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7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  18,637 ratings  ·  1,740 reviews
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 experi ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by B Books (first published December 19th 2011)
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 ·  18,637 ratings  ·  1,740 reviews

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Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book was quite a mixed bag for me. While I admire Hatmaker's heart and her decision to drastically simplify her lifestyle, the chummy/overly self-deprecating/oh-little-ol'-me? tone of her authorial voice really grated on my nerves. It was difficult at times not to feel like "7" was just a vanity project for Hatmaker -- many of the changes she implemented for each of her 7 focused months (i.e. eating only 7 foods, unplugging from all media) were simply unsustainable over the longterm or did ...more
Mutant Supermodel
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh this book. This book took me completely and utterly by surprise. A friend gave it to me for Christmas because she thought I'd like what she took to be the general theme of the book from the blurb in the back-- this lady scales back in 7 aspects of her material life. Yeah I love that stuff. What is not glaringly obvious from the main blurb in the back is that this book is written by a pastor's wife who's also a speaker on Christianity. You have to look at the fine print for that pattern and th ...more
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm torn about this book. On the one hand, I don't think I like Jen Hatmaker all that much. It may be that folksy on this level just doesn't do it for me, but when you start talking about chips & salsa as a food you'd be willing to "commit actual murder for," that's just too much needless hyperbole for a book that's supposed to about living a more Godly life.

On the other hand, reading this made me quite uncomfortable in what I assume is a good way. Beyond the novelty of wearing only a certain n
Dec 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
I can't believe this is the ninth book written by this woman. NINTH!! Surely they can't all be like this, or publishers wouldn't keep publishing them, right??

The writing is atrocious, and completely overwhelms what I'm sure is a very sincere message.
What is meant to seem self-deprecating comes off as self-absorbed and annoying.
Other reviewers have described her and her as hilarious, but I could not disagree more.
Her efforts in the 7 project may have been to draw her closer to God in some way,
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book came highly recommended but I failed to see what was so great about it. Eager to hear of this amazing experiment and life changing book, I waited patiently by the door, waiting for the Amazon santa clause to deliver my gift. Once it came, I ripped it open and voraciously read chapter one. The excitement fizzled and I was left with nothing. So I read chapter two...and three...waiting for something.

Basically, the book is about learning to live with less. The author takes seven months, e
Melissa Lindsey
Dec 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Ok. So, she is funny. She has a fun way with words and can write a little conversation into something that is fun to read. I'd love for my students to be able to do this. But I couldn't even get myself to finish this book. It is just not my style. When I read a book, I want a book, not something that reads like a bunch of blog posts. Even in her mutiny against excess, I saw excess. It was like reading, "Hey look at me. Look at what I'm doing. I'm this great famous person so I can limit my consum ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I can understand others giving this book a high rating, but for me personally I struggled through it. I think most of this was due to the style and tone of the writer which I just didn't like on a simple personality basis, which may be my fault as much as the author's agreeably. I also thought some of the arguments and data peppered through out the prose were trite, presented one-sided, and not subjected to the proper judiciousness of the journalism she was bordering on. Finally, some of the sev ...more
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
NOTE: not so much a review as a place-to-put-the-quotes-I-don't-want-to-forget-before-I-return-this-to-the-library.

*"The careful study of the Word has a goal, which is not the careful study of the Word. The objective is to discover Jesus and allow Him to change our trajectory. Meaning, a genuine study of the Word results in believers who feed poor people and open up their guest rooms; they're adopting and sharing, mentoring and intervening. Show me a Bible teacher off mission, and I'll show you
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I finished it this morning and felt like I had just had a really long weekend with a best friend. First of all, she's hilarious. I started following her on twitter which is equally hilarious, btw. I laughed several times out loud reading this...and sometimes I cried. Often, it was on the same page. What I loved the most is that this is her experience, not her preaching. She wrote in a kind of blog format, taking you with her through everyday of this experiment. Some days were deep and brooding a ...more
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
It pains me to not give 7 a higher rating. After all, it's filled with ideas I admire, strive to, and do in my daily life. Jen Hatmaker's writing style, though, gets in her way. She spends too much time on cultural cliches and mentions that are downright uncomfortable. It's distracting and completely unnecessary when she refers to her adopted children as "brown," or her favorite restaurant as "worth murdering for." It's a turnoff when she describes "First (Insert Denomination) Church" as full of ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it

I'll be honest, I grudgingly started this book. I downloaded the book on my kindle and strapped myself in for one of those self help/loathing books that makes you feel like a piece of crap because you aren't a better person and doing all you can for your fellow man......

My husband asked me what I was reading when I started and I gave him a grotesque look and told him it was a book for book club that I HAD to read and Misty (who recommended the book) owed me and I was going to put her to work sc
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living

Just finished this incredible book, and believe's shaken me. Through this book, I have had a major change in perspective. I cringe to see my sin revealed....the sin of self-pity and feeling sorry for myself for our money struggles, all while the air conditioner cools my home to a comfy 74 degrees.

What would I be willing to give up for my children? Everything, duh. What about my sister's baby? Or my brother's children? If I knew that they were in need, hungry, unclothed, motherless
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really didn't want to read this book. A member of my mission team in Africa this June recommended the book to me. But my world had already been turned upside down by the beautifully broken country called Sierra Leone, not to mention my heart had been stolen by several of it's orphans.... so I fought reading this book upon my return home. Once I realized that I would never be the same, and trying to come to terms with living in 'The States' while half my heart longs for Africa and a more simple ...more
Oct 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Reads like a blog, which is mostly okay--I like reading blogs. That said, Ms. Hatmaker's copyeditor seriously let her down. The author tells us that she is a word person who corrects misspelled words in text messages, yet we see such errors as "sheek" instead of "chic" and, in a sentence in which the author declares that "there aren't words to express [her] devotion to Paula Dean" she shows that her devotion does not extend to correctly spelling Ms. Deen's last name. There are enough such occurr ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
 As the clock ticked past midnight, I was finishing up the last chapter of "Seven- an experimental mutiny against excess". I read the whole book yesterday and found it inspiring and a good way to start my 36th year. I'm thinking about the different categories that she fasted in: food- 7 foods for a month, clothes: 7 items of clothing for a month, Possessions: giving away 7 items everyday, Media: most of it except email, phone calls and some texting, Waste: begin gardening, composting, conserving ...more
Jess Dollar
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Almost 5 stars, but too religious. Of course, that is her POINT, but still.

I just LOVE reading other people's experiences with downsizing and minimalism. I absolutely devoured this book in less than 24 hours, even reading by flashlight while our power was out.

Minimalism is almost a religion for me. It makes life so much better. It is such a relief to get rid of possessions. The author learned those lessons and many more as she worked through 7 months of doing without in seven different categor
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Last night I finished reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. Every once in awhile I read a book that really affects me. This is one of those books.

The author, Jen Hatmaker, takes 7 months to focus on 7 different areas of excess in her life.

You see, Jen Hatmaker is rich.

She's rich, just like you are.

Just like I am.

Yup, I just called myself rich.

I just called you rich too.

If you are reading this review, you are rich. If you make $35,000 a year, you are in the top 4% of the wealthi
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Someone recently connected me with the most hilarious end-of-the-school-year complaint I had ever read, written by blogger Jen Hatmaker. After scrolling through her blog a little, I discovered she had written a few books. One of the most recent was this one, where she led her family to disconnect themselves from the stuff threatening to take over their lives. The plan was to identify seven areas of excess and cut things out of her own life. Her husband and children participated in varying degree ...more
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just finished the book "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" by Jen Hatmaker. The book came highly recommended by friends who are familiar with my tastes and the season of life in which I find myself, and it did not disappoint. Hatmaker recounts her "journey of less" as she pares down areas of her life where she believes she has substituted the American Dream for God's kingdom.

Reminiscent of David Platt's, "Radical," and Francis Chan's, "Forgotten God," this book invokes self-reflection, a
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh. My. Gosh. This was a very good book. Why didn't I give it five stars? Because I'm not really into the whole Christian peptalk part of it, but, hey, the author is in women's ministry, so it's not like I wasn't expecting that.

Jen Hatmaker is very amusing, and her smartass voice is clear in her writing. By the time I was finished with her book, I wanted to be her friend. I'll bet she'd be fun at a Bunko gathering. This is the part where I over-generalize, so here's my apology in advance. *Sorry
Dec 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was given this book as a gift and read it more out of obligation to the friend who gifted it rather than my own interest. Sociologists, of which I am one, hate self-help books as a matter of principle for reasons too lengthy to go into here. Of course, that means I have friends who regularly want to prove me wrong and repeatedly suggest or gift me self-help books that will change my mind. Part of their argument is that Christian self-help is completely different than secular self-help. Not tru ...more
Natalie Innes
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a part of the book description on Goodreads: "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 discove ...more
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book came in my life just when I needed it.

I'm going to be honest and say that sometimes I can let the "pretty" things in life distract me. We are surrounded by a society that can be selfish, always craving the "best", wanting more, and all the while thinking we are entitled to it.

Why was this book just what I needed? For some reason in the weeks/months leading up to reading this book, I got off track with my priorities. Somehow, I got off track in a big way only thinking of myself and all
Jun 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: quit-reading
I really wanted to like this book and I just could not make myself read anymore. The author's idea is great - 7 months of cutting back on excesses in 7 areas of life - food, clothing, media, possessions, waste, shopping, and stress. Take one area for one month and concentrate on that issue while using the experience as a spiritual fast. A truly great idea, but the super jokey tone of the book got on my nerves from the first page. I only made it through chapter 3 before I couldn't take anymore. I ...more
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
7 has a good big-picture message of moral and social responsibility, gratitude, intentionally simple living, and self-denial for the sake of others, plus Jen Hatmaker is funny and self-deprecating, but I got the feeling she was just doing a "crazy" project to sell another book, and was surprised that it turned out so challenging and profoundly productive. The slangy vernacular in which it was written came across as trying too hard to avoid the appearance of sanctimony, talking down to her reader ...more
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help, spiritual
This book is disconcerting and as such ranks high with me. The author who is trying, in her own way, to come to terms with consumerism, chooses seven areas of focus in her own personal life to address excess. She experiments with abundance in the areas of: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress.

The book reads much like a blog. She is casual, honesty, witty and reflective. There were times when I wanted to ask, "So what?" Will there be long-lasting changes in her life as a
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book has been waiting on my "to read" shelf for months while I finished other things. It's another "extreme living experiment." (How many of these can one person read? I think I'm going for some kind of record.) Anyway, Hatmaker takes her family on a 7-month journey of reduction in the areas of Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending, and Stress. For example, she eats only 7 foods in the Food month, wears only 7 articles of clothing in the Clothes month, gives away 7 things per d ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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." (

This description may invoke various responses in you - and I'd like to suggest that it should. This book is the story of the Hatmaker family - Jen, her husband, Brandon, and their three children to various degrees, going o
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
With her signature wit, Jen Hatmaker takes a year-long fast for Jesus, tackling one excess after another in the average American life. From whittling down her closet to seven items, to eating only seven foods, to reducing her waste, to trimming her spending; she documents her daily struggles and triumphs through the lessons learned.

What really pulled through for me most was how much we take for granted and how, with a bit of trimming, we have the ability to transform the lives of the poor. If w
Sarah Jo
May 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-my-favorite
The author fasted from 'excess' for a time, made very scant meaningful changes and showed us how materialistic she really is. Most of us are pretty materialistic and a deep internal struggle and sustained life changes would have been refreshing. This is all shallow. It is hardly about actual self-sacrifice and more about how to feel good at the end of the day with all your earthly possessions [by giving up salsa for a month - there, pat yourself on the back]. ...more
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JEN HATMAKER is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Of Mess and Moxie" and the highly anticipated new book, "Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You" (released April 21, 2020), along with eleven other books, the happy host of the award-winning For the Love Podcast, delighted curator of the Jen Hatmaker Book Club, and a sought-after speaker who tours the country eve ...more

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