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The All-consuming Epidemic
De Graaf, John (Book - 2005)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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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 like ""Swollen Expectations"" and ""A Rash of Bankruptcies,"" the authors examine the origins, evolution, and symptoms of the affluenza epidemic. Yet they also explore cures and suggest strategies for rebuilding families and communities and for restoring and respecting the earth. Demonstrating that now, more than ever, Americans need ways of fighting the affliction, this edition includes a new introduction and updated figures, adds information on the impacts of stress and overwork, and provides an in-depth look at various campaigns and movements offering solutions for today's problems. Engaging, fast-paced, and accessible, it reexamines a serious, far-reaching issue for a wide audience.
Authors: De Graaf, John
Title: Affluenza
the all-consuming epidemic
Publisher: San Francisco, CA : Berrett-Koehler ; Berkeley, CA : Publishers Group West [distributor], c2005
Edition: 2nd ed
Characteristics: xxii, 288 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm
Statement of Responsibility: John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H. Naylor in association with Redefining Progress ; with new research by Pamela Rands ; illustrations by David Horsey ; new foreword by Vicki Robin
Notes: Based in part on the PBS television programs "Affluenza" and "Escape from Affluenza."
ISBN: 1576753573
Branch Call Number: 306.0973 D321a 2005
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index
Subject Headings: Quality of life United States Wealth United States Consumption (Economics) United States United States Social conditions 1980- United States Economic conditions 1981-2001 United States Civilization 1970-
Topical Term: Quality of life
Consumption (Economics)
LCCN: 2005045324
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The new term for keeping up with the Joneses.

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Mar 21, 2014
  • sarahblossom rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This gets two stars for topic - the excess of American consumer culture and how is making us all miserable. I couldn't finish this book for reasons of style. The first quarter of the book simply ticks off statistic after statistic supporting this central tenet. (I can practically hear Amy Goodman's voice in my head grimly detailing how the size of SUVs has increased over the years...) Sure, the authors like to repeat the term "affluenza" a zillion times in the course of the book - clever at first, but it becomes grating. What bothers me most though is that I'm not getting the sense that there is a lot of curiousity here about WHY people behave this way or WHAT can be done about it, but I'll admit to putting this thing down after reading just a quarter of it. Perhaps it is simply outdated? The Great Recession changed a lot in the US - last I heard SUV sales are WAY down, same with home sizes, and people are moving away from the suburbs and back to the cities! This book might be good for you if the concept of intentional living is new, but at this stage in the game for me, it is pretty elementary, dated stuff.

Sep 22, 2013
  • CatherineLibrarian rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Tired of trying to keep up with the Jones? You don't have to!! Jump off the consumption treadmill and take a good look at what ails you in this irreverent take on consumer culture. A great book for self-reflection!

Mar 25, 2010
  • LibrarianMan rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great book based the DVD of the same name. Good critique of overconsumerism of North American lifestyle. A call to volunteer simplicity


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