Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic
ISBN: 1576751996 Global Overview for this book
20 journalers for this copy...
I should release this book, as the release of the "stuff" we collect is what the book is all about!
I am really looking forward to reading this book. My neighbor Ashley, who told me about it, went to a conference by one of the authors at our local library. She felt the urge to run and buy the book, which would be contradicting the whole point of it, so she put a library hold on it. She and a million others. So when i finish it i am going to pass it along, in the pure spirit of BookCrossing and Anti-Affluenza.
Thanks for sharing PiggyDiva!
I had been for a while questioning some of the very issues in the book (do i really need these many clothes? And why can't i park the car in the garage?), albeit in a very abstract form. The book looks at Affluenza as an epidemic, and as such divides the book into three parts: symptoms, causes, and treatment. To me, the most interesting part was the middle chapter, the understanding of how we transitioned from a society that valued time off above money to one where we have the lowest amount of vacation days per year, even below Japan. My boss, for example, stops accruing vacation because he never takes any. Then our Human Resources Department forces him to take a day off, and he sneaks back into the office to work incognito. He also gets upset when you try to take two weeks of vacation at a time...
I agree with much of what Affluenza says, and admit being part of the problem, but the book got preachy at times. For example, it discusses how many resources go into the making (and disposing) of a computer. I started feeling guilty, because i bought a new one a few months ago. After a while, however, i thought about the absurdity of my guilt. I had used my old computer for nine years. This replacement was not frivolous. What is one supposed to do when your computer becomes obsolete, after almost a decade of use? We cannot move back the clock and expect to encounter the simplicity that existed, say, in the 50s. To think we can is disingenuous. I wish the book had given more of a middle ground.
I read with amusement the unending praise that organic food gets throughout the book. I do not buy anything organic as a matter of general principle. I am tired of hearing shrill pseudo-scientists scaring consumers. For a more balanced view on this issue, i have always enjoyed what Bruce Ames at UCBerkeley had to say. And he has a lot of cred (a quick Google search will tell you why).
But those are my only complaints. I believe this is an important book, for those who like me were already aware of the perils of affluenza, but especially to those who are still oblivious, and believe me, there are many shades of oblivion. I have friends who go crazy about organic food, yet they are mega-shoppers, while others may be very frugal in their shopping expeditions, but still have not figured out what their recycling bin is for. It is scary to think what may happen one day!
As for me, i am resolving to watch less TV and spend less time at the mall in 2006.
I was fortunate enough to hear the author John DeGraf speak at our local library in Dec 05. I really enjoyed the talk and wanted to read the book as well. Having listened to him speak on the subject of Affluenza for 2 hours, I found that I wanted to jump forward in the book to parts that were not covered in his lecture. I did get alot out of the book in terms of how to "cure" affluenza. What I took away the most from the book was the concept of getting back to our true values. I loved the suggestion to make a list of your most important values and then to take stock of your life-are you living up to these values in your daily life, on what you spend money on, on where you live, on what you do, on what car you drive, etc. I think it is a great excercise for all of us to do. In order to believe in and be happy about the way we live, we need to ensure that we are following the path we are choosing to create everyday.
I really enjoyed reading the book and will recommend it to everyone I know. I think it is great information for all of us to be aware of our spending habits and what it is really "saying" about ourselves. I do agree with Gloria's comment on the book being preachy at times, and felt that after I reflected on what I had read the next day, I was able to see how I could make some small changes that would make a difference in my own life.
CAUGHT IN FAIRFIELD CA USA
Rampallion - Illinois (US only) mailed August 30, 2006
Adia415 - Ohio (can ship anywhere)
twinkpuddin - New York (US/Can pref. but intl OK)
BecFromMD - DC (can ship anywhere)
jenptcfan - Arkansas (US pref, intl OK)
Kimmi - Canada (can ship anywhere)
oisec - Germany (Germany pref, intl surface)
dododumpling - UK (UK pref, intl surface)
daemonwolf - UK (can ship anywhere)
Vikki - Japan (intl OK)
Bluestocking88 - Washington (US preferred)
NMReader - NM (US only)
GrannyAnn - NY (US preferred, Canada OK - thank you!)
boomda181 - Canada (intl OK)
verolyon - France (EU preferred, intl OK)
LeishaCamden - Norway (intl OK)
lucy-lemon - UK (intl OK)
Rules for the BookRing (inspired from LyekkaMarengo's profile):
1. Please let me know your shipping restrictions.
2. Journal the book when you get it.
3. If you can't finish this book in ~ 4 weeks, please let me know.
4. Make your Journal Entry.
5. PM the next person in line before you send it to make sure they are still interested in participating.
6. PM the next person in line after you have actually mailed the book.
Thank you all for participating!
I will PM Adia415 so I have his/her address when I am ready to send this.
By the way, the Ivana Trump quotation from the New York Times is inaccurate. The Times quoted her as saying that she buys 2,000 black bras, 2,000 white bras, and 2,000 beige bras every six months or so. Then later they ran a correction--she buys "only" 200 of each color. I guess this means that she doesn't wear five or six bras at once.
Not only do I get to read an interesting book, I get to pass it along to someone else who wants to read it! Very cool.
This isn't a perfect book, but it contains lots of fascinating, thought-provoking information. That study about the typical American recognizing hundreds of corporate logos but fewer than ten types of plants . . . ouch! I think I can identify more plants than that, but not many more. And local plants? Forget it.
The part about the 30-hour week at Kellogg's is fascinating. I agree that when I work longer hours, I am much less productive on a per-hour basis. Reforming health care in this country would make a 30-hour week and job sharing much more feasible, plus many people would retire earlier.
As I was reading, I kept wondering, Why isn't there more discussion of drastically reducing the amount of television watched or even stopping altogether? After all, TV encourages sedentary, solitary, unconnected behavior, and at least some of the commercials must be effective or companies wouldn't spend billions on them. And then I realized that this book is based on a TV series and that one of the authors produces TV documentaries. I guess the Affluenza people can't bite the hand that feeds them.
If you are interested in seeing some of the Adbusters uncommercials, they are available on YouTube--as is a CNN interview with Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn. The interviewer is rude and dismissive, actually laughing at him a couple of times. It's almost six minutes of free publicity, though, and it includes one of the uncommercials. I guess anybody who works as a news anchor is going to be very image conscious and is going to have a tough time getting Lasn's message.
If you are interested in reading more about voluntary simplicity/downshifting, may I suggest these books?
Your Money or Your Life by Dominguez and Robin--This book changed my life, even though I'm too lazy to do all the steps! I am on track to be debt-free within three and a half years. I've already paid off the student loans, credit cards, and car, and I am working on the mortgage. I plan to be financially independent by age 40. It makes a huge difference in my stress level, and thanks to Dominguez and Rubin's approach, things that I used to want to buy don't even appeal to me any more, because I know how long I would have to work to afford them. I don't mean to sound like a cult member, but it's a great book.
The Wealthy Barber--Annoying writing style, excellent advice.
Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James--Practical tips. Not every strategy works for everyone, but everyone can find something useful.
The Plug-in Drug--about television's effects on children.
Unplug the Christmas Machine--how every member of the family can contribute toward a more meaningful, less stressful holiday season.
Wow, this is a long entry, but this topic is so important to me. I'm glad others are interested too.
I hope other journalers will add the names of books they've enjoyed. I'm always looking for good books (and Web sites and documentaries) on this topic.
Sending to Adia next. Enjoy your travels, book!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I brought this to the post office today. It's on its way to Adia.
Wednesday, September 20:
Environmental scientist James Lovelock was one of the pioneers of the theory of global warming. His latest book, The Revenge of Gaia, has been compared to such ground-breaking works as "Silent Spring" and "The Diversity of Life."
I am going to look for his book, because what he said was quite sobering. He was asked about Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth", and in Dr. Lovelock's opinion Gore is too soft on his predictions. Yikes!
I found the book very enjoyable and appealing. As I expected, though, there wasn't too much new information in there for me. I've personally been working in several of the fields mentioned in the book since college, and I just finished 5 years of work with an environmental education nonprofit that focused on sustainable living. :) I think this is a great book to recommend to someone who is just starting to explore the issues within the book because nothing is too detailed or in-depth. Instead, the authors offer up a bunch of smaller, more easily-digestable snippets of information. I thought it was an easy read with some good humor thrown in. Thanks for thinking of me, Glo!
It'll be mailed off to twinkpuddin this week.
I found myself most interested reading about 30-hour week at Kellogg's as Rampallion mentioned. I think I'd be so much more productive and happier!
Other books not yet mentioned that I've read (although I can't recall exactly how much I enjoyed them):
The Overspent American by Juliet B. Schor
Voluntary Simplicity by Daniel Doherty, Amitai Etzioni
Getting a Life by Jacqueline Blix and David Heitmiller
I have BecFromMD's address and plan to get the book out this week. Thanks GorgeousGlo for sharing!
I really enjoyed this book. I am one of those people who means well in terms of living simply and taking care of the environment but needs the occasional nudge in the right direction. And this book has a few good, concrete suggestions (not an overwhelming number) for what you can do in your home and your community.
I've PM'd the next in line and will send it off as soon as I get an address. Thanks again! :)
Thanks for passing it on!
I agreed with a great deal of what the authors preached. We are a society obsessed with "stuff". I don't think I'm too badly infected with Affluenza (I passed the test in the book with flying colors!), but there are definitely places where I can strive for improvement.
I did think that the book was preachy at times, like others have said. I especially got annoyed with the way the authors seemed to try to make the reader feel guilty for eating meat. Gee, if cows are so bad for the environment, why don't we just kill them all and then they can't poop anymore and destroy the earth. Seriously though, if one wants to be a vegetarian, that's a fine choice. As for me, I think chickens are especially tasty. :)
The comparison of home sizes, the number of possessions, etc. of 50 years ago vs. today was really interesting. We really are a greedy society.
Thanks for the opportunity to read this book. I will try to employ some of the ideas brought forth like asking myself "do I really need this?" before I buy something.
I will PM the next participant and send this off on Tuesday.
ETA: Mailed via air mail on 1/16/07.
Thanks for sharing GorgeousGlo and thanks for mailing it jenptcfan!
(edited to change to GorgeousGlo instead of piggydiva! So sorry!)
I found it a bit too full of statistics in the first two sections but the third section certainly motivated me to try to educate others about affluenza as well as what we can do in our home to simplify even more.
We don't have TV and we are "car-free". It's true about the perceived notion of it being "cute" to try to simplify our life. People say that it is a faze and that we will soon see the errors of our ways and go back to TV and driving. I can't see why people feel compelled to judge and mock, we don't meddle in their choices but they feel they can comment on ours. One woman actually berated my husband at work for not having a car!
I found the part about what government can do to be a bit frustrating because I doubt government members are reading this book and agreeing to change national policy. I do think, however, that the Global Warming issue has reached a new high and maybe we will start to see some changes. I certainly hope so!
Phiuff! All that in a book review! Thanks Gorgeousglo for sharing the book. I agree that a book like this needs to be shared. We can all make a difference if we all do our part.
It'll be mailed to oisec tomorrow.
Anyway, now, after a short interruption of being online (don't you just hate having the flu?), I'm back and can finally "officially" catch the book. I have two more bookrings before this one, but I'll hurry up and will let you know as soon as I started (with an update here). I can't wait to read this book!
Thanks for sharing, GorgeousGlo! Thanks for sending it on, Kimmi!
"Almost done, will send PM to next person today. Took me longer cause it's a rather huge book"
Good thing you are not on The Little Friend's ring then :-)
I have recently read this book, which links nicely with Affluenza (only that Affluenza is so much better in all aspects): click here
But I'm being nit-picky. It was interesting to compare the differences between American and British societies, especially work and its relationship to healthcare provision. And I found myself nodding in agreement with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and the way in which everything in our lives - health, diet, travel, work, entertainment - are linked.
I've PMd daemonwolf for an address and hopefully this book will be on its travels again shortly. Thanks for the opportunity to read it, GorgeousGlo!
Update: Posted second class on 9 November.
EDIT: Very simplistic, content has been covered better elsewhere. Very disappointing.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I have now got an address so this is in today's post batch - enjoy!
Email sent to Bluestocking88. Book will continue its journey soon.
February 17 - I now have Bluestocking88's address. Will send book off in a few days.
Thanks all for moving it along and to GorgeousGlo for getting this ring started.
The book's message was important, but an editor would have been nice to weed out typos and some of the preachy language. For some reason the thermometer graphics at the beginning of each chapter annoyed me. I agree with previous posters that a little more middleground would have been more helpful. Seemed like there were either the Joneses vs. the Corporate Attorneys that gave it all away to set up a non-profit organization to help others. What about those of us that aren't feeling quite that motivated?
I see myself viewing purchases differently. I am sorry to say I never considered my role in generating pollution when I buy things I want but don't really need. A pair of earrings looks so small and lovely in the box until I considered the mining operations used to manufacture them. My new pair of shoes is so comfortable, until I stopped to consider the chemicals that went into making them. My house is full of 'stuff' that filters in from everywhere and it is causing me a bit of discomfort after reading this book.
My husband is a workaholic from a line of workaholics. We were discussing this book and the simple question of what do we work FOR, that is what is important to us and how much do we NEED to work to get it, was truly revolutionary to us both. We don't need more, we need less. We have never been big TV watchers, but hearing our children parrot commercials after a few hours of TV last weekend was jarring to both of us. After our talk, my husband did the unthinkable, he started reading this book. Now he reads almost every night, but mainly work related journals--rarely does he read real books. He has started reading this book on his own. I have checked it out from the library so he can keep reading while this copy travels on its ring. Usually I would have just purchased a copy for him, but that just seemed to go against the entire idea behind the book.
We are making the first step in reprioritizing. As a family we have decided to turn off cable TV for six months. There are other electronics (like my best friend the computer and our video game system) but mindless advertising and tinny laugh tracks will be banished for six months. We expect to be letting go of many bins of 'stuff' in our house to make room for the important things in our lives and we will be actively innoculating the children against affluenza. I hope when my kids settle down they will look at this time as a crazy period in the distant past.
Thanks again for sharing. The book is wrapped up and going out in the morning mail to NMReader.
I am appreciative that this book was shared and what a better example of how to beat Affluenza then Bookcrossing.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I will drop at the PO while out running errands.
Thanks for hosting this ring, GorgeousGlo.
On its way tomorrow to Canada to continue its travels.
Thanks for offering this very interesting book.
Yikes! I just realized that I hadn't journalled this book or its release. I must admit, it took my awhile to read this book because I felt it was quite repetitive and sometimes extreme. It did cause me to reflect at times about my own consumption and spending.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
It was sent on its way to Verolyn! Hope you enjoy!
Just to let you know that it's not stalled, I started reading this book a few days ago and will try to finish it asap.
I already knew most of the questions dealt with but still, some figures are really amazing.
I enjoyed this book tremendously, I thought it was a very thought-provoking read - although perhaps not a great many thoughts that I had not thought before - well-written and with a lot of interesting facts. A book everyone could benefit from reading in our overconsumption society.
Right now I unfortunately have the flu, so my thought processes aren't up to speed ... There's a lot I could say about this book, but I think I'll have to go back and edit this JE later, when I'm well again. (The good news is that I don't think it can be the swine flu. ;-) I will get lucy-lemon's address and get the book moving again later this week.
Thanks again, Glo!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
The book's finally on its way.
Happy reading, lucy-lemon, and all the future readers of this important book.
I really enjoyed the book, and it offered some really interesting insights into commercialisation type stuff. Thanks for sharing!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Will be giving to the St Davids Hospice Shop on Lloyd Street.