Why We've Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever

Book - 2015
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For many of us, our possessions and the lifestyle that goes along with them are causing more stress than happiness--otherwise known as "keeping up with the Joneses" or what Alain de Botton calls "status anxiety." But James Wallman argues that we are approaching a tipping point with regard to materialism. People are turning away from the endless drive to consume in favor of a simpler, more streamlined way of living. The shift is already underway: influential millennials favor Zipcars over owning cars, share music on Spotify, and read e-books rather than accumulating a bulky physical library. Wallman blames our obsession with "stuff" on the original Mad Men who first "created desire" through advertising, with unintended consequences that ripple through our lives today. He interviews anthropologists studying the 21st century clutter crisis, consults with scientists who have linked "stuffocation" to rising cortisol levels and declining psychological wellbeing, and introduces us to the innovators who are already choosing "experience" over "stuff." A paradigm-shifting look at how and why we consume, and an inspiring manifesto for living more with less.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, [2015]
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780812997590
Characteristics: xxxiii, 281 pages ; 24 cm


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May 02, 2017

This is more about the history of consumerism and economism than a self-help book. However, I found it to be very interesting because it covered the history of how things shifted when we got to the Industrial Revolution period. People were working in factories to make things and the cost of items went down as more people could afford to buy things like clothes and household items. The author talks about different categories under Minimalism and argues that instead of focusing entirely on having less or keeping track of number of items, a better outlook of this is experimentist. Why? Because if you shift your attitude and focus from how many things you have/own to actually enjoying life experiences, it will help make it less challenging as you slowly realize experiences like a getaway weekend, eating out, skydiving, etc. has more meaning compared to most of our things in our possession.

Don't expect this to be a self-help book on how to get rid of your possessions, but you might be inspired to take some action. This book is more of an examination of how consumerism developed, how it has changed over time, and why we are always seeking status--even when we give away everything we own.

JCLJoleneG Jul 01, 2015

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your possessions, this author confirms that you are not alone. Many variations on the down-sizing theme!


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