More or Less is a new book from Jeff Shinabarger which looks at the question of “What is enough?” It is aimed at those of us who are living fairly comfortably, with more than we need to get by.
The whole concept is that it is based around various ‘experiements’ that Jeff carried out in his own life looking at various ways he could ask himself what it would mean for him to choose less so that others may have more – for example looking at aspects such as what is enough clothing, what is enough food, what is enough time. This is very much a hands on, practical book full of ideas of things Jeff tried that we can learn from, yet it remains humble throughout and at no stage does Jeff brag about what he has done or give the impression that he thinks he is someone great for doing these things.More or Less is full of surprising lessons Jeff learnt about how much excess our Western lives tend to have, and how much of an impact our excess can make when we decide to chose less and give more. For example at one point he decided to not buy food until he and his wife had used up all the food in their house, and managed to go almost 2 months living off things they had stockpiled. Reading through the book there are many other eye-opening moments that will show you just how much most of us have compared to so many around the world.
This is not an explicitly Christian book. Jeff is a committed Christian, and doesn’t hide that, but has not written More or Less to an exclusively Christian audience. In several places there are reference to Christian principles and Jesus’ teachings, but for the most part while it is clear his Christian faith has influenced his views that don’t dominate the content of the book, which I feel is good as there is already a lot of Christian teaching out there about the need to live generously and another theological book isn’t needed. What is needed, and what More or Less provides, is practical, applicable steps that address specific needs that readers can act on, and can spread beyond the Christian bubble to a wider audience. This is an attempt from a Christian writer to lay out a manifesto for a better way to live for all, not just for those of us who are already Christian. We need more Christians prepared to go out there and help shape the culture of the population, not just the bubble.
Each chapter ends with a specific action point to try and prevent this being just a book that people read and then forget and make it easier to act on. More or Less is a very easy, enjoyable read with some humour, lots of personal anecdotes to show that what Jeff is suggesting is doable, and is a book that could easily be shared with non-Christians too. I highly recommend reading it – it is very easy to read, yet incredibly challenging too.
NB I received a free copy of this book from David C Cook in return for a review. I did not have to write a positive review.