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Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (Englisch) Taschenbuch – August 2002

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In their eye-opening, soul-prodding look at the excess of American society, the authors of Affluenza include two quotations that encapsulate much of the book: T.S. Eliot's line "We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men," which opens one of this book's chapters, and a quote from a newspaper article that notes "We are a nation that shouts at a microwave oven to hurry up." If these observations make you grimace at your own ruthless consumption or sigh at the hurried pace of your life, you may already be ill. Read on.

The definition of affluenza, according to de Graaf, Wann, and Naylor, is something akin to "a painful, contagious, socially-transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more." It's a powerful virus running rampant in our society, infecting our souls, affecting our wallets and financial well-being, and threatening to destroy not only the environment but also our families and communities. Having begun life as two PBS programs coproduced by de Graaf, this book takes a hard look at the symptoms of affluenza, the history of its development into an epidemic, and the options for treatment. In examining this pervasive disease in an age when "the urge to splurge continues to surge," the first section is the book's most provocative. According to figures the authors quote and expound upon, Americans each spend more than $21,000 per year on consumer goods, our average rate of saving has fallen from about 10 percent of our income in 1980 to zero in 2000, our credit card indebtedness tripled in the 1990s, more people are filing for bankruptcy each year than graduate from college, and we spend more for trash bags than 90 of the world's 210 countries spend for everything. "To live, we buy," explain the authors--everything from food and good sex to religion and recreation--all the while squelching our intrinsic curiosity, self-motivation, and creativity. They offer historical, political, and socioeconomic reasons that affluenza has taken such strong root in our society, and in the final section, offer practical ideas for change. These use the intriguing stories of those who have already opted for simpler living and who are creatively combating the disease, from making simple habit alterations to taking more in-depth environmental considerations, and from living lightly to managing wealth responsibly.

Many books make you think the author has crammed everything he or she knows into it. The feeling you get reading Affluenza is quite different; the authors appear well-read, well-rounded, and intelligent, knowledgeable beyond the content of their book but smart enough to realize that we need a short, sharp jolt to recognize our current ailment. It's a well-worn cliché that money can't buy happiness, but this book will strike a chord with anyone who realizes that more time is more valuable than toys, and that our relentless quest for the latest stuff is breeding sick individuals and sick societies. Affluenza is, in fact, a clarion call for those interested in being part of the solution. --S. Ketchum -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


"The way to end a nightmare is to wake up, and Affluenza is an alarm clock. We have created a world that dishonors all that is honorable, good, and meaningful. There is another possibility." - Paul Hawken,, author of Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism; "Using humor, facts and compelling stories, Affluenza exposes the disease of over-consuming that threatens our health, families, budgets, friendships, communities and the environment.... But it doesn't stop there; it offers concret ideas that can contribute to healthier, happier lives and a more livable planet. I was mightily impressed by the film "Affluenza," but the book digs even deeper to illuminate the epidemic that's eating [the planet]. You should read it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you might even change your life - or extend it!" - David R. Brower, Chairman, Earth Island Institute, and Founder, Friends of the Earth

In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
"The mall is jam-packed with frantic holiday shoppers, unwitting and at-risk in an affluenza hot zone, armed only with credit cards and checkbooks." Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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Amazon.com: 130 Rezensionen
169 von 176 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Book to Read Again and Again 12. Juni 2001
Von Hope Marston - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
It's hard sometimes to live a simple life surrounded by "affluenza" and its effects. So for me, the book "Affluenza" has been really helpful in reminding me what's important in my life - it's not the "stuff." It's my life that I value. It's not all that's advertised to make me hungry for what I don't want. It's remembering what I do want in my life, and prioritizing that above those tantalizing baubles that are offered over and over again to deplete my bank account - to put me in debt - to put me in slavery to my possessions.
So, thank the authors for writing this important book that reminds me again and again who I am and why I have chosen to step back from all the glitter and acquisition. It reminds me why I work a 30 hour week, instead of a 40 hour week, and why I even hope to pare that down to a 25 hour week - so that the rest of my time can be spent on my life!
I like it that "Affluenza" isn't preachy or grim. It's light and humorous. It's fast-paced, like a television program - only without commercials. It's stock full of information about how we got to this place where money and things outweigh time with our families and time volunteering to make our communities stronger. And it gives examples and ideas about how to move forward into a place where each of us can get out of debt, and shift our priorities to what we truly value in this life that we only get to live one time.
David Horsey's cartoons are right on the money. They're witty and apt. The writing is visual and well-paced. Can you tell - I like this book! And it couldn't have come at a better time. A lot of us need to see its message. As for me, it's one of those books that I'll keep around to refer to when I feel particularly plagued by the lure of keeping up with any Joneses.
43 von 43 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
"Fast Food Nation" for the shop-'til-you-drop set 18. Mai 2004
Von M. Keller - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Although it's been some months since I finished "Affluenza," the book has stayed with me (and hasn't at the same time: I've loaned it to many appreciative friends). One of its most significant effects was helping me achieve what no financial planning book before it had: for the first time in the decade since leaving college, I've completely paid off my credit card debt. How did "Affluenza" help me do that? Well, if you read "Fast Food Nation" and thought you'd never want another to eat another Quarter Pounder again, you'll be able to relate; what Schlosser does for McDonald's, De Graff and Co. do for the mall. In a clear, straightforward fashion, "Affluenza" looks at the paralyzing effects the fever to consume brings upon us and offers simple strategies to start curbing the disease at its core -- even if that's just by forcing you to ask yourself, "Do I really need this?" before your next purchase.
Contrary to some of the reviews, I didn't find the book to be preachy or pedantic; actually, it was the book's common sense approach to the suffocating realities of our consumer society that made it so easy, in the months that followed finishing the book, to start spending sensibly, when at all. Armed with a new skepticism as to whether happiness was just one more swipe of the credit card away, I was able to put items back, turn deals down, and walk away with my money still in my pocket -- never once regretting the decision NOT to buy, in marked contrast to the many times I felt a hollow dread after dragging home another piece of crap to take its place atop the heap of crap bought before it (just like the book's cover).
If you're a person for whom happiness is carrying a plethora of brightly-colored shopping bags to your car on a Saturday afternoon, this may not be the book for you. If, however, you've noticed that you're drowning in stuff but no closer to the shore of contentment, this book can inject a little sanity into our otherwise credit-crazy world. I'm not promising it will get you out of credit card debt -- but it just might attack your drive to spend at its roots and give you a little more breathing room -- which, for less than $13, is a bargain you just can't pass up, don't you think?
120 von 133 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Mr. President, Have you Read This Book? 20. August 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Sure, I've heard about the disappearing rainforests and the many species of animals and plants becoming endangered or extinct, but that doesn't really have anything to do with me, I live in America, the most affluent country in the history of the world. Yes, there are some problems with industrial pollution and other environmental issues but not in my community and besides that's the concern of all those 'environmentalists.' I can go to the mall to buy anything I want as long as I have a credit card, and life is good.
Not so fast! It's time to stop and think about what is really happening to us. How many Americans are working in jobs that don't energize them? How many spend hours every week shopping and commuting, but only minutes with their kids or their friends? How many feel 'used up' by a glitzy, gaudy American Dream? The book Affluenza is common ground for many victims who toss and turn, trying to wake up from a value system in which people are too often treated like machines, and machines are too often treated like people. If a million Americans read this book, we may have a shot at moving beyond the short-term illusion many call 'success.' The book offers welcome news that the Joneses have surrendered! Standing on their front porch, they plead, 'Please don't try to keep up with us anymore!' What a concept - that we might be able to cooperate with and support the Joneses, rather than compete with them...
Do we have a good thing going, or a good thing going bad? The fact is, beating affluenza is not about 'giving up' the good life, but getting it back. The strength of this book is that it successfully presents critical information on the anthropology and psychology of America without stripping the reader of hope. Yes, affluenza undermines our personal health, our family life, our communities, and our environment, but the authors offer us a way out. Affluenza has a three-step strategy: to present the symptoms of a disease that often feels deceptively pleasant, like an addiction; to trace the epidemic back to its historical sources; and then to offer dozens of concrete ways to Beat the Bug. The strategy works! The humor, the great satirical cartoons, and the well-researched presentation helped open my mind up and evaluate what's important for me individually, and also what needs to be done throughout our society. This is a great book for book clubs, church discussion groups, high school and college classrooms. Get it, read it, and tell your friends about it!
28 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
There is a Cure! 11. Juni 2001
Von Claire Shepherd Lanier - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
What I like best about Affluenza is its' groundedness in the familiar icons and rites of American culture. It critiques and lampoons many of our foibles,frustrations, flaws, and white-hot flashes of brilliance. With great, often humorous bedside manner and expert grasp of its' subject over consumption -- it takes the temperature and pulse of our daily lives to make a troubling diagnosis: individually and collectively, our culture is plugged into life support systems that are out of control! Yikes!
With structure and content that flow accessibly, the authors move us beyond a stupefied state of denial, forcing us to admit that changes are necessary. The reader is reassured that affluenza is curable -- that millions have already kicked the addictive virus.
I learned 81% of the worlds population would qualify for Americas food stamp program, and that America spends more just on garbage bags than 110 countries spend for everything! Isnt there something a little perverse about our economic dominance and our environmental obliviousness? A sentence from the books cures section really made sense to me: Think about all the money we spend to fight various diseases, many of which (like allergies, cancer, diabetes, and stroke) are caused or aggravated by affluent lifestyles. Then remember that affluenza is one disease we can cure by spending less money, not more.
Affluenza's story-told reminders about other kinds of wealth besides money make it an important book for our distracted, obsessed society. I hope this book is widely read in America and overseas, where international media routinely peddle the glitz of American culture without sufficient mention of the real costs. I watched the PBS program Affluenza several years ago, and found it to be one of the most effective programs on this topic I'd seen. I wasn't disappointed to discover that the book version is even more comprehensive, accessible, and compelling.
***** Claire Lanier, Taos, New Mexico
19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
One Of Those Books That Makes You Go Hmmmm 14. Februar 2005
Von Bruce Allen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This was a great book that opened my eyes to a lot ot things going on here at home and indeed around the world. A truly eye-opening account on the downfall of society and what went wrong with the "American Dream". From the days when a credit card was only offered to a select few, to a nation teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, it really made me stop and re-examine my priorities in life and what matters most to me.

I agree with review below in that we have become so materialistic within the last few decades that we have lost our way as a nation and as a society. We have become a nation of people who only want the "best of the best", at any cost. We are raising a whole generation of kids and teenagers who simply don't understand the value of money because they feel it's their God-given right to have anything they want--or else. Many of us are so deep in debt that we never stop to realize the consequences that it's going to have on future generations. We rely on cheap, imported goods that has turned us into a throw-away society. The Middle-class is collapsing, poverty is increasing, credit use is out of control. We are outsourcing jobs to China and Mexico where cheap labor is abundant and plentiful. We have more credit cards than money, closets full of junk that we never use, 62 inch TV sets and $1000 home theatre systems. Back when I was growing up, a 20" TV set was the standard. Today, the MINIMUM that qualifies for a decent set is 32 inches! VCR's have been replaced by DVD recorders, TIVO's, and a host of other digital gadgetry. We have an "all or nothing" attitude when it comes to determining what we want out of life. GIMME GIMME GIMME! Me, Myself, and I. All part of this selfish, "me generation" that has devoured our culture and ruined our financial future. The authors do offer some hope that this current trend CAN be reversed, but not before it's almost too late. I think we all need to sit back and take a good look around us and start asking ourselves a LOT of questions about who we really are, where we are heading, and how we are going to get there.

I highly recommend that EVERYONE have this book in their home library. It should also be required reading in every college and university across the country, particularly for those studying sociology and economics. Am I worried about my future? YOU BET! BUT the book also offers us hope and consolation that we can stop this nonsense right now and reverse the trend before it's too late. The choice is ultimately up to all of us. I wish you all the best.
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