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Curing Affluenza: How to Buy Less Stuff and Save the World

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Affluenza is the empty sense we feel when our wasteful consumerist lifestyle leaves us dissatisfied and unfulfilled. How can we cure ourselves of this strikingly modern affliction? According to Richard Denniss, we must distinguish between consumerism, the love of buying things, which is undeniably harmful to us and to the planet, and materialism, the love of things, which ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 2017 by Black Inc. (first published October 30th 2017)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  282 ratings  ·  39 reviews


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Trevor
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
As I said in my review of Affluenza, I think this is the better book of the two and not just because it is more up to date, but also because it addresses questions of culture. Now, that is also going to be my main criticism of the book too. All the same, the fact the author spends the whole book hammering the idea that the economic choices we make are not decided by economic theory, that there are alternatives, that the world has millions of examples of such alternatives, and that culture decide ...more
Carly
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this so motivating to read. It is very accessible to someone like me who has no economics training, with Denniss demystifying a nomenclature that is often intimidating to lay people.

Denniss lays out why some of our most seemingly innocuous or simple choices - and buying bottled water gets considerable air time -can make a significant difference to shaping our economy and our society and environment in positive or negative ways.

This book presents some big ideas for change but is clever
...more
Esther
"This book is not a plea for self-sacrifice. Nor is it an attack on the morality or rationality of the billions of people who spend little (if any) time thinking about how to prevent climate change or reduce global inequality... Anyone who wants to change the behaviour of billions of people must focus on reshaping the context in which individual decisions are made... [R]apid cultural change requires not just personal and political action, but also personal actions that make political action easi ...more
Caity
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant. Denniss explored in-depth economic theories and solutions towards tackling the issues of affluenza and climate change. I struggled to put the book down towards the end, it was that good. I almost felt like I struggled to come up for air, food or a toilet break. I was hooked. Denniss is a brilliant master-mind who has a large potential to make a big contribution to Australian politics if he made the choice to go down that pathway. I particularly enjoyed the sections about GD ...more
Susan Austin
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I agreed with most of the arguments and sentiments of this book. I found the reflections on technological change and shifts in employment fascinating. I think he was too short on examples of how things could look different, and while he mentions there are lots of places in the world leading the way he doesn’t give any detail. He made one mention of co-operatives but again no fleshing out of these models and he disparaged socialism at one point, then left the door open at another. Really he was b ...more
Tony
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Thanks to Net Galley for the arc and for Mr. Denniss for writing the book. I would like to once again request to the Good Reads team that they offer up a half star option. Please. 3.5 stars on this book.

Having read the book Affluenza, I was fully aware of the definitions of the issue and I knew what this book would mostly be about...or so I thought. I was pleasantly surprised to have this be a much more global culture shifts and social psychology. The book that coined the term focused mostly on
...more
Andrew Roberts
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-buy
A sometimes repetitious writing style and lack of clear direction in parts keeps me from giving a five-star rating, but the ideas that Denniss presents are powerful and an oh-so-refreshing counter to the dominant economic ideas in Australian society and politics. I have already been spurred to take action on local issues as a result of reading this book!

May many more read it and take hold of the notion that change is indeed possible on many levels and in relation to many issues, but only if peo
...more
Nick Harris
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
The hyperbolic title really says it all, although focuses too much on the individual
Tyson Adams
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.”*

Richard Denniss' Curing Affluenza seeks to define the problems our current consumerist society has and how to address it. He posits that we need to abandon consumerism and opt instead for materialism if we have any chance of changing the shape of our economy, which will, in turn, allow us to address issues like climate change and environmental degradation.

For many years now I've been a fan of R
...more
Julia Tutt
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this in one sitting and so I don't think I took all of it in but the main points of the book are:
- bottled water
-materialism v consumerism and the encouragement of materialism
-the effect of symbolism when consuming
- climate change
-interaction of culture with the economy and government
- the economy being described as a massive amount of choices and decisions being made around the world.
- individual choices = culture
-the future is totally unpredictable.

I found the start quite preac
...more
Ahc
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
(had to stop at page 189)
Monica
Sep 08, 2018 rated it liked it
As a Millennial, the warnings about climate change and the destruction of the world we live have been a constant background for my whole life. Sometimes I try to assuage my feelings of helplessness and rage by reading books like this one.

Curing Affluenza has a simple thesis - if we loved the stuff we already owned, we would spend the time and effort to repair and maintain it instead of buying new stuff that we don't need and thereby saving the environmental and human resources that go into crea
...more
Sophie
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
From bottled water, to climate change, Dennis provides a witty, hopeful and inspiring account of the way forward to curing our collective case of nation-wide affluenza. Denniss aims to de-mystify the neo-liberal values that encompass an overwhelming amount of political rhetoric, arguing with sharp wit that participating in wasteful patterns of consumption to supposedly keep the economy strong ‘makes as much sense as sacrificing a goat to appease the gods’.

Denniss reaches the conclusion that it
...more
Nancy
Feb 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, economics
This book didn't grab me as much as Clive Hamilton's earlier book on Affluenza. When I finished that previous book, I was pleased to see that there was one which was much later, so I borrowed it straight away. And although I enjoyed it, it didn't cohere as well for me as I had hoped.

I completely bought in to Denniss's argument that consumerism, affluenza and all of the associated destruction that has come from it is driven predominantly by culture. A lot of his observations about culture seemed
...more
Joano
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Affluenza, as described in this book is about people buying and then throwing away what they bought without really holding onto it for a long time. Buying useless items for the sake of shopping, causing environmental issues such as adding waste or striping natural resources to make this item.

The book suggests ways on how each individual can review their spending- at the basic consumer level to our choices on who we vote into government in terms of how our tax dollars should be spent.

I found this
...more
Doug Dillaman
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Stumbled across this browsing a library shelf (because you can do that safely in NZ!) and grabbed it fully willing to ditch it after a couple pages and holy shit it was inspirational. Essential reading for anyone who has said "it's good for the economy" on one side of the political divide or "capitalism is bad" without deeply interrogating them. Not quite a manifesto for a better world, but definitely a manifesto of how we should think about making a better world. A couple hobby horses (bottled ...more
Viti
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thought-provoking whilst using simple metaphorical illustrations to get his message through to the reader; whatever their professional background.

The author's description of the differences between "consumerism" and "materialism" in particular struck a chord; as were the references to differences in cultures around the world and modern culture in itself.

I found the discussion on GDP and how ineffective it can be as a measure to be eye-opening (ie the size of GDP versus the shape of GDP)

Personall
...more
Nell
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
So nice to have a book on economy by an economist that isn't just about making more money. The discussion revolves around a change in culture, which will thus improve people's lives and shuts down a lot of the BS rhetoric surrounding taxing those who make more money.

Big take away: community matters, and a better community makes for fantastic knock-on effects to improving health, environment and well-being.

Downside: the first couple of chapters just seemed to be asking questions a lot, which got
...more
Lisa
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The part in here disguishing materialism and consumerism is very interesting. And made me realise that’s what I have been doing for the last few years. Picking up secondhand things because I couldn’t bear the though of them going into landfill.

Good read for people interested in environmental economics with some uplifting messages on how to steer the economy in a more uplifting direction. Wish I could recommend it to some of my consumerist friends - unfortunately the people most likely to benefi
...more
Almustafa Couch
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quiet an interesting read, not overly technical (though it did use in terns when necessary, these were always defined). It showed affluenza as a contradictory social disorder which leads from neoliberalism,in fact it is true to say, that without neoliberalism affluenza would not be a problem. A good book useful in understanding the tendency of the youth to regard themselves before regarding the consequences of their decisions.
Sophie
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and thought-provoking. Very big-picture, focusing on economics and how changing culture is as important as changing legislation when it comes to curing the current desire to accumulate more and more material goods, with interesting ideas on changing the way we think about things like tax, GDP, politics and community engagement.
Ita
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Do you suffer from affluenza? Richard explains it this way: 'Affluenza is that strange desire we feel to spend money we don't have to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't know...'.

Some good ideas but I didn't agree with all of his suggestions. It definitely made me think and it is an interesting book. It took me a while to read it as it can be quite dry and academic at times.
...more
Yury
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This book has a few ideas how to reduce mindless consumption. Otherwise it is wordy pamphlet, advocating that buying less stuff will save the world. I expected more "how" in this book and less "why". I wish that economist-guys learned how to write succinct books.

My subjective information rating is 10%, that is 10% of the content was something new and interesting to me.
...more
David Risstrom
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good book worth reading, especially for those motivated to contribute to a better world. With an emphasis on plain speaking economics, Richard helps engage the reader with ways they can contribute to what they want. Rather than what others want for you. And also want you to consume. Borrow a copy or pass your bought copy onto your friend! Thanks Richard.
Caitlyn Robinson
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
'Curing Affluenza' was a very different read to what I expected, but it was incredibly informative and educational. As an individual who is passionate about social justice, but has a limited knowledge of the economy, this book was a great introduction to Australian consumer economics and how we can move towards a more sustainable future. ...more
Suz Bysouth
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Looks at how culture can shape the economy and how the individual's buying power can be used for good. A little dry at times (economics doesn't ordinarily interest me) but is written in a way that makes it accessible. ...more
Martha Birch
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The subject and arguments were well researched but after finishing the book I wanted a short list of changes I could make in my life as there was so much information in the book I got lost in the detail. The chapter titles could have been clearer too
Emma (M)
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The author is from the far left and I’m pretty sure he’d be a card-carrying member of the Greens Party; he definitely has a political agenda in this book. That being said, I found some of his points interesting and food for thought.
Grace
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish this was required reading in all high schools and for every aspiring politician. Clearly and easily explained. Great, clear metaphors used. Easy language to follow. Lots of international examples used.
Romany
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was supposed to be hopeful, but made me sad. If we can’t blame the markets (because it’s culture that’s the issue) it’s still our fault.
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Richard Denniss is the Chief Economist and former Executive Director of The Australia Institute. He is a prominent Australian economist, author and public policy commentator, and a former Adjunct Associate Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. Dr Denniss was described by Mark Kenny in the Sydney Morning Herald as "a constant ...more

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