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The High Price of Materialism

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  286 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
In The High Price of Materialism, Tim Kasser offers a scientific explanation of how our contemporary culture of consumerism and materialism affects our everyday happiness and psychological health. Other writers have shown that once we have sufficient food, shelter, and clothing, further material gains do little to improve our well-being. Kasser goes beyond these findings t ...more
Paperback, 165 pages
Published August 29th 2003 by Bradford Book (first published 2002)
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Gerald Thomson
Jun 26, 2012 Gerald Thomson rated it it was ok
The message of Kasser’s book is simple; the pursuit of riches, fame and beauty lead to a life of dissatisfaction. Kasser has some excellent advice for parents towards the end of the book to help parents steer their children away from these pursuits. The majority of the book does deal with the material side of these pursuits, and though I agree with the author’s premise, he makes the typical mistake of jumping from condemning materialism to condemning capitalism. The two have nothing in common. ...more
Paige Ellen Stone
I am currently conducting research on the relationship between consumerism, capitalism, addiction and personal spirituality. I was trained in existential-phenomenological psychological research methods. I would add that I agree, in principle, with the goals of this book.
This book wreaks of "publish or perish." The first seven chapters are full of junk science. I call it that because what is presented as serious scientific evidence is flawed by the methodology, specifically surveys made up by the
Stefano Finazzo
Jan 19, 2014 Stefano Finazzo rated it really liked it
Ter ou não ter, eis a questão.

Uma compilação dos resultados experimentais disponíveis sobre os impactos do materialismo extremo no bem estar e na felicidade do bicho humano.

A partir desses resultados, Kasser descreve o poder perverso do apego exagerado ao ter. Pessoas materialistas são mais infelizes e menos satisfeitas com sua a vida que pessoas pouco materialistas. O sujeito materialista se sente alienado de sua própria vida e sem autonomia em suas decisões, além de objetificar as relações pes
Joel D
Sep 28, 2014 Joel D rated it it was ok
I feel like a book should be more than just a summary of research. Or, at least, it should be an interesting summary of research. This book takes hundreds of pages to say one sentence: "Materialism has been empirically shown to be bad for us." There isn't much more to it.
Jane Baker
Nov 08, 2016 Jane Baker rated it liked it
Highly academic and not a light read on the beach. Well written. Highly materialist people have fragile self worth, value extrinsic motivation, have less autonomy and authentic self, have poor relationships and unmet psychological needs. -All backed by research and studies detailed in this book. The talk of discrepancy and low flow activities is really fascinating.
Jun 14, 2009 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
So I've been reading this one for about 6 months? Yeah, that seems about right. I'd picked up The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser (one of Knox's own :), started reading, and then never got a chance to actually sit down and read again. Crazy terms'll do that to you. I finally got to read in earnest over spring break and managed to find some time to finish up last night.

The points that the book makes are sort of obvious, but it goes into even further detail, supporting each one and elabora
Sep 27, 2016 James rated it liked it
Book is largely a summary of research done on materialistic values. I'd suggest reading the summaries at the end of each chapter and diving in only if you're more interested in study methodology.
Melanie Mauer
Jan 12, 2015 Melanie Mauer rated it liked it
i loved the topic and how research rich it was but found that same research to be a bit of an interruption to the readability...serveral important insights gained:

p. 9 when we focus on extrinsic values, we are seeking soured of satisfaction outside ourselves, whether in money, in the mirror, or in admiration by others. in capitalistic, consumer cultures such as the United States, these extrinsic values are often encouraged as worthy because they seemingly convey a sense of success and power.

Faith Gudal
Sep 04, 2011 Faith Gudal rated it it was amazing
Read, read, read! This is a book that will change your view on life. There were several things I didn't agree with but the good points in the book made it well worth it. Being a libertarian and a big supporter of capitalism I, of course, felt that banning advertising, for example, goes against those principles. But this book gave me insight into how damaging our shallow culture can truly be. It forced me to look at media entertainment in a new light and reexamine the principles I want to make ...more
Feb 18, 2009 TheSaint rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
Most thinking people are now aware that over-consumption of the earth’s resources is a both travesty and a tragedy for the environment. Tim Kasser, in his book The High Price of Materialism acknowledges that fact, but examines a different sort of cost: psychological.
Kasser contends from his many studies, that the effect of materialism on personal well-being is highly negative for the individual and the community. Materially motivated people are tend to be passive-aggressive, to abuse intoxicant
Jun 20, 2015 Nilagia rated it liked it
Some interesting correlations between materialism and unhappiness, harm to communities, family, etc., but some of the conclusions drawn from the research seem shaky. I'm not arguing that excessive materialism and the pursuit of huge sums of wealth aren't detrimental - I'm sure they are - and more recent studies I've seen in the news have also supported some of those findings. But the author seems to play fast and loose with definitions of "materialism," and readily links correlation and ...more
Britany George
May 07, 2016 Britany George rated it liked it
The main message could be condensed into one or two chapters, and that is: "the pursuit/fixation of wealth, status, beauty and possessions is shown to correlate with depression, anxiety and overall dissatisfaction with life. Moreover, once basic safety needs are met, a value-centric life is more fulfilling,satisfying and leads to more overall happiness." This is a good reminder in pursuing a value-centric life but it is sandwiched between fluff that idealizes simplified communistic ways of ...more
Sarai Mitnick
Jun 08, 2012 Sarai Mitnick rated it it was amazing
While there are many books about the ill effects of materialism on our society, the planet, and ourselves, this is the first I've read that delves so deeply into the psychological mechanisms of a consumerist mindset. This is an evidence-based theory of how a focus on material possessions thwarts us from fulfilling our deeper psychological needs for security, self-esteem, and a connection to others. Because of all the data he presents and the pretty much straightforward writing style, I think ...more
Erik Ferragut
Jul 09, 2013 Erik Ferragut rated it liked it
Trying to define well being is a slippery philosophical practice, but the psychologists have no trouble defining it and operationalizing it. This is an interesting summary of literature that relates well being to materialistic values. The most interesting part is the relationship between materialism and authenticity. To dumb it down: would you rather watch TV or make something of your choosing? The book reads like an introduction to an important and complicated question, and it reminds me of ...more
Jan 11, 2010 Mel rated it liked it
Kasser's research confirms some pretty easily observable trends, although it's a huge accomplishment to have synthesized all the data the way he has. For some reason, psychologists rarely study the impacts of political and economic systems on the human mind. I was looking for a book about the psychological effects of capitalism. Although this work is a step in the right direction for research, it did little to illuminate anything novel for me.
Juliann Whicker
Nov 26, 2014 Juliann Whicker rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the premise immensely. Kasser goes to great lengths to show, using many examples of studies done in various circumstances, that materialism does not equal happiness, and that so much of our culture and society is directly at odds to finding happiness and avoiding materialism. I thoroughly applaud his efforts. I found the style of writing a bit dry and repetitive, but certainly appreciated the content.
Apr 13, 2012 Laurenx rated it it was amazing
Shelves: positive-psych
Kasser explores the roots of materialism and the ways that it negatively influences us to forget important core values like forming intimate relationships and being involved in the community. Kasser doesn't just make statements-- he backs them up with research. This is a great book that I reread every once in a while to keep myself grounded. Highly recommended!
Jul 17, 2012 Rob rated it it was ok
While I agree with the broader points that Kasser is making, I thought this was a sub-par book at best. His presentation of the material is tedious and some of his suggestions are just boilerplate tripe. Materialism is a product of diminishing returns, but there must surely be better ways of getting the point across than this.
Sep 25, 2014 Megan rated it it was amazing
This book brings evidence to the saying "Money can't buy happiness". The book focuses on the negative impact having a materialistic mindset can have on you psychologically. It shows how and why people develop materialistic mindsets, and it shows ways to counteract them. The High Price of Materialism is an eyeopening book! I highly recommend it!!
Mar 17, 2016 Mara rated it really liked it
Written by researchers, presents the evidence from studies that show people with highly materialistic aspirations are unhappier than those who put less importance on materialism...and why that is. Interesting and potentially behavior-changing read.
Oct 18, 2007 Alex rated it really liked it
Very dry (reads like a thesis) but really really interesting. Basically a look at how materialism effects our lives both in how we view/spend money and also how we view/treat others in our lives... how materialism saturates every part of our lives. Highly recommend.
Aug 12, 2014 Angie rated it it was amazing
Materialism sucks, and in ways most people are oblivious to. This book gives in depth information on what it is, what it isn't, and how it insidiously impacts individuals, familes, communities, and the planet itself.
Very eye-opening. Scholarly.
May 27, 2015 Kathleen rated it it was ok
Shelves: simplicity
It's too research-heavy for me. I felt it was severely lacking in spirituality, which is important for me to continue on the path of simplicity. I was sorely disappointed in this book. I just felt as if this book was simply aimed at intellectual reading, to be specific.
Aug 15, 2012 Seulky rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My rating is based solely on the fact that I believe what he believes. Although he overplays the importance of the value of happiness, his attack on excessive materialism I welcome and I think necessary.
Mar 12, 2009 Shantay rated it it was ok
Eh. While I agree wholeheartedly with the message, the book itself was highly redundant and read like a reseach paper fluffed up in order to meet the minimun number of words/pages.
Aug 25, 2013 Fariha rated it liked it
None of the findings in this book surprised me, although they were helpful in gaining an understanding.
Beth Yeh
May 27, 2009 Beth Yeh rated it liked it
Got this at the school library and read it in a few bus rides. It resonated with my simple approach and researcher spirit.
May 07, 2016 Christina rated it liked it
The book has a large potential still it needs to be reconsidered by a qualified person to make it less boring and more down-to-earth. Anyway I like it and would like to advice it.
Justin Lonas
Jun 23, 2016 Justin Lonas rated it really liked it
Excellent research with astonishing conclusions. His solutions seem short-sighted, though. Entirely too physical for a very metaphysical problem.
Feb 20, 2015 Brian rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
Pretty dry, which is unsurprising given that it's essentially a research paper in book form. I really only found the implications mildly interesting at all, but it was very well researched.
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