Consumer Detox by Mark Powley challenges readers to reevaluate their assumptions and beliefs about what it truly means to enjoy a rich life. The lie that material wealth brings happiness has led to deep dissatisfaction in our modern culture, even among Christians. Rather than simply echo the tired claim that “giving is better than receiving,” Powley digs deep into the heart of the issue. Why do I continue to pursue commodities, rather than people? Why do I seem to make the same mistakes over and over? The answers Powley provides have the potential to change the way we look at the world.
The problem, argues Powley, lies in the things we do without thinking. Advertisers, entertainers, and even our friends have long since learned our weak spots. By targeting our basic human desires, such as the need to be accepted or loved, they have taught us to think in certain patterns. The book draws attention to these tricks, so we can begin to combat our subconscious mindset of materialism. It concludes with a series of reflections to continue supporting the reader to live a more fulfilling, authentic life.
Having studied theology at Oxford and human behavior through Breathe, his Christian network for simpler living, Powley speaks with authority and offers numerous first-hand accounts. The book mixes arguments from both Christian and secular worlds to provide emotional and spiritual renewal even to receptive non-believers. Though the tone is often humorous and never preachy, Powley manages to convict readers with the same force as a powerful sermon. This is especially true when it comes to the modern application of stories such as the rich, young man in Luke 18 who went away from Jesus sad “because he had great wealth.” Powley muses, “Now most of the commentary I’ve heard on these verses goes something like this: The rich young man had a particular problem with money. That’s why Jesus asked him to give it up… If he’d loved cheeseburgers too much, Jesus would have prescribed a vegan diet. Money was his problem, but it may not be our problem. So the words probably don’t apply to us… Hmmm. Nice try….”
Unlike some books, which promise unrealistic goals, Consumer Detox speaks frankly about the issues. There are practical, helpful instructions on ways to simplify and improve the quality of your life that promise neither too little, nor too much. The book’s audience is young adults, so it also deals briefly with more serious issues such as pornography and addiction, but is an invaluable resource for parents looking to protect and educate their children on the dangers of consumerism. From young teenagers to retirees, Mark Powley’s Consumer Detox will be worth every moment spent reading it. – Ryan Dennison, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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.