Summary of Affluenza

The All-Consuming Epidemic

Berrett-Koehler, more...

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Affluenza book summary
Mega-malls: the cathedrals of American culture.


8 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

10 Style


Sure, Affluenza is a polemic, but it’s a powerful one. Sure, some of the book’s more startling factual assertions are, on closer examination, somewhat distorted. But this is a call to arms, not a scholarly dissection. By depicting our consumer culture as a deadly epidemic, the authors provide a metaphor that simply and intuitively captures the fears and concerns of millions of people worldwide. While some conservative readers might scoff at a book that breathlessly states that life was better before the industrial revolution, recommends this book as a valuable peek into the intellectual world of the anti-globalization left.

In this summary, you will learn

  • The definition of affluenza, an epidemic of consumption that is ruining our lives and the world;
  • The effects and symptoms of affluenza on individuals and communities, and
  • Steps that people, groups and countries can take to cure themselves of affluenza.


Affluenza: Causes and Symptoms
America, along with much of the industrialized world, is in the grip of an epidemic - affluenza. We can see its symptoms in the widespread emptiness that people feel, despite their accumulation of material goods. Affluenza has its roots in the nearly religious...
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About the Authors

John de Graaf is a longtime producer of PBS documentaries. He has been a visiting scholar at Evergreen State College and lecturer on documentary production at the University of Washington. David Wann worked for more than a decade as a policy analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Thomas Naylor has taught economics for more than 30 years at Duke University and is now Professor Emeritus of Economics there. His articles have appeared in the several major newspapers and he is the author or co-author of 30 books.

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