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Enough: Breaking Free from the World of More

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For millions of years, humankind has used a brilliantly successful survival strategy. If we like something, we chase after more of it: more status, more food, more info, more stuff. Then we chase again. It’s how we survived famine, disease and disaster to colonise the world. But now, thanks to technology, we’ve suddenly got more of everything than we can ever use, enjoy or afford. That doesn’t stop us from striving though and it’s making us sick, tired, overweight, angry and in debt. It burns up our personal ecologies and the planet’s ecology too. We urgently need to develop a sense of ‘enough’. Our culture keeps telling us that we don’t yet have all we need to be happy, but in fact we need to nurture a new skill – the ability to bask in the bounties all around us. ENOUGH explores how our Neolithic brain-wiring spurs us to build a world of overabundance that keeps us hooked on ‘more’. John explains how, through adopting the art of enoughness, we can break from this wrecking cycle. With ten chapters on topics such as Enough food, Enough stuff, Enough hurry and Enough information, he explores how we created the problem and gives us practical ways to make our lives better.

289 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

John Naish

4 books12 followers
John Naish is a British health journalist, currently writing for The Times.

He is a t'ai chi–practicing vegetarian and does not own a mobile phone. He lives in Brighton.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 62 reviews
Profile Image for Dragos Pătraru.
51 reviews2,432 followers
May 2, 2020
Din nou, nu e o recomandare la întâmplare, am căutat săptămâna asta o carte pe o temă care mă preocupă de ceva timp. Când e suficient ceea ce avem? Când putem spune că avem destul? Sau, mai bine zis, de ce omul, în general, nu se poate opri și își dorește mai mult și mai mult. Sigur, dacă îmi adresai această întrebare acum 30, acum 20 și chiar acum 10 ani te-aș fi înjurat, probabil. De ce? Pentru că eram în poziția celui care merge la muncă și muncește toată ziua doar pentru a aduna resursele necesare pentru a merge și a doua zi la muncă. Deci, o notă înainte de a începe să citiți această carte: trebuie să fi părăsit deja ceea ce Kiyosaki numește cursa șobolanului, pentru a putea să îți pui la modul serios această întrebare.
Ce ne spune Naish? Că dorința asta de a avea mai mult mereu e naturală, pentru că așa s-au dezvoltat corpurile noastre, în vremuri în care doar cei norocoși găseau hrană chiar și la câteva zile. Apoi, că azi, marketingul deștept exploatează dorința noastră de a vrea mai mult. Că asaltul informațional la care suntem supuși ne extenuează și ne face să luăm decizii proaste. Că (ce vă tot spun eu pe toate căile) disponibilitatea hranei, mă rog, a mâncării, că pentru hrană adevărată trebuie să faci un pic de efort, ne dă mari probleme de sănătate, în timp. Că dorința asta de a avea mai mult ne face permanent nefericiți, că munca (dar-ar naiba în ea) e o adicție de care nu putem scăpa. Și că permanenta căutare a soluției perfecte, în oceanul ăsta de opțiuni, ne face să ne simțim mizerabil.
Ei bine, asta nu e tot. Pentru că e plină piața de chestii despre fericire și mindfullness. Și nu e așa, adică nu poți atinge nirvana și rămâne acolo. Fericirea infinită e mai degrabă marcă a nebuniei. Și unul care câștigă la loto și unul care își pierde picioarele într-un accident sunt, spun studiile, după un anumit timp, la același nivel de fericire la care erau înainte de evenimentul care le-a schimbat viața. Așadar, fericirea e o chestiune specifică pentru fiecare, iar sfatul autorului e să reflectăm mai serios la asta și să acționăm în consecință, nu să alergăm ca idioții. Ideea e simplă și o știm cu toții, dar nu ne dăm seama de asta până când nu se spune cineva: mai mult nu reprezintă o soluție la adevăratele noastre probleme, ci mai degrabă sursa acestor probleme. Deci, temă pentru acasă: voi ce probleme ascundeți în goana voastră după mai mult?
Profile Image for Jennifer Campaniolo.
142 reviews9 followers
July 9, 2009
This book should be on school reading lists. Every American should read it. I don't usually make sweeping pronouncements like that since we all enjoy different things, but this book is essential to understanding why we can't go on the way we've been going--more, more, more, getting & spending, ever-more growth. I'm guilty of it. I can be materialistic. In fact, I started reading this book after a vacation shopping spree that went a little too far. I was on another continent and I wanted to claim anything I thought was pretty or different.

John Naish doesn't preach an ascetic life with no pleasures or new handbags. He just wants us to stop, take stock of what we already have, and resist the urge to overdo it. And we're not just talking about enough "stuff" but also enough "work," enough "food," and enough "information." Our instincts to gather are hard-wired into us, but we can be mindful of this, and ask ourselves, how much is too much? Can I stop here and be content? After all, we can't be happy all the time, but we can be content.
Profile Image for Sarah Clement.
Author 1 book96 followers
June 20, 2012
I think if I had read this book before I read other books on issues like consumerism, I would have liked it better, but I still got a lot out of it. The chapter that I thought was particularly unique (in that you don't see it in many other books about consumerism) was the one on happiness. I found it fascinating and really helpful. Being born and raised in America, I hadn't thought much about the mental aspects of the "pursuit of happiness" which seems just part and parcel of the fabric of life. I hadn't thought about how to recognise when I have "enough" when it comes to happiness, and I think Naish makes a number of valid points in the chapter. The best part of the book, in my opinion, are the little summaries at the end. I really liked that it wasn't a book just focused on complaining about our current cultural crises, rather it was a book that provided quite reasonable advice about deciding when - for you personally - you have enough. No preaching. Not telling you where you should draw your lines. Just information and advice.

For a more extreme perspective on consumerism, I would recommend Culture Jam (written by the founder of Adbusters).
Profile Image for Nea Britto.
171 reviews35 followers
July 15, 2021
I really enjoyed reading this book, even though this was published back in 2008. It has been 13 years since this book was published and I find it crazy how so much of it is still relevant, but just that things seem more dreary.

From the title, it is clear that this book is about consumerism. I do love that he doesn’t talk about minimalism, but instead talks about the concept of enough. And what I loved the most is that the book talks about a lot of different topics ranging from information overload, too much food, too many options, too much stuff, overpopulation and everything in between.

The book is also very well researched. I loved that he began every chapter with a quote. And while I do think some things were outdated and there were some things that I didn’t fully agree with, I would still recommend reading this book to just look at things and our society from a different perspective and to spend your time and money more intentionally.
Profile Image for Cornelius.
7 reviews2 followers
October 10, 2021
Would have given it 2 stars initially, but poking fun at a person (de)transitioning is just not acceptable. That and also the fact that the author is against going to therapy and says that antidepressants are over-prescribed, which is the most dangerous thing I can think of to put in a book.
Profile Image for Diana .
8 reviews3 followers
August 24, 2019
Stopped me from buying impulsively. I value my free time much more now. And I realised I am actually so rich!!! Time to work less and devote to more spiritual pursuits... And this without feeling guilty or running into financial problems. One of many such books, but I like the depth of John Naish. Personally one of my life changers.
Profile Image for Nils.
334 reviews37 followers
June 7, 2018
Schöne Zusammenfassung sehr unterschiedlicher Aspekte zum Thema "Genug". Geht dabei auch tiefer als die meisten Minimalismus-"Ratgeber".
Profile Image for Huw.
58 reviews
Read
March 28, 2009
a couple quotes below. i loved this book,

he is not a religious person, but much of what he talks about is what many faiths have always taught. he also talked about how being grateful makes us happier and actually kinder too. if we look for things to be grateful about we will find them and be happier for it. he is interesting on meditation and why it is hard to keep it going. the hawthorn effect means that changes are usually positive but this wears off and then the temptation is to try something else, which also works until that too wears off, and so on. the "trick" is to stick at it! so not a trick at all.

"Part of the problem is that what we call happiness is in fact a 'flow state' of unconsciousness, the sort of thing that happens when you're so engrossed in a hobby... that you just don't notice time passing. You lose yourself as your ego and your preoccupations fall away. You can't force this, but willing it to happen can cause a kind of self-help psychosis - the psychological equivalent of the watched kettle syndrome... [as:] John Stuart Mill famously wrote 'Ask yourself if you are happy, and you cease to be so.'" 184

"The government has a split personality on this. It keeps telling people to get out of their cars and consume less. But we would be up the creek without a paddle if everyone did. As it currently exists, our economy relies strictly on increase in consumption". Tim Jackson. 221
20 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2009
To save you reading this book, I can summarise the whole thing in one of my mum's favourite sayings - "everything in moderation". The central theme is that people in the West work too hard, eat too much, shop too much and live vacuous lives with no meaning or direction except getting more and more and we'll eventually destroy the planet. Wow, really? In typical newspaper journalist style, the author paints a picture of two separate worlds - you're either a depressed stressed-out shopaholic workaholic, or you are practising "enoughism" and living in anti-materialist bliss. So, you're either with us or you're against us, with no standing in the middle. He then goes on to quote a range of surveys which tell us more of what we already know - people who work less are happier and so on.

By the end of the book I got the impression that enoughism says basically the same as any major religion - be nice to people, don't be greedy, take time each day to pray/meditate etc. The only difference is that instead of an afterlife to look forward to or a God to fear, the motivation is to save the planet (and no scientific evidence or forecasts are made as to exactly what will happen if we carry on as we are now, he just says "it will be bad"). I do agree with most things he says, but he could fit everything he says here into a half-page Sunday newspaper article.
Profile Image for Lisa.
63 reviews
May 21, 2020
Naish has a lot of fascinating statistics and anecdotes about consumer culture, but it becomes increasingly maddening the extent to which he sees this as a primarily consumer problem. Policymakers, businesses, activists are nowhere to be found. He disses one movement that is doing the work he says needs to be done--voluntary simplicity, whose message is practically 1:1 what Naish calls for--and ignores another. When he finally sits down with Tim Jackson and the word "degrowth" could finally appear, Naish "agrees to disagree" that systemic change needs to happen at the policy level.

This could be a decent introduction to get a personal sense of sufficiency, but the sheer number of blind spots make it hard to recommend.
Profile Image for Cliff.
Author 4 books21 followers
July 15, 2013
"Today's mania for material goods is more learnt than instinctive. While every society is designed to meet its members' basic needs, only modern capitalist countries concentrate intensely on material greed" - Our Stone-Age brains are hardwired to survive famine by gathering what we can, when we can - but these instincts are exploited by a profit-driven capitalism that encourages us to want more: more shallow information, more food, more stuff, more perfection. In a resource-limited world, this can only lead to disaster - unless we change our behaviour. I will recommend this book to everyone, everywhere, all of the time, ad infinitum. Be warned...
Profile Image for Jarkko Laine.
661 reviews22 followers
July 3, 2010
A great, actionable book on the philosophy of enough. We need to start to apply these lessons NOW.
Profile Image for Jo.
107 reviews20 followers
December 23, 2019
Well I do love a good thought-provoking book, and parts of this book were certainly that.

There has got to be a certain irony though about writing the first chapter of your book about having 'enough information' (with the theme about not needing to have too much information) and then bombarding readers/waffling on (in my opinion) with an excess of information in the rest of your book. So I took the author's message to heart and skipped through parts of the book because I didn't need an overwhelm of information.

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this book as a whole, because I thought he made some great points and some of it was quite well-written. Some things I completely agree with, e.g. he was saying about how we're always searching for more and we never really appreciate all the things we have. Well I suppose that's his main point of the book. But large parts of the book had a rather depressing feel, which despite (I imagine) being unintentional, it still just felt a bit like a long list of things which are wrong with society today. Not that I'm naive enough to think that all he was saying isn't necessarily true, but I don't think the book would particularly inspire you to change or do anything differently unless you ignored/didn't read part of what was written and just picked out the key parts, like I did.

But maybe the book wasn't trying to inspire change, I mean there was a whole chapter on having enough self-growth, which I was not a fan of. Not that I outright disagreed with all his points, but I disagree with the notion of not ever striving to do better or to learn new things. Just because you want to learn how to do something better doesn't mean that you consider yourself not to be enough in the first place, and I think there is most definitely a balance to be made between the two. Surely life must be so mundane and depressing if you never try to do anything new, never learn a new skill, never push yourself out of your comfort zone, visit new places?

I'm not sure if I would recommend this book or not. I think it has some good gems of wisdom in but I'm not sure if it's worth sifting through the rest of the information to get to it. Also I can't help thinking that to properly appreciate said gems you'd probably have to know what they are in the first place to be able to find them, and then what would be the point of reading the book?

Thinking about it, I'm not actually sure how much I gained from reading this book, other than more confirmation of what I think anyway, both in what I agree and disagree with in his writing.
Profile Image for Marco Svevo.
411 reviews16 followers
August 9, 2017

Apro il libro a caso, dopo anni di permanenza inerte sullo scaffale della libreria, e finisco proprio all'inizio del capitolo 4 che si intitola "Basta lavoro".
Passano mesi, anni, poi il libro risponde.
"Il q.b. è il punto critico, oltre il quale avere tutto e di più peggiora la vita invece di migliorarla".
Sai (sindrome da affaticamento informativo) e infomania: ovvero come vivere da rana cinese ed essere infelici.
...perché noi, in fondo, l'avevamo sempre saputo che il concetto di libero arbitrio fosse una stronzata: ora ci sono pure le evidenze scientifiche.
"Secondo Tim Jackson (un Lorenzo Fioramonti del Surrey) i politici dovrebbero avere un ruolo nel distogliere la nostra attenzione dal consumare e produrre sempre di più. Siamo in amabile disaccordo su qeusto punto." , peccato non spieghi perché.
Il prof. Jackson (perchè di un Herr Professor stiamo parlando) ammette di non avere la risposta a cosa succederebbe se per magia tutti diventasimo ecologicamente virtuosi (probabilmente ci sarebbe un "collasso"), però parla di "un mutamento culturale che si dia slancio da solo".
Wackernagel! Sempre lui!
"Leadership anticonformista" non è contraddizione in termini?
"Se la cosa migliore che deriva da una scelta collettiva ecosostenibile è che alcuni d noi condurranno una vita personale più soddisfacente mentre, per usare le immortali parole di Jim Morrison, tutto il resto andrà a puttane, amen. Ma c'è ancora una speranza".
E dopo questa le 5 stelle sono d'obbligo.
"Se i consumatori americani finiscono lo spazio (si sta parlando del boom degli sgabuzzini) l'economia globale è spacciata" (p.84)

"...dall'indagine sulla felicità mondiale della London School of Economics risulta che la nazione con il più alto livello di appagamento del pianete è il Bangladesh, mentre l'Inghilttera si colloca al 32esimo posto e l'America al 46esimo" (p.110-111).

"La ricerca mostra che le scimmie leader hanno il doppio di serotonina rispetto al resto del branco" (p.154).

"Chiedetevi se siete felici e smetterete subito di esserlo (J.S.Mill)

"Le nostre personalià in generale non cambiano più dopo i 25 anni, quando il carattere si è fissato" (p.157)

"Per Keynes, l'economia era un gioco sporco e l'attività di guadagnare e spendere una sordida necessità di cui l'umanità avrebbe dovuto sbarazzarsi il prima possibile" (p.172)

Deafferentazione e mente-scimmia.
Non poteva finire meglio di così: "basta anche con questo libro!"
Profile Image for Jacqueline.
37 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2020
A well-researched book on what 'enoughism' is. We may have heard it all before that we have too much of this or too much of that, but this book really breaks it down into easily digestible chapters:
Enough information
Enough food
Enough stuff
Enough work
Enough options
Enough happiness
Enough growth

Throughout the narrative, Naish provides a multitude of references, quotes, history, stats, examples, and backstory to support his work. Practical advice is given on how to overcome this more-more culture - such as websites where you can donate things and pick up unwanted items for free (less carbon footprint), spending time in meditation, being grateful, reading poetry, playing music, types of breaks you should take, etc

At the end of each chapter, there are thought-provoking questions and statements which will really get you thinking about the topic just consumed.


A great read if you want to live a fulfilling life that not only benefits you but others, without wanting to keep up with the Joneses.
Profile Image for Hugh Stevenson.
3 reviews3 followers
May 27, 2020
Absolutely worth your time, a contemporary revised edition would vindicate many of the original claims

From the cultural and technological references, it is clear that this is a book from the 00’s, however it’s content may be even more relevant to the 10’s, it is sad to see that broad divergence from the said trajectory has not yet occurred. Nevertheless, it is certainly the case that certain aspects of this book (mindfulness and intention) have certainly gained prominence in recent years.

As minimalism and the like has sprang up, it is intriguing to see how it’s forbears laid the groundwork for a scepticism toward the drive for more.
18 reviews
January 29, 2021
I've had this book for about 10 years and just didn't get round to reading it. So I think some of the content has dated a little, given it was written around the time of the great crash rather than the time of pandemic. But a lot of the lessons are true - why do we seek out more of everything? What's the psychology behind that - either our own programming or how we're made to feel inadequate if we don't pursue more.

Every chapter has a theme - enough stuff, enough work, enough food, etc - and ends with some practical tips on how we can curb our desire for more. So in that sense it's quite a practical book and a straightforward read.
24 reviews3 followers
April 22, 2018
I thought I am a Zen savvy. This book tell me I am not even close. It turns out this book is much above what i have expected what it might say about this topic. The author really has something to offer especially were the reader the one share the same vex and entanglement of life and mind.
Profile Image for John Lamerton.
Author 3 books7 followers
October 22, 2021
Good enough, if a little dated, and a little preachy.

I'm already a convert to "enoughism", so was looking for more practical ways to implement the approach - unfortunately there was not enough of this, but more than enough preaching to the converted.
Profile Image for Marcel Schwarz.
385 reviews
July 8, 2022
Feels a bit dated. I thought this would be a book about climate change and what you can do in terms of renouncing things. Although there were some bits about climate and the economy it felt more like a lifestyle / do less book.
Profile Image for Javier Noriega.
146 reviews1 follower
June 3, 2021
Muy interesante, aunque a veces entra en el farragoso terreno de comenzar a dar consejos
Profile Image for Anni-Mari.
18 reviews
December 1, 2020
Kiinnostava ja monipuolisesti käsitelty aihe, mutta kirjoittajan tyyli pilkata muita ja nostaa itseään jatkuvasti ylemmäs oli ärsyttävä. Hän yleistää rajusti ja jatkuvasti, esimerkiksi kaikki vaatekaupassa kiertelevät ihmiset ovat muka kilpaa ostamassa kalliilla vaatteilla valheellista yksilöllisyyttä ja statusta, mutta hän on ainoa, joka näkee tämän huijauksen läpi ja haluaa vain housut (joita etsiessään vieläpä kiusaa myyjiä). Kirja herätti lähinnä ihmetystä kirjoittajan hyökkäävyydellä ja joka aihepiirissä liioittelulla. Tai sitten hänen meuhkaava tyylinsä ja julistavat juttunsa eivät vaan istu kovin hyvin suomalaisen käsitykseen kohtuullisuudesta ja todellisuudesta.
Profile Image for Phil Whittall.
311 reviews21 followers
May 23, 2016
Journalist John Naish is an ardent environmentalist and anti-consumer campaigner. He's the brain behind the Landfill Prize for example and Naish wants to start a movement of 'enoughness'.

In essence Naish says, rightly, that we've lost all sense of what is enough in our lives. We do not know when to stop and this inability is hurting ourselves, our societies and our planet. Rediscovering a sense of 'enough' is necessary, essential even for our survival.

Through seven chapters (information, food, stuff, work, options, happiness, growth) Naish looks at how having more than enough is self-defeating and that discovering when we have enough is liberating. There's much to commend it and it makes a lot of sense.

Not knowing when we've eaten enough will lead us to being obese, having too many options makes it harder to make a good choice, thinking we are not happy enough is a thankless task and so on.

Naish thinks that the clues to why we don't know when we've had enough lies in the human brain, we have evolved this way to survive but now that our survival is rarely threatened by scarcity we need to fight our own brain wiring to learn new ways of thinking and living. It's an interesting argument, but from a Christian perspective we would agree that humanity is wired to want more than we need (greed) and that reason is because we are fallen, sinful creatures.

Naish also embraces the spiritual, he advocates saying grace at meals (despite not really believing in God) and praying or meditating and even practising a 'sabbath'. It's a bit odd in the usual ways those who reject 'religion' but embrace 'the spiritual' are because it's whatever you want it to be which usually ends up being not very much, while truth gets conveniently left at the yoga mat.

Enough is strongest in its analysis of the problem, with wry humour he skewers much of modern consumptive society in all its bloated glory but weakest when it comes to proposing solutions. It knocks self-help but in a framework of non-faith, if we don't help ourselves who will?The gospel says we are liberated from our sinful passions and desires at the cross.

Having said that I wish more churches would teach and practice 'enoughness'.
Profile Image for Nynke.
160 reviews25 followers
September 27, 2017
Very interesting indeed!

unfortunately also very depressing read when you are too ill to put its ideas into practice. Add to that that it is nearly a decade old and wider society doesn't apear to have taken note of any of the dangers outlined by Naish...
Profile Image for Kareena.
182 reviews
February 6, 2008
Enough - Breaking free from the world of more.

Amazing, Interesting, Refreshing and Fantastic book! Please buy or read this book - it's really enlightening.

I couldn't put this one down and read the whole thing in one sitting, about 7 hours.

It talks about how basically - in our lives - we have everything we could possibly need, but we still feel unsatisfied and nothing is ever enough. It talks about really interesting side-effects of this basic human condition, such as we have more than enough food to get by but people still feel the need to eat more and we have problems with obesity. We always have the need for the newest greatest electronic gadget, information overload through internet, tv, cellphones, etc, and the need to always feel "happier" and that better times lay ahead. Something akin to - we're always channel surfing because although we like what we have right now, we're always looking for something better out there to switch to. Like how we can have trouble committing to a relationship, or job, or even a pair of shoes, because the next one promises to be better than the one you have now.

Basically our human condition is not used to overabundance, and now that we have everything we could ever need, we're not quite sure how to deal with it. Imagine all the clothes and shoes and bags we have in our closets but we never use. The amount of clutter we accumulate that we don't really use or need. How we feel the need to still "get more stuff" even though we don't have the time or energy to use it, etc.

Overall it's really thought-provoking, interesting and refreshing stuff to read. And at the base of the whole argument is how we're over-consuming to the point of non-sustainability for the planet, and we're also hurting ourselves and others in the process. So it's trying to point out some basic human idiosyncrasies and making the connection with our primal need to "always want more".

Great stuff - I loved it, and I hope you will too :)
Profile Image for Martha.
6 reviews19 followers
March 2, 2009
I loved this book from the moment I picked it off the library shelf. Each chapter is about something we do too much of, be it work, spending, choosing, eating, growing, etc. And for each one, Naish provides interesting research, thoughtful anecdotes and useful points regarding humankind's current excesses and what we as individuals can do about it.

One of the sections that was the most unique about this book (and which hit home the strongest) was the bit about how people today feel they have to conquer everything. This is a common attribute in many of my friends as we all think we need to be amazing cooks, speak six languages, be the best at our job, excel at knowing where our city's hotspots, and along with that, every holiday must be the perfect experience of a far-away culture, hopefully one no one else has yet visited. It really is silly and we all spend a lot of time and money on hobbies we may or may not love.

This book both inspired and depressed me. It inspired me in the same way books like Your Money or Your Life and Affluenza inspired me, which is to take a very real look at my consumption and look for ways to cut back as well as the awareness that I'm not the only one concerned about the problems outlined. It depressed me similarly, because I tend to spend a lot of time reading similar books and the more I read about this issue, the more I realize that it's not getting any better. As well, I don't know of many other people who read books like this or are concerned with our over-consumption, so it's only getting worse as awareness is apparently not all that prevalent.

However at the very end it did leave me with a bit of hope (the gratitude section was quite good and useful) and a bit of a to-do list. I will recommend it to as many other people as I can in the hopes that they too will take a very real look at what they spend and consume and how their time is used and do some reconsidering.
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