We talk about the good life or the American dream as if it were permanent, as if it were the finish line of a race. We say that we have ‘arrived at the American dream.’ We announce that we are ‘living the good life.’ And yet it has been my experience that, at least in our times, the good life and the American dream are more obsolescent than obtainable.
We buy things year after year, over and over again, in our pursuit of contentment. It has been my impression that these days, replacement is emblematic of our dreams more than ownership. This is a curiosity, for it is by endlessly acquiring the right things that we measure our distance from the good life. We are always getting, but never getting there.
That was my observation as well as my personal experience. For much of my life I endeavored not for objects I could settle down with and enjoy, but just for new stuff. Too often this was my achievement: not working hard to earn some special thing, but rather, after tucking that special something away, going back out to the mall to buy again.
The 100 Thing Challenge, which my book describes, was one of several responses to the unsettled feeling I developed after years of living a life filled with stuff instead of contentment — after arriving at a reasonable version of the American dream and still groping for more. I felt I might be chasing after what was not mine to have, and what I could never get anyway. It occurred to me that I felt less like myself and more like someone I should not be.
I was about to change that feeling. (From the Preface)
“I devoured this book in one sitting. . . . An enjoyable read. I have been very encouraged.” Eric – Amazon.com review
“It has given me pause, causing me to examine my own consumer behavior and how it compares to what I believe. This book reaches into the heart of the issues behind American consumerism and gives insight into getting our priorities where they should be.” Laura – Amazon.com review
“As I read the book, I felt as if I were sitting down across from Dave and he was telling me the story about his life over the past few years. His writing is so easy to read and keeps you engaged. He writes from his heart and lets you into his thoughts and feelings. I’m inspired by Dave and his story.” Michelle – Amazon.com review
“It’s a truly inspiring read and after finishing, I immediately started to tally my own possessions. I plan on taking the 100 thing challenge myself, and I would not have had the motivation to do it without this book.” Kelly – Amazon.com review
“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.” Tim – Goodreads.com review
“Motivating without being obnoxious.” Kirsten – Goodreads.com review
Dave Bruno offers compelling anecdotes and practical advice readers can use to resist consumerism and live a more meaningful life. The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul (Harper, 2010) provides an opportunity for readers to consider how positive life changes can occur when an individual chooses to defiantly hop off the treadmill of consumerism and start living a saner and more satisfying life.
“Living simply is only an ideal until someone like Bruno gets particular. The way he got particular should make everyone think hard, which is a very good thing.” – Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
“In a loving, wise, sometimes hilarious manner, Dave Bruno holds a mirror up to us and says to take a closer look at how we’re living. He’s no Don Quixote, tilting at imaginary windmills. His concerns and solutions are real and realistic. Reading this will lead you to a better life.” – Dean Nelson, Author of God Hides in Plain Sight and director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University
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Hold on! Should a guy who shuns consumerism be trying to sell
thousands tens of thousands of books? Look for the ongoing discussion about writing and selling books in blog posts on the 100 Thing Challenge site.