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Affluenza, Book Review



Authors: DeGraaf, Wann and Naylor
Book Review By The Literate Chicks

Greetings from The Literate Chicks! We decided to do things slightly different when it comes to reviewing books – we get straight to the point. Our 1-5 "flip flop" rating system will give you a quick way to separate the flip from the flop. For each book, we offer two short reviews, complete with why we did or didn't like what we read. Each review comes with a Best Line feature too, because there is always at least one memorable sentence in a book.

Suzanne’s Rating: 3-1/2 flip flops
This social commentary sums up our times in a nutshell: basically, we’ve gone from being citizens to being consumers, confusing standard of living with quality of life. The authors explain why this is bad while reviewing the “symptoms” of our culture’s rampant materialism, the causes, and some possible cures. The book is strong in the first two sections, but a little weak on cures. That said, they don’t gloss over the major lifestyle changes we need to make if we want to improve the quality of life in our nation. Their discussion of time is particularly revealing of how skewed our society has become. Until a few decades ago, time was considered more valuable than money. Time, they remind us, is life. They further state that leisure is how people enjoy their life/time, i.e. leisure isn’t laziness, as our workaholic culture would have us believe. I also found the recent history of these values to be very interesting, especially how both liberals and conservatives used to promote a simpler, more meaningful life, until a mere few decades ago.

Best Line: “The more real wealth we have – such as friends, skills, libraries, wilderness, and afternoon naps – the less money we need in order to be happy.” (pg. 112)

Jennifer’s Rating: 4 flip flops
My favorite line gives you an indication of the feel of this book – eye opening, and stomach tightening… I saw some of my own wasteful flaws in this book, will you?  “Affluenza” gives many staggering and sometimes frightening facts about society today. From subjects such as global warming and keeping up with the “Joneses” with huge amounts of debt, including the fact that more people go bankrupt each year than graduate from college. This book can be redundant at times, but I feel it should be read by most Americans. I agree with the authors of this book too, that we all need to take responsibility for ourselves and our country before it’s too late.

Best Line: “The accumulation of material goods is at an all-time high, but so is the number of people that who feel an emptiness in their lives.” 

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