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The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul

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2.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,997 ratings  ·  410 reviews
Dave Bruno relates how he remade his life and regained his soul by getting rid of almost everything. But The 100 Thing Challenge is more than just the story of how one man started a movement to unhook himself from consumerism by winnowing his life’s possessions down to 100 things in one year. It’s also an inspiring, invigorating guide to how we all can begin to live ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 28th 2010 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published December 15th 2010)
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Average rating 2.86  · 
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 ·  1,997 ratings  ·  410 reviews


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Todd N
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Good gravy. I actually bought this blog-to-book from the self-help section of a Barnes & Noble at a mall. Fortunately my kids are too young to understand what was happening and no other loved ones saw me.

I was intrigued by the blog at guynameddave.com that discussed his challenge to go a year with only 100 possessions. This is appealing to me because I recently came to the conclusion that I have way too much crap, and instead of buying a bigger house that I will eventually fill up with more
...more
David
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Boring book. Good title and sounded like something I'd enjoy. Simplicity and frugality are great things, but this guy managed to write an incredibly dull book about the topics.

There's also a very Christian orientation to the book, which is fine -- it's always great to understand the background of someone's beliefs, but even that seemed odd and misplaced in the book. We get strange passages about the author seeing a woman and being tempted to... I have no idea... look at her? I can't remember
...more
Bonnie G.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: goddamn-hippie
Ummmm Its just some white dude in CA cleaning out his REI garage. :I
Ciara
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
this book was way more weird than i had expected. it's about a dude who maintained a blog all about his hated of american style consumerism. then one day he woke up & realized that he himself was an american style consumerist with way too much crap. so he came up with the 100 thing challenge, in which he would try to live for a year with only 100 personal possessions. he acknowledges many of the criticisms he has gotten in the reviews about how he "cheated" by counting all of his books as a ...more
Shauna
Apr 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
Awful. He contradicts himself in every chapter. He bought more things during his one year anti-consumerism crusade than I did in the past year, according to his guidelines. He got rid of six perfectly good coats, and then bought a new one at Patagonia? Bought a new lap top, a new surf board...the list goes on and on. What a fraud. Waste of time. His "experiment" would be quite different if he lived alone and could not write off the thousands of items co-owned, and therefore not included in the ...more
Patricia
May 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2011
Dave Bruno and I got off on the wrong foot when, in his preface, he used his cat as an example of the disposable American lifestyle. It seemed that one of the family cats was killed by coyotes and when they brought home a new cat to replace the dead one, the other cat was angry for months. Bruno attributes this to the other cat realizing he was disposable, and easily replaceable.

I, however, chalk up this situation not as an indication that Americans have a over-consumption problem (we do) but to
...more
Allison
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-nonfiction
I live a cluttered life, so when I saw the title of this book, I was intrigued. The idea of reducing my own life into 100 things was very interesting, so I decided to grab the book, even though self-help isn't really my thing.

I can't fault the book for being bad. At no point was I annoyed or aggravated enough to put the book down, but it just didn't do it for me and after finishing it, I can honestly say that all I walked away with was a sense of "good for you". I found the author's religious
...more
Jodi
Mar 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: misc
This is by far one of the most boring, disappointing, rambling and drawn-out books I have ever read. The first 3 chapters each said exactly the same thing as each other and the rest of the book was little better. The content of the book could probably be summarised easily in 3 pages, with the actual information for readers about reducing the junk in their own lives on one page...if that. It needs the most enormous edit.

This book offered very little practical advice. This book is about the
...more
Roanne
Mar 17, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This guy is a TOOL.

Whine, whine, whine, brag, whine, whine, brag, cheat, condescend, rationalize, whine some more, relate some tangential story that leaves the reader scratching their head, more whining, more rationalizing, "gee, aren't I great? whine, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.
Tam
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I read the author's blog, and really appreciate the intention he has behind the 100-Thing Challenge. Unfortunately, while his writing may work well for a blog, it didn't hold up for an entire book. Also, I found that quite a lot of the book was him explaining his thinking and reasoning behind what he was doing, rather than a narrative of his experience of the Challenge, which is what I had been hoping for. So, although there were a few bright ...more
Keith Akers
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
There are some good things and bad things about this book. Generally, the newer you are to "simple living" discussions, the more useful this book would be. It is easy to read. However, there are some very serious shortcomings to the book and I wouldn't recommend it except as an exercise to keep people on their toes. Here's a great discussion topic! "Someone says that they are interested in living more simply and wants to limit the number of things they own to 100 things. What problems can you ...more
Gina
Mar 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
This would have been a great read as a series of blog posts.

The author's tendency to get derailed describing model trains and Webkinz was just rambling filler. Had the editors at Harper Collins been a bit mightier with their red pens, this would have been a more focused -- and enjoyable as a result -- book.

When describing the birthday gifts he received at the start of the 100 Things Challenge, the author writes 'And here I must confess something to you that will likely make you think I'm
...more
Jordan
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Two stars is generous and only given because somewhere under all this crap are some good ideas to think about.

To start off with, the book itself begins on the completely wrong tone for me. The author talks about how he realized everything was replaceable when one of the family cats gotten eaten by coyotes and they just got a new one. Sorry, but I'm not on board with viewing pets as easily replaced "goods". Nope. Also way to let your cat roam around when you're aware that there are coyotes around
...more
Robin Ripley
Jan 09, 2011 rated it liked it
This book could probably get 3 1/2 stars, but alas, there are no half-stars here on Good Reads. I applaud Dave Bruno's 100 Thing Challenge, although it often seemed too severe because he gave up things he later replaced or regretted losing. His minimalist wardrobe is probably not just boring but also, uh, gross. Someone should tell Bruno shoes need airing out between wearings.

Although some reviewers griped about Bruno's justifying his decisions to part with certain objects, I found his
...more
Maicie
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2011
Interesting book. The author, Dave Bruno, commits to paring down his material possessions and living with only 100 things for one year. His list is interesting and confusing at the same time; he kept three Bibles and a spork!?! He also counted a toothbrush on his list but not toothpaste or deodorant…and one must assume he used both.

But what really caught my attention were the author’s observations about consumerism. I’m not interested in living with only 100 things and would fail miserably if I
...more
Angela
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book caught my eye in a book review because it reminded me of the FABULOUS young adult fiction book, The Gospel According to Larry about a teen blogger who decides to pare his personal possessions down to 76 items--his blog goes viral and suddenly he's the center of a grassroots movement and the focus of a woman who seeks to unmask him (his real name is Josh). So I wanted to read this non-fiction version by someone who did the thing for real. Unfortunately the book was not a very ...more
ViolaMaths
Mar 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
This chap edited his life, he could have done with editing his book too! Not for me I'm afraid.

First, even though he acknowledges this, the idea that a "library" is one thing or that stuff shared with his wife and kids isn't included in the challenge seems a bit of a cop out to me. Secondly, this guy obviously lives at a very different level from me - I have never bought a new laptop or any such gadget just to have a better one, and everything I DO buy is significantly better than what it
...more
Meredith
Oct 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
I love the straight-forward premise behind the 100 Thing Challenge: Whittle the amount of your possessions down to 100 items you can't live without. Unfortunately, the idea behind the book was pretty much the only thing I liked about the book.

Although Bruno's writing style was enjoyably conversational, he often came across as condescending, especially when discussing the opposite sex; my eyebrows rose when I read certain remarks, such as "it's probably a good idea [to own a model train set],
...more
Kirsten
Jan 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Motivating without being obnoxious. Even the overly Christian parts were palatable enough. As I am also in the middle of purging several lifetimes of inherited stuff this book encouraged me not to feel bad or guilty with what I want to let go, and also to be honest with myself about my real feelings towards some of my own stuff. I suppose I couldn't fully identify with some of the items the author chose to put on his 100 things list, but he emphasized enough the "to each his own" element. I ...more
Jennifer Dustin
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
I thought I would get more out of this than I did. It's mostly a series of essays about the author, not even always directly in relation to the challenge. There were a few good things I took away from the book, but it was really a disappointment that Bruno thinks that people would like to hear about his multiple nice dinners out with his wife, his surfing, or other nonsense in this book, rather than getting to the point. The two appendices are actually the most informative parts of the book. And ...more
Tim
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 100 Thing Challenge is a wonderful memoir of one man's response to America's consumer culture. In paring down his personal possessions to one hundred, Dave Bruno has a chance to reflect on the meaning of his things and how they interact and fail to interact with meaning in his life. It's an easy and engaging read. Dave does not preach and is not a zealot for his own methods. I, for one, do not interact with consumer culture in quite the same way he does. But his journey invited reflection on ...more
Janis
May 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
This should never have been a book--just a pamphlet or blog post with updates, as I guess it began. For someone who rails against consumerism, he bought and discarded several things, or bought inferior items to replace what he regretted getting rid of. Get from your library and skim this one. Don't be a consumer and waste your money on it. I am not usually so harsh, but this was a waste of paper and reader time. 2 stars only because there was a good message under all of the filler.
Raymond Philippe
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: simplifying
I finished reading this book in a short time because it relates to several topics I am very passionate about. Consumerism, getting rid of clutter, setting goals and changing habits.

The author uses examples that appeal to me. The book made me rethink several past en planned purchases. Got rid of quite some stuff already!
My wife loves me for this. :-)
Gautham Raja
May 23, 2016 rated it liked it
The content frequently veers into unnecessary details of the author's life
Cindy
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
This wasn't quite what I was expecting. California dad and sometime adventure guy (he spends a lot of time talking about his love of outdoor camping, climbing, surfing, hiking...you get the idea) decides to pare down his possessions to 100. He sets his birthday as a date to start and the next birthday to stop. We get to hear a lot about what qualifies and what doesn't. It occurs to me that it's likely because he's made all these exceptions and because he's married that this works. I seriously ...more
Liralen
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Meh.

Much like Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, I appreciate the concept, but the execution falls flat. Bruno set out to limit his consumerism, but (as in Not Buying It) the project lacked clear boundaries. I understand some of the boundaries and exceptions that he did set out -- I imagine it would be much, much harder to reduce a household's number of things to 100 than to reduce a singleton's, and I can't blame his family for not leaping wholeheartedly on board. (I also respect, for the
...more
Kate
This book was OK. I got it on Amazon for $1.99 and I'm glad that's all I paid for it. It's another case of why a great editor is the best possible thing that can happen to a book.

The 100 Thing Challenge is a compelling idea, one I'm interested in - I'm on an ongoing mission to declutter and reduce consumption. I expected a little more in the way of "practical tips" than Bruno gave. He may have given them on his blog, but I didn't read that.

Several reviewers have accused Bruno of "cheating",
...more
Dana
May 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
The title of this book is very interesting.

I think, it may be more interesting than the book.

In this book, Dave tells about his challenge to himself to narrow his own personal posessions down to 100 things. He put his challenge on his blog, spent a year selling and purging stuff and then lived for a year with only 100 personal posessions. He did not count his house and all the things that he shared with his family as part of those 100 personal possessions, and he counted all of his books as
...more
Vy
Jan 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
The concept is interesting, but unfortunately, the writing is not. I read this book because I liked the idea, not because I had any delusions of doing this for myself. I was hoping for some absorbing anecdotes and insights about the author's year spent limiting himself to 100 personal items (he doesn't count things like furniture that he shares with his family).

A few parts were interesting, including a couple of stories about purging his possessions. The section on his actual experience during
...more
Lissa
I went into this book expecting it to be one thing, and it turned out to be another. I expected it to involve some real soul-searching about consumerism and how things play such a huge role in our lives in America today. I was expecting a book of relative depth. I was expecting a book that focused on ideas instead of brands and blurbs.

And that is not what this book is.

Instead, I got a book that was very shallow and superficial. It barely scratched the surface of consumerism's role in modern
...more
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“My desire to live a meaningful life was getting forestalled by the petty, day-to-day demands of all my stuff.
As I stood in my garage, I realized that it was not just that all the stuff created a mess, requiring valuable time to clean up. That was true, but that wasn't the worst of it. I realized it was not the clutter, the over accumulation of things, but rather the things themselves that were taking my attention away from what mattered in my life. Camping gear was getting my attention, not being outside. Tools were taking up my time, not using them to be creative. Toys were distracting me from the fun of playing. My things were not doing what they were meant to do: serve a greater purpose than possession alone.”
4 likes
“We're so distracted, we're missing out own lives. The parent who records his kid's dance recital or first steps or graduation is so busy trying to capture the moment--to create a thing that proves that they were there--they miss out on actually living and enjoying the moment.
I've done this before with my camera. I have jockeyed for position, bumping elbows with other parents so I could get into the best spot to look through the viewfinder of my SLR to capture the moment of my daughter's dance recital. Five-year-old Phoebe was so cute in her little sailor outfit, tapping away. And I got some great pictures. It's just that while I remember getting the pictures, I do not recall the moment. So much of the time we don't trust ourselves to experience our world without stuff. Things so often don't enhance our lives, but are barriers to fully living our lives.”
3 likes
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