There is currently an epidemic of 'affluenza' throughout the world - an obsessive, envious, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses - that has resulted in huge increases in depression and anxiety among millions. Over a nine-month period, bestselling author Oliver James travelled around the world to try and find out why. He discovered how, despite very different cultures and levels of wealth, affluenza is spreading. Cities he visited include Sydney, Singapore, Moscow, Copenhagen, New York and Shanghai, and in each place he interviewed several groups of people in the hope of finding out not only why this is happening, but also how one can increase the strength of one's emotional immune system. He asks: why do so many more people want what they haven't got and want to be someone they're not, despite being richer and freer from traditional restraints? And, in so doing, uncovers the answer to how to reconnect with what really matters and learn to value what you've already got. In other words, how to be successful and stay sane.
- Paperback | 592 pages
- 126 x 198 x 37mm | 395g
- 06 Oct 2014
- Ebury Publishing
- London, United Kingdom
Should be mandatory reading for everyone
An absorbing and effective wake-up call * London Lite * A wonderfully clear and cogent thesis * Guardian * Never before have I read a book that so precisely captures the way we are all being emotionally snookered by the demands of 21st-century living... read this book -- Jeremy Vine Should be mandatory reading for everyone -- Will Self Oliver James is excellent at showing why social scientists think that the surge in material affluence can produce the opposite of happiness. -- Avner Offer, Professor of Economic History, University of Oxford
About Oliver James
Oliver James trained and practised as a child clinical psychologist and, since 1987, has worked as a writer, journalist and television documentary producer and presenter. His books include Juvenile Violence in a Winner-Loser Culture, the bestselling They F*** You Up and Britain on the Couch, which was also a successful documentary series for Channel 4. He is a trustee of two children's charities: the National Family and Parenting Institute and Homestart.
Our customer reviews
<p>Is the bestselling psychologist Oliver James (<a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=0091923816">The Selfish Capitalist</a>, <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=0747584788">They F*** You Up</a>) really just a grumpy old man? Is he a small "c" conservative who wants women back in the home, looking after the kids? Or is he an old lefty, angry about property rights, angry about privatisation, who wants the economy ruled by old- fashioned ideas like those of Keynes!? It would be easy, no doubt, to label James with any of these negative -- if contradictory -- terms, but none of them are adequate. </p> <p>This is a timely book -- especially in these financially unstable and unsettling times. It is an important study of how and why we view richness the way that we do here in the West. <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=0091900107">Affluenza</a> is a serious look at a real problem: James makes the vital argument that money and material goods, beyond a certain level, do not add to the sum of human happiness. Modern life, in the rich West, is what is making us mad, bad and unhappy. In the era of <em>Selfish Capitalism</em> false needs are created by advertisers which press in on us all of the time. We are no longer content simply to be, we must have and then we must have more. Ironically, often tragically, having more doesn't make us happy. </p> <p>James recommends that the status of parenthood needs to rise, that we shouldn't be so competitive, and that we should look inwardly. He attacks New Labour with some considerable venom and aplomb. Over nine-months of travelling around the world, James uncovers the answer to the difficult question of how to count what really matters: learn to value what you've already got. There is wisdom here, no doubt, and wisdom to cherish when the world's financial markets are falling about our ears. But if the world's social system is causing all this misery, perhaps we need to look at the cause of the problem rather than just its effects? Learning to let go of our addiction to affluence is one thing, being immiserated by an austerity crisis caused by the greed of a handful of bankers is an other.</p>show moreby Mark Thwaite