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on April 28, 2015
Having been in the business field for over 40 years and seeing firsthand the rise of egregious consumption and the shameless advertising that fuels it, Benjamin Barber has very ably identified many of the contributing factors, not the least of which are our collective cultural boredom and our naive but doomed expectations of fulfillment via uncontrolled acquisition. The infantilist ethos to which he alludes is virtually ubiquitous, not only in the marketplace, but in almost every area of our existence. The collusion of the social influences of our time have coalesced to eviscerate all meaning and purpose from our common pursuits. Or, in the words of Paul David Tripp, "to shrink the size of our lives to the size of our lives." While sadly not giving more insights on how to possibly resist and subvert this pernicious situation, Barber does sound a cogent alarm without being extremist. A valuable resource in further understanding how rampant consumption and self-obsession not only impact our beliefs but our lifestyles as well.
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on November 15, 2013
Informative but repetitive and really if you've read one of Barber's books you've heard all of what's in this one before. If it's your first read then you may find it interesting. I read it for my class...LAME.
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on June 22, 2017
Great book, but incredibly dense and difficult to move through quickly.
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on June 15, 2014
Eye opening treatise that exposes consumer capitalism for what it is and offers solutions. Will never look at business the same.
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on February 28, 2017
The book was in very good condition, but there was a picture of a young man with a private part of a male around the area of his head!!!
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on March 6, 2008
I really enjoyed this book. It isn't perfect, but does offer a perspective on how corporations have socially manipulated people into buying "stuff" they don't really need. After highlighting the heck out of it, I forwarded the book to friends who also enjoyed it. I'm the type of person who can afford a Lexus, but bought the Toyota because I can't rationalize the markup for an equal vehicle. Those who can understand where I am coming from will enjoy this book. Those who would rather purchase a product based on the "brand" may not enjoy it. Hope this helps a bit. =-)
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on September 24, 2007
Benjamin R. Barber's "Consumed" is a hard book to read but a necessary one. Barber tells us how capitalism once met the "needs" of people and that it now just meets what he calls "faux" demand. It's the rise of the protestant ethics and ethos that has made capitalism thrive until today. The rise of infantilization and the dumbing of consumers has given corporations the power to control our so called "wants." Barber doesn't give us a solid solution to this (even he admits it will take a big effort) growing problem but it is a start.
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on August 16, 2007
I see a number of other reviewers belittling the book because of some trivial factual error regarding sports figures or celebrities, but in my eyes those points merely underscores the point that Barber is trying to make. In the end the constant media focus on these types of people is in my eyes a mass distraction. Does it change my life one iota when a drunken celebrity does something stupid? Not at all, but the media covers it for hour on end, and people lap it up.

People defend popular culture such as Harry Potter or Shrek, but these are all pure escapism and have very little relevance to our daily lives. Reviewers of those films make tortured comparisons to try and prove relevance to daily life, but the sad fact is that many people have become conditioned to not expect more, and perhaps not even have the patience to view a more substantive work.

Other reviewers insist that they aren't manipulated and that they have free choice. To an extent that is true, but one can easily argue that many people are making poor choices because they have been so deeply conditioned by advertisers. How can you justify spending 50K$ on a car, and replacing it when it is 3 years old when an inexpensive well-made car will fulfill the basic needs of transportation and may last 5-8 years instead? How can you justify spending money on bottled water when tap water in most areas is just fine? And how can you justify accumulating tens of thousands in consumer debt just to acquire all of this stuff? There are countless such examples all over the place.

And finally, there is the paradigm that runs deeply through our society that having more money and having more material goods will somehow make you happier. The problem is that these desires can never be satisfied - there is always something more, and there is always someone else who has more. In the end all of this materialism leaves people feeling empty, and the only tonic that they know to try and fill the void is to go out and shop some more.

On the other hand, if you can reach a point where you are content with what you have, you may find that many of the things that you do have are completely superfluous and can be donated to Goodwill or sold. Get rid of enough stuff, and that McMansion will seem empty, and a more modest and affordable house may meet your needs quite nicely.
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on March 22, 2008
This book does much more to define the "McWorld" that was the subject of most of Barber's "Jihad vs. McWorld". His criticism of our contemporary consumerist market economy is well founded and legitimate, but I found several of his conclusions inaccurate. For example, while he repeatedly declares that democracy and capitalism are incompatible, his conclusion is predicated upon his flawed personal conception of those two principles. Another example is his criticism of the market being unable to meet second order desires, but this is once again predicated upon a flawed conception of what he believes to be legitimate first and second order desires. In spite of those flaws, I found his core critique of contemporary capitalism spot on: Since the real physical needs of the developed world have been met, industries must manufacture faux needs in those markets since those in the developing world, whose real needs have not been met, do not have the capital to purchase anything.
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on August 5, 2013
This is a good enough copy of a book that I expected a little more of. I was hoping for something that would grab my attention the way Malcolm Gladwell does.
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