Clinical psychologist Slosar draws on research and 25 years of practice to analyze the impact on human development of what he calls the culture of excess. Americans live with an abundance of wealth, material things, and amusements, yet research has shown that we come up short on happiness measurements. Slosar begins by examining how the economic sector, with its emphasis on financial gain at all costs, led to the recent financial collapse and concerns about the excesses of capitalism. He goes on to explore how rampant narcissism drives risk-taking and the need for immediate gratification and how it has led to a decline in critical thinking. He offers vignettes from his practice and cites examples of the personal and societal consequences of a lack of self-control: rise in obesity and eating disorders, debt, gambling, impulsive behavior, and corporate fraud. Slosar concludes with suggestions on how parents, teachers, and policymakers can steer children and youth away from the insidious effects of excess and change the popular American emphasis on self-esteem to one of self-control. --Vanessa Bush
• Shows how the extraordinary growth of capitalism, technology, and media interact and become additive factors to the loss of self-control
• Defines the underlying cause of declining self-control as cultural narcissism, which leads to excessive risk taking
• Explains how the compromises made in adapting to intense economic competition lead to a false sense of self and reality
• Connects the rise of cultural excess to a decline in critical thinking and analysis that fosters an avoidance of data, numbers, and math
• Numerous vignettes and case studies illustrate the major themes of the book
• Dozens of research citations at the end of each chapter
• An extensive bibliography referencing 75 professional journals and 48 books
• A comprehensive index
"When The Culture of ExcesS≪/i> was first offered to me to review, my first thought was am I the right person for this book? It only took me a few minutes and pages to realize that I would be fine for this book because I found the book was so much more than what I had expected. Dr. J. R. Slosar for me, most importantly, wrote this book in a way that made it easy to follow and understand. His goal seemed, in some ways, not far off from what I had been trying to do in a classroom as a teacher for the last few years prior to my retirement, and that was to get those young people to understand that their self-indulgence was very harmful to them as well as society as a whole. . . . The Culture of ExcesS≪/i> is a thought provoking must-read for those who want a better life and society for themselves and their children and want to be part of a 'We' Society at last!"
"This book, written by a clinical psychologist offers a different perspective, which makes it stand out in this now-crowded genre of literature. Slosar provides an interesting examination of the psychological and social influences that affect us as a culture, setting up circumstances that made our clamor for money outpace our collective common sense. The prose is thoughtful, but not necessarily sanguine that we might not make the same mistakes again if given a chance."
Reference & Research Book News
"Meticulously researched…written in a marvelously readable, breezy style…I heartily recommend this excellent book, and would recommend it for chapter 5 along, but it's all a really great read!"
"Dr. Slosar gives us the perspective of the discipline of psychology, both as applied to individuals and as applied to our culture…Dr. Slosar shows us why addressing our cultural narcissism must be an integral part of achieving health care justice for all."
Physicians for a National Health Program