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Oliver James

Author of Affluenza

30+ Works 1,207 Members 21 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Oliver James trained and practised as a clinical child psychologist. Since 1988, he has worked as a writer, journalist broadcaster and television documentary producer and presenter. His books include the bestselling Office Politics, Afluenza and Contented Dementia.
Image credit: Courtesy of Allen and Unwin

Works by Oliver James

Affluenza (2007) 449 copies
They F*** You Up (2002) 300 copies
Contented Dementia (2008) 77 copies
How Not to F*** Them Up (2010) 29 copies
Birds of Berkeley (2018) 13 copies

Associated Works

Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling [2009 film] (2009) — Actor — 8 copies


Common Knowledge



This is a pretty good book and I bought it cuz it wasn't too expensive but it's not quite what you might want in a Bowie biography there might be some other choices I would suggest.
laurelzito | 1 other review | Nov 28, 2022 |
Author feature 25 Bird of Berkeley - detailed, erudite and enlightening with lovely drawings.
m.belljackson | Oct 30, 2021 |
The title was obviously peddling self-help bait and I got this feeling throughout that the author seemed to be using Bowie as a prop to explain psychological disorders (and it's also one-sided), which didn't sit well with me. But, still, you know - BOWIE.
georgeybataille | 1 other review | Jun 1, 2021 |
I can sum up my emotions about this book in one word. Bilge!

James promises to provide evidence for all he writes and yet mistakes anecdotes for proof, and correlation for causation. I already believe in what he set out to say but he somehow manages to make such a mess of it I wanted to throw the book across the room. His basic premise is that we need to get away from constantly desiring new things, ie greed Capitalism. This is great, I wholeheartedly agree with him on this. However, he underpins his evidence of this by claiming that rich people are unhappy, and poor people are happy. This is a ridiculous generalisation for anyone to make, let alone a clinical psychologist. His evidence is endless, repetitive, anecdotal interviews with people that are clearly chosen because they back his viewpoint. I'm sure, given a few hours I could find rich people who are happy and poor people who are unhappy, yet magically he couldn't find any.

At the end of the book there is a section titled 'The Unselfish Capitalist Manifesto' where the book really takes a turn for the bizarre. It ends up being a 37 page tirade against specific Labour MP's and the party as a whole. I'm no fan of politicians in general but none of this ire is aimed at a Conservative MP. He stops just shy of telling people to vote for the Conservatives at the next election but only by the thinnest of margins. It felt as though he decided to use the space at the end of the book as a political campaign, justifying it by the most tenuous links possible to the premise of the book. From time to time I like to seek out books that oppose my viewpoints and they generally provide a few thinking moments or alter my thoughts about something. I think this is a good thing to do. Mental or physical debate to challenge your beliefs is ever more important in an age where we can surround ourselves in an echo chamber. However, this book almost made me go against something I strongly believe in because I hated it so much, and that is a first.
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Brian. | 10 other reviews | Mar 8, 2021 |


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