Consumer Detox: Less Stuff, More Life (Review)

Book cover for "Consumer Detox" by Mark Powley.Title: Consumer Detox: Less Stuff, More Life

Author: Mark Powley

Narrator: Simon Vance

Publication Year: 2010

Pages: 272 (audio length: 5 hours 38 minutes)

Genre: Narrative Non-Fiction

Source: Audiobook version purchased from

From the cover:

Consumerism is everywhere. It shapes the way we eat, shop, rest, think, love and believe. We can’t escape it, but how can we live well in the midst of it? We are daily seduced by a 250 billion dollar marketing machine. But how often do we consider how this might influence us? The current prevailing orthodoxy is that life should be lived to the max. By contrast, Jesus modeled a life of joyful limitation — free to do; free not to do. Consumer Detox, complete with the Detox Diary in the back of the book with suggestions for each chapter, encouraging stories, and space for writing personal reflections, is for those who want to break out of a lifestyle dominated by consumerism and journey toward a richer, simpler, more generous life. Consumer Detox, written out of Mark Powley’s experience of making a change in his own life, is a three part book that will help you break out of the consumer mindset, slow down to enjoy the natural rhythms of life, and live a life of generosity. This book isn’t about living a smaller life but having a bigger vision, which can help you become everything you were made to be.

To be honest, I zoned out while listening to quite a bit of this book. It wasn’t even the author’s writing style or the subject matter of consumerism that did it. It was the overwhelming Christian bent to everything he said.

Now, I have to say … looking back, I now see the phrase “By contrast, Jesus modeled a life of joyful limitation” in the publisher’s description in a different light. I saw it at the time when I picked the book, but because it was only the one line, and it didn’t leak out into the rest of the description, I assumed that maybe the author would mention Jesus as an example and that would kind of be the end of it. But no, that’s definitely not the case.

Instead, Powley uses the example of Jesus (and other stories from the bible) to illustrate every point he makes. In the beginning of the book, it wasn’t so overwhelming, and I actually felt like I could use the stories as examples even if I didn’t necessary share Powley’s religious beliefs. BUT, as the book went on, the Christian element of the book became so obvious and so frequent that I actually started zoning out. It wasn’t that Powley wasn’t necessarily making good points about how to avoid consumerism, but he just went so far into the religious overtones that it became the defining part of the book, even more so than the discussion of consumerism itself.

And so, that’s how I found myself hoping and wishing for the end of the book to come. I had high hopes for Consumer Detox that simply weren’t met. That’s particularly because I wasn’t expecting the uber-religious bent, though.

If you, on the other hand, are in the mood for a Christian slant on these issues, then maybe you’ll absolutely love this book. It just wasn’t for me.


3 thoughts on “Consumer Detox: Less Stuff, More Life (Review)”

  1. Too bad because the subject sounds really fascinating. Wonder why the author felt to take such a strong Christian angle to a subject that is so universal?

    1. I think mostly because he’s a pastor. But still … if it was going to be that overwhelmingly Christian in content, it should carry a bigger indicator on the back of the book. And now I’ll have to be on the lookout for a more secular take on the matter, because I really did want to read about consumerism!

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