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Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  159 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Bestselling author Lee Eisenberg searches for a Universal Buy Theory that explains why we behave in rational and irrational ways when we shop.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Free Press (first published October 12th 2009)
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Feb 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shoptimism was a book touted on NPR and by my boyfriend, how could I turn it down? After a decent wait it arrived, and the boyfriend dispensed with it in a week. This, then, was going to be a good time: if it isn't extremely well written and diverting, then the boyfriend cannot be bothered.

Lee has worked at Land's End and Esquire, lives in Chicago, and has a well-funded wife and two children. Lee's life and mine are about as diametrically opposite as you can make it, except that we are both fisc
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Overlong discussion of various studies, personal observations, etc. re consumer psychology. There were a few interesting tidbits on marketers' exploitation of anchoring effects in pricing and such, but......

(a) extremely leisurely pace -- never settles for "some people buy things they don't need because they find it exciting" when he could instead say "i found myself thinking about why anyone would buy something they don't need. Surely we've all been guilty of wife once bought.....wh
Jan 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book - really, I did. Instead I found myself quickly putting it down after slogging through the first 200 pages. Just another business book with no meat!

Lee Eisenberg attempts to answer the question of "Why do we shop and buy what we do?" by looking at "The Sell Side" and "The Buy Side." The book takes a circuitous route into each mindset, exposing the consumer marketing machine in a jumble of observations and reflections on his time behind the scenes as Executive VP at Lan
Dec 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shoptimism is a fun and informative book about shopping, but it is also a social history of America's past several decades. The book explores how shopping-related phenomena influence our present and have shaped our past.

Shoptimism is full of information and wide-ranging references that entertain, challenge, and inform. The cleverness of the writing, with plays on the jargon of the topics and argot of the subjects, and the conversational tone keep the reading from being heavy even though some of
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've had this on my bookshelf for a long time and finally decided I needed to read it before it became too outdated! Having read similar consumer behavior type books, this didn't provide me with much new information.

What I did like was approaching the topic from the perspective of someone who simply had an interest in the sell-side & buy-side, and not because consumer behavior was their career.
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
…Nothing astounding in terms of revelations for me, but overall enjoyable.

The writing style, which if I weren't in a hurry to finish the book, probably is pleasant and something others would like: chatty, personal, engaging. Some of his stories got in the way of what I was after (which is?), and I did get a tad annoyed that his family's spending ability was clearly above mine, and he didn't seem to recognize that perhaps some of his readers might be in the same position as me.

That said, what I d
Kristen Northrup
Oct 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Good current overview of consumerism, covering the behavior of both buyers and sellers. Eisenberg's journalism background means snappier writing than the more academic books, with references to 'soothingly pretentious' ad campaigns and stores entombed in marble-tiled malls. A discussion of Victorian Era marketing invokes 'the man in the grey flannel waistcoat.'

No one is villain or victim here, although the 'Buy Scolds' receive regular chiding for overdoing it. The author and his family are unrep
Jan 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shoptimism is Eisenberg's expansive exploration of why Americans buy things, including comments from advertisers,scientists, data collectors, economists, business owners, polls and surveys, shoppers, friends, family, and anyone else he could hunt down to interview. It may not be the most scientific of books, but it was chock full of interesting information from differing, often competing viewpoints.

Surprisingly, while I thought a bit about what Eisenberg presented, I found that Shoptimism actual
Blog on Books
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
If the economy is indeed making its way back up hill, it may have something to do with what author Lee Eisenberg describes as “Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What” (Free Press). Shoptimism is the belief that through times thick and thin, the American consumer is programmed to keep on shopping. But, of course, the question is, why? What are the factors that induce us to buy; to buy things we don’t always need; to buy just to buy. What are the marketing message ...more
Mar 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: society
I almost closed Shoptimism after the first few chapters, but I'm glad I stuck with it. This is a pretty generic book on how people shop, looking at various marketing attempts and classifying buyers into different groups. If you want to skip reading the book, you can basically take away the ideas that:

1) We don't really know why people buy.

2) There are many different types of shoppers.

I, however, am completely new to the idea of marketing research, and this broad overview of types of buyers intri
Mark Mikula
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
I've had a run of books in between a three- and a four-star rating. It seemed to confirm my expectations more than it surprised me, so I'd put it somewhere in the 3.50 or 3.75 star rating range. The author has a unique story to tell from the standpoint of his embedded status as a former executive at Land's End. I appreciated his insight into Sears's takeover of that label.

Eisenberg told solid stories and brought a wide range of historians, philosophers, and contemporary experts and everyday shop
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Living the frugal life (yes, my resolution for the New Year, and still going strong) also made me read some books on the subject, and I must say that Lee Eisenberg's approach to the topic was a truly engaging one.
Circling the topic from two sides – the Seller's and the Buyer's – the book is chock full with well researched information as well as written in a wonderfully absorbing and fun style. This book provides the reader with a detailed view on consumerism and while not everyone might agree, I
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
My strongest impression is that the author was obsessed with swift and clever language and tone in a manner I found cloying. It felt like an attempt to distract me from realizing that the broad approach to analyzing "why people buy" evaded clear conclusions. Like Costco shoppers on a Sunday morning, it sampled and dabbled everywhere, meandering without purpose (exactly the type of annoying sentence you'd see in this book). Or: it felt like shopping at Urban Outfitters in book form -- sometimes o ...more
Marianne Brodman
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
"A man's self is the sum total of all that he can call his, not only his body & his psychic powers, but his clothes & his house, his wife & children, his ancestors & friends, his reputation & works, his lands & yacht & bank account. All these things give him the same emotions. If they wax & prosper, he feels triumphant; if they dwindle & die away, he feels cast down, not necessarily in the same degree for each thing, but in much the same way for all." William ...more
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
As far as books on marketing, shopping and the like go, this is one of the better ones. Even if you don't give a hoot about what makes people buy, the book's worth reading if only for the good writing and unending witty observations. On the other hand, if you're a sourpuss who thinks all consumerism is evil all the time, you probably won't enjoy it.
Pierre Lauzon
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
The book is an adequate introduction to retail consumerism. There were interesting anecdotes about consumer behavior and the author's family in particular.

Also good information on using the internet and how retailers customize and target messages to individuals based on past buying habits and life status.
May 14, 2010 rated it liked it
A good basic introduction to behavioral economics and marketing for those that don't have knowledge of either. Doesn't contain anything ground-breaking or earth shattering, but has some interesting anecdotes.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Interesting book on marketing and consumerism. Even though I am female, I think I shop more like a man, according to this book. Looks at various ways we are marketed to and the types of shoppers we are, broken into two halves, the Sell side and the Buy side.

Ruth Feathers
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
We are so doomed.
Martin Bihl
Nov 15, 2009 rated it liked it
please see my review in advertising age:

you may also see my review here:
Dec 10, 2009 added it
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great view into why people shop!
Dec 11, 2010 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
listened to book on CD
Sep 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
I only recommend this book of you don't have a clue about marketing and sales. Other wise it becomes repetitive.
Jun 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book. I tried hard! I just couldn't get into it. I gave up and brought it back to the library.
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Hardly revelatory or entertaining
Nov 16, 2009 added it
An interesting "take" on why we shop, and how, from the man who was editor of Esquire and president of Lands End too.
Jan 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I learned that I am definitely not the average shopper.
This is an interesting look at what makes people feel like buying.
Jan 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Interesting and book about what makes us buy things, both in terms of what the "sell side" does to entice us and our own buying psychology.
rated it it was ok
Feb 19, 2018
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