Synopses & Reviews
NEW EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATED
Now more alarming than ever!
Based on two highly acclaimed PBS documentaries watched by 10 million viewers, Affluenza uses the whimsical 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. In cleverly titled chapters such as “Swollen Expectations” and “A Rash of Bankruptcies,” the authors examine the origins, evolution, and symptoms of the affluenza epidemic. They also explore cures and suggest strategies for rebuilding families and communities and for restoring and respecting the earth.
The 2008 economic collapse demonstrated how prophetic this book was and how relevant it still is. The third edition has been updated to reflect the role overconsumption played in the collapse and how our economy and society have changed since then. There is also information about new ways to measure social health and success, such as the Gross Domestic Happiness index, which could help us wipe out affluenza.
The authors update their critique of over-consumption, which beganlife as a documentary on PBS, in light of recent developments. In the first part of the book they discuss "symptoms" of the "disease,"including stress, damage to families, civic degeneration, resource exhaustion, and environmental degradation. They then seek out causes,offering an analysis of the history of the structural politics of over-consumption in the United States. Finally, they report onhopeful trends that run counter to over-consumption (e.g., the rise of home gardening, car-sharing programs, etc.) and offer advice bothstructural and for individuals on how to fight the problems of over-consumption.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
“Affluenza has easily passed the test of time and become an American classic, the book that raised our crisis of consumption to national awareness." Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and founder, 350.org
“This witty yet hard-hitting book provides evidence of the social problems caused by the American obsession with acquiring 'stuff' and proposes solutions for living more sustainably. Highly recommended.” Library Journal
“The authors have packed their book with stunning facts, searing insights — and they point out a path forward.” Fast Company
“Clear, witty and heartfelt.” Sojourners
“It is not a book that shakes a finger in our faces and reprimands hardworking Americans for wanting a little more comfort, elegance, and enjoyment...it creates something of real value — a new way of accounting for true happiness in our lives.” Scott Simon, Weekend Edition host, National Public Radio
NEW EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATED
affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
We tried to warn you! The 2008 economic collapse proved how resilient and dangerous affluenza can be. Now in its third edition, this book can safely be called prophetic in showing how problems ranging from loneliness, endless working hours, and family conflict to rising debt, environmental pollution, and rampant commercialism are all symptoms of this global plague.
The new edition traces the role overconsumption played in the Great Recession, discusses new ways to measure social health and success (such as the Gross Domestic Happiness index), and offers policy recommendations to make our society more simplicity-friendly. The underlying message isn't to stop buying — it's to remember, always, that the best things in life aren't things.
About the Author
John de Graaf is an independent documentary producer who is the recipient of more than 100 awards for filmmaking, including three Emmy awards. He is currently active in the Happiness Initiative (www.happycounts.org) and is an advisor to the prime minister of Bhutan.
David Wann is the author of ten books on sustainable lifestyles and designs and the producer of twenty-five documentaries, several of them award winners. He codesigned the cohousing neighborhood he lives in and coordinates the community garden.
Thomas H. Naylor is a professor emeritus of economics at Duke University and is the author of over thirty books.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Symptoms
1. Shop til You Dropsy
2. A Rash of Bankruptcies
3. Digital Dyspepsia
4. Chronic Congestion
5. The Stress of Excess
6. Family Convulsions
7. Dilated Pupils
8. Community Chills
9. An Ache for Meaning
10. Social Scars
11. Resource Exhaustion
12. Industrial Diarrhea
13. The Addiction to Dissatisfaction
Part Two: Causes
14. Original Sin
15. An Ounce of Prevention
16. The Toad Not Taken
17. The Emerging Epidemic
18. The Age of Affluenza
19. Is There a (Real) Doctor in the House?
Part Three: Treatment
20. The Road to Recovery
21. Bed Rest
22. Aspirin and Chicken Soup
23. Fresh Air
24. The Right Medicine
25. Back to Work
26. Vaccinations and Vitamins
27. Political Prescriptions
28. Annual Check-Ups
29. Healthy Again