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Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  611 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Anyone concerned about the level of their personal debt or frustrated by the rat race of aspiring to an affluent lifestyle will appreciate this critique of the effects of over-consumption. This analysis pulls no punches as it describes both the problem and what can be done to stop it. Analyzing the increasing rates of stress, depression, and obesity as possible effects of ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Allen Unwin (first published June 1st 2005)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is getting a bit old now – 2005 – and so it might be hardly worth reading in some ways. A lot of what makes this interesting isn’t really the facts and figures, I rarely remember figures five minutes after I’ve been shocked by them, but rather the overall patterns described here of our consumption patterns and the damage they are doing.

Like too many books in this genre this one places perhaps a bit too much focus on the individual and holding them responsible for too much. The basic line be
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who own $2700 Louis Vuitton yoga mats and buy sleeping bags for their ferrets
I think that it should be compulsory reading for:
a) Every Secondary School student in Australia.
b) People who own $2700 Louis Vuitton yoga mats and buy sleeping bags for their ferrets.
d) People who measure their self-worth and happiness by money.
e) ... OK everybody should read it :)

As I was reading this I felt nauseous at just how wasteful and affluent our country has become at the expense of what truly matters. I never really ever entered the whole "rat race, keeping up with the Joneses" thing
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it
The one thing I really disliked about this book was that it saw the only way to cope with Affluenza was to downshift. But what about those people who are able to manage things without going between extreems. What about those who spend within their means, don't go into debt, and only ever work a 30-35 hour week in the first place. Why are these people not mentioned? It isn't a one or the other proposition and not everyone needs to be fixed of these problems. ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book very clearly sums up the general malaise in Australia today that I could never quite put my finger on. It forces you to check and take stock of your life and reflect on all the fortune we have. The manifesto gives hope for a future were value is no longer placed on material possessions, but on the quality of our relationships and an appreciation for all that we have. An important read for all Aussies I think.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The concepts and ideas explored in this book really resonated with me. At times the sections on politics were a tad technical and heavy for my understanding but I could understand the basic idea and research what I need to learn.

A quote to summarise the book: pg 178 "Since the early 1990's Australia has been infected by affluenza, a growing and unhealthy preoccupation with money and material things. This illness is constantly reinforcing itself at both the individual and the social levels, const
Juraj Mucko
Mind opener.
Must read.
Nov 22, 2009 rated it liked it
I wonder if the people who need to read this book ever will. If they do I hope they are not so confronted by it that they cannot hear its message.

As a downshifter myself I completely agree with Mr Hamilton. I am disgusted at what humanity has become. We are capable of truly great things but find ourselves striving for everything shiny and flashy and useless at the expense of everything that we truly value but have forgotten. Affluenza, the idea and the fight against it, is worth five stars.

But t
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
The book was worth a read.
Although the figures are out of date, the philosophy is the same. Australians spend too much, are in debit and feel unhappy and hard done by despite being more wealthy than ever, in a country more wealthy than many. The answer isn’t to earn more, but to live within ones means. There is also some suggestions for government and a great chapter on downsizing.
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
I liked the message - when do we recognise 'enough'. There are, however, only so many ways to illustrate this concept and this would make a wonderful newspaper editorial more successfully than a book. ...more
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm really glad our school forced us to read this, because I believe this book speaks the truth. Many Australians are indeed infected with Affluenza. ...more
BookRebel (GinaRosexox11)
Had to read this for school, included some interesting facts about how advertising is corrupting the world, but isn't the type of book I would usually read. ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Just some insights into how stupidly wasteful and status obsessed with population is.
Krystelle Zuanic
Jan 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
Oof, does this one face some heavy rendundancies. I understand it may have been quite the apt statement back in 2005, but 15 years on this book have not done it any good. Yes, our credit card debt has spiralled out of control, and yes, we are wont to overwork ourselves to the bone, but the one thing that this book is missing is necessity. These days it is impossible to live virtually anywhere without house prices that have been driven through the roof. It is impossible to not be exploited in mos ...more
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
About the only disappointing thing about this book was that it was written back in 2004, before social media had hit its stride with all of the associated problems involved with it. Nevertheless, this is a very cutting commentary on Australian society's obsession with money, wealth and 'things' driven by a marketing and advertising juggernaut and encouraged by our political and social system. It pithily explains the damage that comes from escalating 'affluenza' and the treadmill most Australians ...more
Liam Polkinghorne
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lliam Gregory
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two things:
4 stars because Mr Hamilton needs to produce an updated version. This book is nearly 15 years old now and refers to many statistics from the late 20th century even. I would be so interested to see how those stats compare now- how far have we come? Have these disturbing trends continued? I think, yes!

Secondly, despite Mr Hamilton clearly defining “what needs to be done” as basically implementing a Marxist political philosophy, there is no reference to the attempts or what has ever driv
Budd Margolis
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: marketing
Although the stats are a bit outdated, the essence of this concept is vital and still very much relevant.
the basic premise still holds and our Governments are far too focused on economic growth, or lack of growth, debt, and other aspects of the economy instead of its citizen's wellness and happiness.

WE are marketed to be unhappy, to buy solutions to make us better and happier and this leads to debt and misery, depression, and overly wasteful and unsustainable consumption.

The book is Australian-c
Benjamin Stahl
This book deals with a very prevalent issue in Western culture and it often hits the nail on the head. However, it does get a bit dry from time to time, and especially towards the end it all starts to feel a bit repetitive, with the same phrases popping up too much to go unnoticed. I also found the section on "downshifters" weak, with too much reliance of anecdotal cliches but people who sound like they would be intolerable to know in real life. ...more
Edgarr Alien Pooh
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: current-events
I admit I was disappointed with this. It all made perfect sense but there just wasn't anything startling. It just all seems so obvious and really only the statistics were new to me. The reasons and effects are around us all the time just need to open our eyes ...more
Zoe Cassar
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Absolutely readable. You will find yourself reading it aloud to your significant other...or buying it for friends.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting read on the causes and effects of over-consumption in Australia. Some points could have been expanded on, and some sounded a bit preachy, but overall a thought provoking book.
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
every polititian should read this and the world will be saved.......
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kelly
Little dated (pre GFC)
Scott Graham
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've felt so liberated since I freed myself from the pointless pursuit of stuff. This book really illustrated how that could look as a cultural movement. ...more
Mario Visic
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Miranda Blake
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting read but it didn't go into how marketing makes me want to buy things. ...more
Angus Mcfarlane
What am I to make of "affluenza"? I agree with the general premise, which holds that we, Australians, have become infatuated with affluence and consumption and suffer from our desire for possessions in preference to our own well being. Yet I find myself disagreeing with many of the arguments Hamilton makes. If so many of us are infected, why are there so many who a. Agree we have more than enough and b. are making deliberate choices to simplify their lives. We are not as infected as first portra ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Found this book much better than Growth Fetish. While it still used a lot of “evidence” by way of statistics, it also used more useful stories and examples from the lives of real people. This brought the relevance of what is not currently being adequately measured into a frame which mace it possible for more people to actually consider alternatives for themselves. Otherwise there is a tendency to make it seem the only options people have in their lives are those which have already been chosen to ...more
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Clive Hamilton AM FRSA is an Australian public intellectual and Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics and the Vice-Chancellor's Chair in Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University. He is a member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government, and is the Founder and former Executive Director of The Australia Institute. He regula ...more

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