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Affluenza by Oliver James
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Affluenza (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Oliver James

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330None33,265 (3.07)9
Member:rory1000
Title:Affluenza
Authors:Oliver James
Info:Vermilion (2007), Edition: reprint, Paperback, 592 pages
Collections:Your library, IR, Politics, History & War
Rating:****1/2
Tags:strong views

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Affluenza by Oliver James (2007)

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The basic point ('Capitalism is bad for you') is of course sound, but damn, this book was tedious. The pseudo-scientific pomposity and lazy cultural racism ('such and such people are x; such and such people are y') grated on my nerves, and it didn't tell me much I didn't already know. Some of the 'arguments' are so convoluted you wonder why you're bothering trying to follow them. The dude just came up with an idea and then got money to go round the world looking for evidence to substantiate it. Any 12 year old could tell you that's a terrible way to do your research.

It's possible this book had some great points towards the end, but by then I was skim reading. ( )
  anotherLondoner | Oct 30, 2012 |
James gropes towards an interesting thesis but ends up losing it in a sludge of boring anecdotal research (some of which is so obviously unrepresentative as to be pointless - how many psychotic criminal billionaires do you meet every day?) and off colour colloquialisms. Instead he finds truisms. Materialism is bad for you. Unrestrained capitalism breeds materialism. If he had truly examined the link (if there is one) between capitalism and societal neurosis, and thought deeply about just how we have got ourselves into this state, he might have had something new to say.

Instead this book is just a vehicle for his 60s style psychoanalytical homilies and nurture-over-nature polemics, all served up with some warmed over pieties about how the first three years of life lay the basis for everything that comes afterwards. With some frankly embarrassing political prescriptions for dessert. ( )
1 vote dazzyj | Mar 11, 2012 |
This book has some really wholesome ideas that we all need to hear now and again. It reminds us that we aren't defined by the brand of our shoes, the cost of our watch and the postcode we live in, it reminds us to be grateful for our abundant lives. However, somewhere around 2/3 of the way through James starts on a diatribe about day care and I start to understand his assumption is that we all work for money, that people using day care must only be doing it because they want more possessions - what about the satisfaction of working hard at work that fulfills you, and at the end of the day sharing some moments of that with your children, hoping that they too will grow up and find such satisfaction. I had to stop reading at this point. He has a series of interviews that become increasingly disturbing as he categorises people and sums up their menial existance from his higher plane of knowledge. I wouldn't profess to know a person so well that I can judge them that way, at least I try to remember not to, James should too. ( )
  booksbooks11 | Feb 26, 2011 |
dreadful ( )
  flobmac | Dec 16, 2010 |
CURRENTLY READING. Will come later...
  libraryinfoservices | Oct 27, 2010 |
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The Affluenza Virus is a set of values which increase our vulnerability to emotional distress.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0091900115, Paperback)

There is currently an epidemic of “affluenza” throughout the world — an obsessive, envious keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that has resulted in huge increases in depression and anxiety among millions. Over a nine-month period, author and psychologist Oliver James travelled around the world to try and find out why.

He discovered how, despite very different cultures and levels of wealth, affluenza is spreading. Cities he visited include Sydney, Singapore, Moscow, Copenhagen, New York and Shanghai. In each place he interviewed groups of people to try to find out not only why this is happening, but also how one can increase one’s emotional immune system.

He asks: Why do so many people want what they don’t have, despite being richer and freer from traditional restraints than ever before? In asking this question, he uncovers the way to reconnect with what really matters and learn to value what we have. In other words, how to be successful and stay sane.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

There is currently an epidemic of 'affluenza' throughout the world, an obsessive, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses, that has resulted in huge increases in depression & anxiety among millions. Over a nine-month period, Oliver James travelled around the world to try and find out why.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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