Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic

Registered by herebedragons of Cotati, California USA on 1/10/2006
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by herebedragons from Cotati, California USA on Tuesday, January 10, 2006
This is an amazing book which is just about guaranteed to change the way you look at spending habits - both personal, and those of society as a whole. GREAT book - I highly recommend reading it.

This copy is on its way to Synergy! Enjoy! :)

Journal Entry 2 by synergy from San Antonio, Texas USA on Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I'd never heard of this book before, but it sounds really good. I can't wait to read it. Thanks herebedragons. :)

Journal Entry 3 by synergy from San Antonio, Texas USA on Sunday, October 07, 2007
2007 Book #11 - Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John De Graaf, David Wann, & Thomas H. Naylor

Stemming from some conversation with friend , she suggested and lent me this book. I think I got it quite some time ago, but it always takes me forever to get around to some books. I have so many that each must just wait their turn! lol So, from the back of the book:
affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.

Based on two highly acclaimed PBS documentaries, Affluenza uses the metaphor of a disease to tackle a very serious subject: the damage done - to our health, our families, our communities, and our environment - by the obsessive quest for material gain. The authors show that problems like loneliness, rising debt, longer working hours, environmental pollution, family conflict and rampant commercialism are actually symptoms caused by the same "disease": affluenza.

Affluenza presents the symptoms - stress of excess, family convulsions, dilated pupils, resource exhaustion - along with their historical and cultural origins. Most importantly, the book explores causes and curse, such as the "new frugality" and "voluntary simplicity" movements, and suggests strategies for rebuilding families and communities and for restoring and respecting the earth.

Engaging, fast-paced, and accessible, Affluenza takes a hard look at a complex and serious issue, revealing ways of living and working that make more sense and are, ultimately, more satisfying. After all, the best things in life aren't things.

It's been nearly 5 months since I finished reading this book, so let me think... I've read quite a few books along this type, but decided to go with this one because it was recommended, the title sounded intriguing, and later because I found it interesting that it was based on something made by PBS. I think it has a lot of important information important to the topic of rabid consumerism, but I don't think it really had any new information for me. The metaphor of "affluenza" as a social disease akin to a phyical disease, on my opinion, got stretched way too far. I felt a little talked down to and that metaphor and the writing in general was pretty heavy-handed. I think that someone picking up a book on the topic could get a little insulted and turned from it because of that.

In addition, I became a little tentative about continuing on when I started reading some of the places data was being quoted from and the people being quoted as well. Although there were some people such as George Carlin being quoted at the tops of chapters whom you'd not associate with being conservative, there were also quotes from people such as Ted Haggard (virulently anti-gay who resigned/was fired over allegations of homosexual sex and drug use to which he later confessed) and data from Focus on the Family (if I remember correctly). The use of neo-conservative leaders and organizations left a little bit of a sour taste and rounded out my dislike for what I was already feeling like preaching. I think this stems from my bias towards believing that you should do something because it's the right thing to do and not because religion/the Bible tells you to do it OR ELSE.

Overall, it is well researched and does have a lot of useful and true information, but it was just the preachiness and heavy-handedness that got my dander up. I'm not sure if I would suggest it as a first book to read on the subject, but it would be useful as one view if you're first beginning to look into it.

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