Cities he visited include Sydney, Singapore, Moscow, Copenhagen, New York, and Shanghai, and in each place he interviewed several groups of people in the hope of finding out not only why this is happening, but also how one can increase the strength of one's emotional immune system. He asks: why do so many more people want what they haven't got and want to be someone they're not, despite being richer and freer from traditional restraints?
And, in so doing, uncovers the answer to how to reconnect with what really matters and learn to value what you've already got. In other words, how to be successful and stay sane.
©2007 Oliver James; (P)2009 Random House Audiobooks
"A wonderfully clear and cogent thesis." (Guardian)
"Should be mandatory reading for everyone." (Will Self)
Probably not. I was intrigued by the thesis for this book and was hoping this book would be well-researched and accurately supported. Instead, the thesis (that the quest for ever more riches and keeping up with the Jones) was something I could have come up with along with several friends drinking coffee on a Saturday morning. (We probably could have argued it better than the author). It seems like the author just relied upon the "studies" that supported his arguments. I didn't think the book was very well researched in any case, but possibly that is becaues I listened to it as an audiobook (which didn't have any footnotes or references to any studies).Some of the authors statements, arguments, and conclusions are ridiculous:1. Apparently, everything in Denmark is wonderful and great and no one suffers from Afluenza. Never mind that it is mind-numbingly expensive. If Danes could just afford to buy stuff, they would be just like everyone else.2. Going to school and college to get a job is, apparently, just so wrong. Who knew? Imagine all this time I've just been actually unhappy because I did that.3. George W. Bush's problems are all due to an overbearing mother? Really. (The author doesn't provide the psyc. report on that one). 4. The author's two examples in America: Affluenza afflicted: 20 something, single, former drug-addicted, Wall Street male who inherited a ton of money and who makes a lot of money and lives a sad, unfufilled life. Non-Affluenza afflicted: 30-something African-born undocumented married taxi driver. Did this author even talk to anyone else? Only conclusion that can be drawn from these examples: "We were poor, but we were happy."
Probalby not. His voice drips with contempt and superiority.
"Inspiring, puzzling, obvious, paradoxical"
Oliver James examines the relationship between affluence, self-esteem and happiness. He does this principally by recounting stories of people who he's met who represent one or other end of the spectrum of happiness/affluence.
My principal difficulty is that he reaches extraordinarily certain opinions based, seemingly on these cases alone. He makes a lot of assumptions about the people he talks about. I actually think he is correct about most things, but there's precious little evidence included (much like this review...) I have however changed some aspects of my life based on this, so I must have been happy enough with his conclusions.
I like books narrated by the author, but Oliver James' voice can become rather wearing after a while - not so bad that I couldn't listen, but not my favourite narration
"Annoyed me for hours"
Very very annoying. This book rants on about the "virus" and being "infected" by Affluenza - the author's supposedly catchy description for people in the developed world who always want more rather than appreciating what they have got.
Even more annoying is that the author has one or two good points and it is well read, but these are buried under reams of junk and opinion.
The final chapter talking about childcare and the harm that it does is frankly absurd. The author has a young child and loses all objectivity, preaching wildly his views on the harms that childcare does.
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