Consumerism

I Want That! How We All Became Shoppers

By Thomas Hine

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"Choosing and using objects is a primal human activity, and I Want That! is nothing less than a portrait of humanity as the species that shops. We shop to nourish our bodies and to feed our fantasies. We shop to belong to groups. We shop to define ourselves as individuals. We shop to be powerful. We shop to be responsible. We shop to celebrate. We shop because we don't want to miss out on the excitement of life. I Want That! shows how these fundamental desires play out in today's malls, Web sites, boutiques, and superstores.

"The book also offers a lively, fast-paced history of finding, choosing, and spending. It makes stops in the crossroads markets in which prehistoric merchants traded gold, amber, and obsidian; in the agora in Athens, where sharp setters wet their wool to make it weigh more, and everyone came to buy, talk, eat, and get their hair done."

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Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture

By Juliet B. Schor

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"Schor, author of 'The Overworked American' and 'The Overspent American,' looks at the broad implications of this strategy. Sophisticated advertising strategies convince kids that products are necessary to their social survival. Ads affect not just what they want to buy, but who they think they are and how they feel about themselves. Based on long-term analysis, Schor reverses the conventional notion of causality: it's not just that problem kids become overly involved in the values of consumerism; it's that kids who are overly involved in the values of consumerism become problem kids. In this revelatory and crucial book, Schor also provides guidelines for parents and teachers. What is at stake is the emotional and social well-being of our children."

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Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There

By David Brooks

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A brilliant description of upscale culture in America. Laugh (and cry) as you read about the information age economy's new dominant class. Marvel at their attitudes toward morality, sex, work, and lifestyle, and at how the members of this new elite have combined the values of the countercultural sixties with those of the achieving eighties. These are the people who set the tone for society today, for you. They are bourgeois bohemians: Bobos. Are you a Bobo?

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Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic

By John D Graaf

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"In chapters with titles like Swollen Expectations and A Rash of Bankruptcies, 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. The authors examine the origins, evolution, and symptoms of the affluenza epidemic. But more importantly, they explore cures and suggest strategies for rebuilding families and communities and for restoring and respecting the earth."

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The Overspent American: Upscaling, Downshifting, and the New Consumer

By Juliet B. Schor

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"The Overspent American explores why so many of us feel materially dissatisfied, why we work staggeringly long hours and yet walk around with ever-present mental 'wish lists' of things to buy or get, and why Americans save less than virtually anyone in the world."
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Feed

By M.T. Anderson

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"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." So says Titus, a teenager whose ability to read, write, and even think for himself has been almost completely obliterated by his "feed," a transmitter implanted directly into his brain. Feeds are a crucial part of life for Titus and his friends. After all, how else would they know where to party on the moon, how to get bargains at Weatherbee #38; Crotch, or how to accessorize the mysterious lesions everyone's been getting? But then Titus meets Violet, a girl who cares about what's happening to the world and challenges everything Titus and his friends hold dear. A girl who decides to fight the feed. The audiobook version of this book is highly recommended for an eerie narration including commercial jingles and the "feed" experience.
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