Saturday, December 15, 2012

Affluenza: When too much is never enough - a book for learning

I have recently finished reading "Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough" by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss.  This is a book to open your eyes and start you thinking again.

The book look at the concept of Affluenza, which is a feeling that no matter what you have its never enough, and you feel compelled to work harder and longer to get more money to buy more stuff to try and combat the feeling.

The research and material making up this book is from an Australian perspective and although about 7 years old now, is perhaps even more relevant.

Affluenza helps you realise that nagging feeling of dissatisfaction is made by society and offer some of the perspectives people have taken to combat that feeling.

Most effective I feel is the concept of downshifting - choosing to simplify your life by working less and doing more of the things that bring real satisfaction like being with family and friends, being creative, following a dream, or just using less of everything.

I found it initially surprising as a capitalist from my teens to identify so much with downshifting but really it's the ultimate ways of getting ahead. To me, if you spend less on the unnecessary things in life and always end up just slightly ahead with your income (even if your income is small), in the end you will win.  Plus you will be happier doing it.

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