Book 9: 10 Days Without


Book 9 in the #EmptyShelf Challenge is 10 Days Without. This is a clear and inspiring call to action that didn’t induce guilt. It catalyzed creative thinking and new insights for my life.

Title: Ten Days Without: Daring Adventures in Discomfort That Will Change Your World and You
Author: Daniel Ryan Day
Publisher: Multnomah (2013)

What the book is about

10 Days Without shares eight stories of Day’s experience of going without some “necessity” of life for 10 days. His purpose was to raise awareness of certain issues through his blog and to raise funds for organizations addressing those concerns. While he was successful with that, this book effectively spreads the message to an additional audience. Day’s stories about going without were entertaining, but also helped me better understand how other people live and how good my life is.

What did Day go without for 10 days each? He went 10 days…

  • …without shoes to address disease
  • …without a coat to address homelessness
  • …without media to address distractions
  • …without furniture to address global poverty
  • …without legs to address our response to disabilities
  • …without waste to address the environment
  • …without speech to address modern-day slavery
  • …without human touch to address orphans, widows, prisoners, and other untouchables

For each of these, Day shared his experiences, what he learned, and the insights of others who joined him in the challenge. As you might guess, it was a transformative experience in many ways.

Why I read this book

When I picked up this book, I suspected it would challenge my thinking about about what I think is truly important in life. I was right. I was reminded how selfish I am. I learned to better see life through the eyes of the less fortunate. I was also reminded that what I think is necessary for daily living are things that many people live without.

Favorite idea

I don’t know if Day intended his reader to experience this, but a significant idea I realized was that I need to monitor my expectations, not assume so much, and to realize how petty my thinking can be. I expect that my car will work each day. I expect I will have a mug of coffee in the morning. I expect that my clothes will be clean. (They always are! Thank you Julie!) I expect my computer, smartphone, and satellite dish will bring me the information I want. I expect there to be food in the fridge. I expect. I expect.

None of those things are necessities. Much of the world doesn’t expect those things because they are fighting each day to find food, clean water, and sanitary living conditions. I know that sentence is very cliché, but 10 Days Without made the cliché fresh and true.

Do I recommend this book?

Yes, I recommend this book. It is an entertaining read, but more importantly it will challenge you to consider your view of what is important.

(Click here to learn more about the #EmptyShelf Challenge.)

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at] with your questions.

2 thoughts on “Book 9: 10 Days Without

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