Book Review: Affluenza by Oliver James

I picked up Affluenza on a whim on a visit to my local Waterstones, yes I do still visit bricks and mortar bookshops, and although I had heard of Oliver James before, I knew very little about him or what to expect.

First off – I finished the book. This is not true of every book I start reading, especially trendy sociological stuff like this. However this is an easy read with plenty of interesting insights.

The book explores the effects of the consumer society on various aspects of our lives and in a variety of societies around the world. At the end of each chapter there are suggested vaccines to protect ourselves against the Affluenza virus.

Many of the examples given throughout the book ring true both from my own experiences and from watching those around me at home and at work. Some of the science and statistics offered to back up the arguments in the book required a bit of taking at face value, but I did find myself agreeing with most most of the main points made.

There’s a chapter at the end where he warns that he is going to get unrestrained in his suggestions for longer term political solutions to Affluenza and much of this seemed naive and out of touch to me but your mileage may vary.

You probably going to pick up a book like this because you are already pre-disposed to agree with the arguments it is likely to make and this was certainly true in my case. If on the other hand you hold very different views of why the world is the way it is, as I know some of my friends do, then you will probably find this book really annoying!

Rating: 4 out of 10

[I am going to try to be more conscientious about writing up the books that I read as I read so many and it seems a waste not to make even basic notes as I go!]

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