- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (September 7, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316030287
- ISBN-13: 978-0316030281
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,889,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In CHEAP We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Guilt-free consumption has always been a cherished American value, but this book explores its flip side: a historical engagement with thriftiness, starting in the pre-revolutionary days with Benjamin Franklin, championed by reformers Booker T. Washington and Lydia Marie Child, taken to absurd lengths by the 19th-century miserly millionaire Hetty Green, espoused by economist John Maynard Keynes and married to environmental concerns by contemporary conservationists. Journalist Weber's treatise begins with recollecting her father's conservative habits and ramifies into a far-ranging examination of social programs, alternative movements and mainstream institutions including savings banks, home economics, industrial efficiency experts, freegans, economists and war departments, all of which promote some form of frugality. While failing to provide a satisfying distinction between cheapness and thrift, the author provides a rich canvas from which to consider American ambivalence about saving; she examines how thriftiness became a racist pejorative hurled at Jewish and Asian immigrants. While the rise of consumer culture and advertising undercut individual and social efforts to save, the author also finds structural reasons for our profligacy in growing financial illiteracy, wage stagnation and deregulated financial markets. (Sept.)
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"Never preachy or sanctimonious, In Cheap We Trust is one of the most fascinating and life-altering books I've read this year. Its insights are profound. If you want to lighten your footprint while deepening the quality of your life, you'll love this book." (John Robbins, author Diet For A New America, The Food Revolution, and The New Good Life)
"Consumers have been researched to death. It's about time the tightwads among us got the same kind of loving attention. In Cheap We Trust is immensely readable and highly illuminating - the perfect guide to the oncoming era of like-it-or-not thrift." (Jim Lardner, co-author of Up to Our Eyeballs: How Shady Lenders and Failed Economic Policies Are Drowning Americans in Debt)
"This book has a far better chance of making cheapness socially acceptable than Ben Franklin, Jack Benny, and my father combined." (Joel Stein, Time columnist)
Top customer reviews
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1. Tends to read like a history textbook.
2. Is informative, but not compelling reading; that is, somewhat interesting without being absorbing.
3. Abundant historical insights that only marginally touch on being cheap/frugal.
4. An over-emphasis on the sterotyping of Jews and Chinese.
Then, about two-thirds into the book I did a near about face (so, not entirely). Let me represent my partial-enthusiasm via a few quotes:
Page 197: ...Americans in 2007 shelled out 38% more money for health care and housing than in 2000--but they also spent 45% more on entertainment and 68% more on pets, toys and hobbies.
Page 203: Like a compulsive shopping addict, the country has been charging up its credit [to other nations] with NO (emphasis mine) plans for paying it off.
page 205: If people are willing to save--to obstain from present consumption and wait for future consumption--then society can devote resources to new capital goods.
Page 246-7: [Cheapness] speaks of meanness, rigidity, abstinence, and deprivation. It overlooks the satisfactions and psychic rewards of cheapness, and the extreme generosity I see in ... plenty of other parsimonious individuals.
Page 264: ...The more of something we have, the less pleasure we derive from each additional unit of it. [Of course, this is truly a personal opinion.]
Page 265: By being frugal, people maximize psychic enjoyment when they do treat themselves. That's the mission of the frugal person. It creates perspective.
If you've got a weekend with little to do or are headed for vacation, pick this one up and take it with you. You'll enjoy it, you'll laugh and you'll learn a couple of things.
I can't wait to see what Weber comes up with next!
The delivery of this book from Amazon.com was great. So was the price.
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