ago by SW
5.0 out of 5 stars Game Changer
This book has made me rethink how I live my life daily! I admire Jen for her honesty and transparency here. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Teresa Rolley
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven's humorous voice shines light into darkness
A great mix of lighthearted humor and deep sincerity tackling serious issues of American Christianity, consumerism and self denial. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Cassi Sultemeier
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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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