From Publishers Weekly
Waldfogel (The Tyranny of the Market
) delivers a badly needed poke in the eye at holiday-time consumer madness, positing that not only is compulsory gift giving stressful and expensive, but it's economically unsound. Purchases are usually a zero-sum game—a $50 sweater is bought only when it is worth $50 or more to the consumer. But most gifts are relatively worthless to the less-than-enthused recipient, thus severing the link between the buying decision and the item's value. Addressing the $66 billion in retail sales during the 2007 Christmas season, the author's bewilderment is evident when he asks—would anyone buy this stuff for himself or herself? does anybody want it?—and answers his own question with a quote suggesting that gift giving may be too firmly entrenched to budge: There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got. That's Harriet Beecher Stowe back in 1850. This lively, spot-on book may be the one gift that still makes sense to buy come Black Friday. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
is a quick read. Not only is it well under 200 pages, but the book can easily fit in your pocket. This is no think volume intended to scare off non-economists. Better still, Scroogenomics
is almost entirely free of jargon. And when technical terms do appear, they are immediately explained.