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The Secret Life of Stuff: A Manual for a New Material World
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The Secret Life of Stuff: A Manual for a New Material World

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  43 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Like The Omnivore's Dilemma, this inventory of how we consume stuff is a wake-up call—shocking but inspiring, facing facts and finding solutionsTaking readers ona journey through everything around us and how we use it, this bookuncovers the true origin and cost of stuff, and, whilethe inventory will shock, it is the first step toward overcoming waste. Environmental issues ...more
Paperback, 358 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Random House UK (first published January 6th 2011)
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Lee-Ann Sleegers
Review of The Secret Life of Stuff: A Manual for a New Material World written by Julie Hill, released by Random House UK, January 2011.

I have a casual interest in books that challenge me to think about how I can live a less resource heavy lifestyle. The Secret Life of Stuff: A Manual for a New Material World (The Secret Life of Stuff) was just that kind of book, forcing me to really think about the world around me and the resources consumed. This wasn't your typical “green living” book that disc
Thought provoking book on products, consumption, and our relationship with 'stuff.' I especially liked the section outlining the lack of and need for full life-cycle information on products, both for us as consumers and for manufacturers, who can then use information to create more efficient goods. At the same time, the book is clear in outlining basic challenges, including that the cost of materials like plastic remains untied to its linear cycle as a product or true carbon footprint, and that ...more
I plucked this off the new arrivals shelf impulsively and later discovered it is from a UK perspective so I ended up skimming it. I found it pretty sobering. Even people trying to shop green don't have a lot of choices or are given only part of the information by retailers. Ultimately, buying less and keeping it longer are the way to go and the letter within written about about the excesses of Americans was depressing. We don't all have to behave like that no matter what retailers are telling us ...more
This was a straightforward but fairly enlightening read about material waste. She hits all the major issues and provides some clear and interesting facts about major material groups (wood, plastic, metals etc). Its popular science at its best.

I very much enjoyed it, even if it doesn't offer that ever elusive panacea for our waste problems.
Well-organized, egaging, informative, and importantly: optimistic. Her vision of a more sustainable future relies on cooperation between government and the private sector, which is important. There could be clearer direction for common consumers (most readers) to enact broader change outside of our personal "stuff accumulation" habits.
An interesting and thought-provoking read. It really openend my eyes to the amount of waste that is produced every year and how inconsiderate we are about the consequences.

It also left me even more cynical about politics...
Dianne Burton
Superb really gets you thinking about where this need for things comes from and what can be done to improve things in the future. A must read for anyone questioning consumerism.
Rock Angel
Mar 13, 2012 Rock Angel marked it as i-aint-sure
anecdotal, more a bathroom reader than a serious read
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.
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