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How Much is Enough? Paperback – February 1, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Why is it that in the face of unprecedented prosperity, so many of us feel discontented?" asks Simon, founder and past president of Bread for the World. In this hard-hitting and well-written book, Simon encourages North American Christians to examine how their materialistic culture has stunted their compassion and driven a wedge between themselves and God. Drawing on writers such as Richard Foster, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Johann Christoph Arnold, Simon speaks compellingly of "the poverty of riches" and "the weakness of power." This book does not make simplistic arguments about money being evil, but instead cautions about what money can do to corrupt people if they are not vigilant and rooted in God's kingdom. One especially insightful chapter explores the titular question of how much is enough, arguing that while there are no easy formulas, there are strong reasons for Christians to "stay behind the Joneses." This book stands with others by Tom Sine, Ronald Sider and Tony Campolo in arguing that social responsibility is just as important a value for Christians as personal holiness.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Why, in the face of unprecedented affluence, do so many feel discontented? Because possessions may capture the heart, but they cannot nourish the soul. How Much Is Enough? maintains that only the source of joy can give us joy. It points the way to release from captivity to things and to the joy of following Christ.

"This is one of the easiest books you will ever read-and one of the most difficult. Though there is not a word here that will be unintelligible to anyone, the challenge that Art Simon presents to every reader will leave you gasping for breath at times and at other times may prompt you to hurl the book across the room. Within the context of the United States of America at the beginning of the twenty-first century, this book may even strike some as a kind of obscenity-how dare he speak to us this way? It is, in fact, a sign of contradiction for our age, the very thing we don't want to know about, the only way that can bring us peace."
Thomas Cahill, author of How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the Jews, and Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus

"Direct, concrete, deeply rooted, and compelling."
Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Art Simon deepens our trust in God's bountiful grace and thereby empowers us to apportion our wealth more openhandedly. Share this book with everyone you know-the world can't wait for justice!"
Marva J. Dawn, author of Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society

"Art Simon invites us to a new way of living that, freed from the shackles of consumption, is the way of gratitude and generosity. And he leaves it up to each of us to think through, and pray through, exactly what that means for us."
Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief, First Things

"Superb. The distilled wisdom of a lifetime of faithful obedience and creative leadership. If American Christians would truly read and understand this powerfully simple book, the result would be a cascading abundance of joy and justice."
Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action

Arthur Simon is founder and president emeritus of Bread for the World and author of The Politics of World Hunger, Bread for the World, and Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (February 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801064082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801064081
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Arthur Simon has written a masterpiece. Being insightful but not judging, Simon describes why our culture keeps us from focusing on what is truly important and gently instructs us how to live a life of purpose and integrity. This easy to read book leaves us with a haunting feeling that there is so much more that we can do to make the world a better place. It forces us to leave our self-centered being to reach out and serve others. How Much Is Enough also demonstrates how adopting this framework for living will in turn benefit you as well as those you serve.
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I happened upon this book at Amazon and it is one of the best books I have read. I finished it in about 2 days, put it down and then started all over again. We all need a fresh perspective on our lives now and then, and this book did that for me. When our lives are spent acquiring things it is easy to conclude that the quality of life is based on what we have or what can be purchased. This book is so important in the affluent culture we live and are raising our children. I love the viewpoint, that we often find ourselves "keeping up with the Jones'" when in fact WE are the Jones' for much of the population. We always seem to compare ourselves to those who have more than we have, not those who have less. This book is like taking blinders off your eyes!
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I recently purchased How Much is Enough? by Arthur Simon as it was required reading for a class I am taking. The book is easy to read and is full of thought-provoking and soul searching statements. Arthur Simon can be likened to a prophet in our own day and age. I thank him for making me question how Christian I have been. I am a Conservative and I expected to be put off by the content or the way the message was delivered ... I wasn't. I recommend the book to anyone who wants to grow spiritually.
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I took a class and had to read this book--it will make you think and realize just how selfish and greedy we as a society have become. Highly recommend this one.
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A well written, thoughtful book that talks about the traps we set for ourselves and fall into equating what we have with who we are. Our entire way of life seems to be based on getting "more", getting "ahead", working more and longer and forgetting that none of those things make us happy. The important things in life are love of God, and each other. People and relationships, not stuff. There is enough stuff in the world so that no one should be hungry or homeless and yet millions are even here in our country. We really need to look at "How Much is Enough?"
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This is not a book that says "stuff is bad." It digs into the attitudes and assumptions we make about the trappings we associate with success and plenty and also some of the consequences of accepting the larger culture's value system. Definitely worth the time to read.
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Format: Paperback
Contrast the following:

*"Nelson Rockefeller, an heir to the Rockefeller fortune, was once asked, 'How much is enough?' Rockefeller paused for a moment, smiled and replied, 'Just a little bit more.'" (p. 111)

*Gerald Straub, whose book The Sun & Moon Over Assisi: A Personal Encounter with Francis & Clare was named the best spirituality hardcover book of 2001 by the Catholic Press Association, "on pilgrimage in Italy, stayed for a few days in a hermitage that St. Francis frequented for solitude. He almost panicked trying to adjust to his cramped cell. Then he learned that the other cells were even smaller. 'Suddenly,' he writes, 'this small room seems like a suite.'" (p. 115)

This book on "both the cost and the joy of discipleship" will find various people in various places on their journeys. For me, the pages with the greatest impact are found in Chapter 8: Faces of Affluence (Consumerism, Capitalism, The Moral Ambiguity of Affluence, Those Left Behind.) If the sentence "For all the good it can do... free enterprise capitalism has grave defects" sets your teeth on edge, this book may be problematic for you. For the author goes on to say, "Capitalism... is good at generating wealth, not so good at spreading it around. A related defect is that free enterprise does not distinguish between selling Bibles and selling drugs or sex... To achieve public justice, free enterprise, like the urge to consume, needs to be tamed and guided." (pp. 104-105).
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This book addresses the greed that has bankrupted our country. I think this is a very important book especially in light of the financial situation of our country. I have given this book to many in our family, church & friends.
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