Top critical review
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Misses the mark but an important topic regardless..(2.5 stars)
on June 4, 2007
Affluenza has its heart in the right place but unfortunately fails in the execution, which is a shame since the message of the book is dead on. Western society has a serious problem with mass consumption brought on by media, politics and societal institutions. Studies have shown that people who simplify their lives and consume less, are actually happier in the long run.
The bulk of Affluenza sums up the issues from various different angles. It delves into the history of consumerism and how interest groups have their hold on the current system. As the book progresses it hints as various solutions to the problems which are pretty much of the buy less, drive less and eat less meat variety.
My problem with Affluenza is twofold. The book is poorly written and I'm referring mostly to the pacing. It will bring up a topic and quickly start describing a fictional family in some hokey situation to try to bring the point home. This gets old before it even begins and just doesn't work. The authors focus too long on most points and the I quickly started scanning through complete chapters that really offered little insight that logical people haven't already concluded.
This brings me to my next point....who is this book meant for? It's very preaching when it should be engaging. The people I know who would be interested in this book would find it too pedestrian because of their high knowledge content of the topic already. The people who should read this probably wouldn't be able to get through a third of it. This brings up the more important question of how to reach the general public on important issues that require people to sacrifice.
Bottom Line: Credits to the authors for the purpose, research and effort, but there is a very selective few I would give this book to.