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Showing 1-10 of 23 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 84 reviews
on January 24, 2002
As a young professional who is lucky enough to make more than most people my age, I was perpetually frustrated by my inability to save. When I whine about the vicious work-and-spend way I was living my life, most of my friends would tell me to just shut the hell up because they simply don't understand how someone with my income could have a difficult time "just keeping up."
And then I read "the Overspent American." Now everything is starting to come together. I'm no different than most people in my situation. Apparently, the more you make, the more you spend (because those with money are generally more status-oriented, and "status" requires money...lots and lots of money). Couple this with one's general dissatisfaction in the workplace, and spending goes even higher because people with means buy more things to distract themselves from the general unhappiness that is their life.
'Lest you think this is a "bleeding heart" book that doesn't put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the irresponsible consumer, let me assure you that this book makes no excuses for our society's poor consumer choices. Like any well-documented social science project, this book merely explains the new consumerism, based on Schor's studies and interviews with downshifters and overspent consumers. It passes no judgment, but it does not give irresponsible consumers an easy scapegoat for their problems either.
On the contrary, I felt like this book was a wake-up call. First, it made me feel better simply to know I wasn't the lone idiot who couldn't get my finances together. But second, and more importantly, this book gave me hope. It talks about downshifters and other individuals who have successfully managed to get their consumerism under control. I am now more determined than ever to crawl out of the credit card existence I've been living somewhat uncomfortably in for the past 8 years. Like my one-line summary of the book suggests, I'm now seriously planning (rather than just hopelessly wishing) to be credit card debt-free in 2003!
For anyone who finds themselves living paycheck to paycheck, or struggling just to get by (despite a decent income), this book will shed light on some of the reasons why, and inspire you to make the necessary changes to ensure your long-term financial prosperity and conquer your short-term consumerist impulses. A quick, but powerful, read. Highly, highly recommended.
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on December 12, 2012
Really good book, recommend to those taking ECON. I love how each chapter gives you a different view into society's fascination with trying to "look" rich to everyone even while drowning in debt. Anyways, I think everyone should read this at least once. It gives you some insight on how others are able to live at their level rather than try to live up to wealthy status along with those who are struggling.
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on June 8, 2017
good condition
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on August 1, 2005
As a recovering Shopaholic, this book was a god send. Great analysis on why we spend, why we feel we have to, and just k nowing the truth beneath it all, allows you to let go of ever feeling that way again. No more having to 'keep up with the joneses' or feeling like your not good enough because of the material possessions you have or dont have. An amazing quick and easy read, well written and very helpful. a real eye opener - you will think twice about spending irresponsibly after reading this book! definatly worth it!
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on September 2, 2015
Excellent read! Highly recommended!
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on March 25, 2015
Good read. I passed it on so others could be enlightened.
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on June 14, 2002
It is a fact today that we Americans are in more personal debt than at any time in our history. When economic times are good we spend more. in the 1980s personal saving was -0.2% meaning we spent more than we actually earned. After the boom of the 90s we are in more debt. Today seniors are in more debt than they ever have been since studies have been conducted. It is mostly cultural. We, as a society are not savers or planners financially. Not good nor bad, just the way things are. We do have a 100% chance of death. Thomas Jefferson, died owing massive amounts of debt. This is an interested read that explains why we do what we do.....Wants are not needs.
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on October 14, 2013
The book is an interesting read and prompts a lot of thought. Was shipped and arrived rather promptly! Awesome. A must read.
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on December 9, 2007
This book was interesting but not as good as I was expecting. It seems like the book is just evidence to support the theories the other reviews have described (people who have more money just want more etc, etc). I wasn't even that impressed by the chapter about the "downshifters." These weren't people who decided they didn't want to be materialistic. They were people who lost theirs jobs or wanted to work less. It didn't make them want material things any less. I think it would also be more interesting if this book was written more recently. It was written in the late 90's. I wonder if the author would have touched on the effect of 9/11 on spending (how it was pushed as "patriotic" to spend) if it was written more recently. Overall, you could basically get the jist of this book by reading these reviews.
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on October 16, 2014
This is more of a research-based academic work than a philosophical work. It's easy to read and well documented, though it's VERY MUCH a product of the 90s, so a lot of it is outdated. It's strange to read something that speaks of consumerism without taking into acount smartphones, laptops, hoverboards, and so on.
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