Affluenza 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 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

Oliver James is a clinical psychologist, writer, broadcaster, and television documentary producer He frequently broadcasts on radio and acts as a pundit on television.He is the author of several books, including Affluenza, which examines the role that consumerist aspirations play in making us miserable.In 1997 he presented The Chair for BBC 2, a series that put celebrities on the psychologist s c

[BOOKS] ✯ Affluenza ✴ Oliver James –
  • Hardcover
  • 592 pages
  • Affluenza
  • Oliver James
  • English
  • 11 May 2019
  • 9780091900106

10 thoughts on “Affluenza

  1. says:

    I ve given this book five stars in the end, although when I was two thirds of the way through it wasn t going to get anything like that from me.There were two reasons for my misgivings.First, it was the metaphor It struck me as too easy somehow the idea that affluenza was a virus he is talking about Selfish Capitalism and its effects on us really and that there might be vaccines that would protect people It struck me as a typical psychologist s way of marketing another TV friendly theory.Second, it was the lengthy case studies, which started to weary me slightly Oliver James spends a couple of years of his life well, it felt like that long perhaps it wasn t really talking to people in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, China, Russia, Denmark and there may have been other countries I m not quite sure now about their affluenza symptoms and their life styles.I still think he spends too much time doing the case studies, because he nearly lost me The book, which was at the side of my bed, sat there stuck in New Zealand until I had to travel for work purposes, which meant a window of time I don t usually have Also a good night s sleep which I don t usually have time for either and I read the end, and I loved reading it Here s the deal.The Affluenza Virus is the placing of a high value on money, possessions, appearances physical and social and fame These values preoccupy me anyway, I guess, because I work in education and in my country Scotland one of the fundamental flaws in the education system which has just renamed itself Curriculum for Excellence is the way it suggests education is something you can pick up in units the you have, the richer and better you are We can t do without the word skills any It is indispensable Skills are everything and we can measure them in units of study Sigh Anyway, we seem to have an education system which is full of dissatisfied teachers and learners Everybody is being measured Sit down and they will measure your seat Everything is transparent but nobody sees through the transparency illusion Nobody values learning unless it has a unit number and a certificate that proves it exists, except that the certificate ironically often proves nothing at all Sorry, back to the book James talks about the imbalance between our wants and our needs Our needs he lists as four 1 the need to feel secure emotionally and materially2 the need to feel part of a community3 the need to feel competent4 The need to feel autonomous masters of our destinies to some degree Virus values , he suggests, screw us up by conflating what we want with what we truly need He looks at people in different cultures The USA is by far the most afflicted A culture is likely to be affected by the virus in direct proportion to the degree it is influenced by America the Americanised a culture, the consumerist it is The symptoms are measured in distress depression, mental illness, aberrant behaviour, anger.He is really interesting on China, where the people he interviews are strongly dominated by consumerist, materialistic live styles but they are not actually distressed Why not He isn t quite sure It could be repression It could be a factor immunising them against symptoms It could be the way the Chinese regard distress where we see exhaustion and lethargy as a symptom of depression, they may see this as a physical illness Basically, affluence is bad for us It makes us want and stuff. And in order to stay affluent, we have to persuade people that the stuff they want is also what they really NEED because that s what makes economies work, which makes people affluent And miserable.In one chapter, James asks a whole set of affluent people how much money they would need to feel happy and secure The people asked are on very different income levels, but they all respond in the same way Approximately one third .So hey what would you say Because it is one of those books you read in relation to yourself, no question And it s terribly topical As the credit crunch crunches onwards, it is reassuring to read that the prospect of NOT selling your house to move up the property ladder could be your healthiest decision yet He talks about intrinsic values and the need to find them Again, that sounds like well meaning waffle, but this man is not a waffler He s very precise actually He suggests that even in your workplace, you may be able to work out which bits you enjoy most and concentrate your energies on those, not on the bits that will lead to approval or promotion because that will minimise your distress How obvious How clever.Near the end of the book, he talks about playfulness as one of the important human qualities, one of the antidote things to distress And then he gets much playful himself He made me laugh several times quietly, you understand, not huge guffaws.I loved it when he got really dangerous and laid into Tony Blair and New Labour I loved his discussion of gender rancour and the need to get real.Advice to women Part of your getting real is accepting that sex is not everything once children come along If you end up with a man who does not ring your bell five times a night, then it is not the end of the bloody world Advice to men By definition, your partner needs to be someone you want to have sex with, otherwise there will be no babies, but you really have got to accept that she does not have to be a Babe, that after she s had the babe she will look less like one, and that sex will probably take a back seat for a few years Oh and also to men Once you have got real and grown up you should be perfectly capable of pouring your heart out to a woman without having to rip her knickers off or fall in love with her By the by, the TV you watch, the you are at risk from eating disorders The statistics are irrefutable.Throw out the telly Read this book Especially the manifesto that suggests that following their election, all Members of Parliament would have to spend two weeks caring full time for a two year old Yesssssss

  2. says:

    Halfway through this book I thought Why does this guy remind me of the guy who wrote They F You Up I checked the names, and both books have the same author I don t have a good memory for authors names otherwise, I wouldn t have picked up this book given how much I didn t like the other one The Affluenza Virus is a set of values which increase our vulnerability to emotional distress It entails placing a high value on acquiring money and possessions, looking good in the eyes of others and wanting to be famous The Virus and its vaccines are the essence of this book, which mind you is over 500 pages While I personally don t have much problem with his description of the Virus and the problems that it can cause, I though this book was totally lame.James promises scientific research in the outset, but he s already reached his conclusion right from the start He s moralizing, judgmental, and pontificating all through the book What he presents as research is mostly long and boring interviews with subjects whom he often and not so subtly pities and despises His politics is grotesquely tainting his research His anti Americanism is hysterical it s amusing to see him treat the number of Starbucks in a country as a measure of mental distress , and his romanticizing of Denmark and all thing Danish is near comical.

  3. says:

    I set out reading this book already believing what he tries to say, that materialism is bad and doesn t fulfil you But I find this book annoying, full of endless boring anecdotal interviews, confirming what he already decides from the start instead of serious rigorous research I also suspect he secretly pities his interview subjects instead of feeling compassion for them This book is a yawn fest with this tirade of rich people are horrible, selfish, greedy, materialistic, unhappy workaholics while poor people are so much better I didn t feel I was learning anything new or insightful from this book I suspect the world is nuanced than this So I decided to quit after 300 pages Many times, he mistakes correlation and causation, for example the number of advertisements has gone up in the past 3 decades, while the level of trust among Americans has gone down, so advertising must be the culprit It is full of over simplifying generalizations like this I am also very sceptical of some aspects of his analysis of the Chinese culture to explain why they can be materialistic without being so depressed Generalizing China using Shanghai, America using New York is at best simple minded, and at worst insulting to these hugely diverse countries Also lacking is an account of how this virulent form of Selfish Capitalism arose and what social changes it has brought about I recently read another book called The Life of I about the rise of narcissism which explores this topic satisfactorily Another thing that bugs me about him is he seems to be saying that as long as your goals don t have extrinsic motives to impress other people, then it s okay, you ll be happy It doesn t matter that your greed ruins the world as long as you find your work fascinating I simply can t swallow this I think happiness is a wobbly overrated concept and there should be higher values to our life rather than our own happiness There should be objective ideals such as compassion, justice, adventure and truth that we should work towards and happiness comes as a by product of such pursuits I don t know if he gets to explore it because I m already fast asleep after 300 pages

  4. says:

    This book details the virus of affluenza that haunts the modern day individual The selfish capitalist societies we belong to have honed in on our ever increasing desire for the material and use this to their own monetary advantage and our own emotional entrapment humanity s future is envisioned in all its monstrous bleakness here, unless we begin to accept our condition and learn to control our shallow impulses and derogatory treatment of the self.I found myself agreeing with much of the book s beginning section, which detailed the virus giving real life examples from across the globe Whilst this was a little repetitive in nature it was still an interesting read Many other reviews cited this portion as a vast oversimplification, as individual cases were often used to prove his theory of the entire population, which I did feel but it wasn t enough for me to completely disagree with his theory.The central section, however, was far less insightful What begun as a clever and unique sociological theory soon turned into an unremarkable self help guide I found this portion just as repetitive, but with age old wisdoms rather than with itself Nothing new was provided here and my interest waned In what is already a hefty non fiction this could have perhaps benefited from the earlier oversimplification being provided here, instead.

  5. says:

    This book is about the alleged evils of a virus called affluenza and how it can be cured According to the author, the English speaking world is swept by this terrible virus The most infected are also the most affluent Since the richer you are the likely you are to catch this horrible virus, I am in no danger whatsoever From the first lines, I started to think that I made a mistake buying this book The impression was confirmed when I finished the first chapter, where we are told the tale of an obnoxious multi billionaire, who is always dissatisfied with his life, while a poor taxi driver, illegal alien, married with kids, would not swap place with the billionaire, because his life is so happy.It sounds incredibly corny and it is The rest of book is divided in chapters which follow the same structure interviews with obnoxious people, all rich, young an beautiful but fatally infected by affluenza and then the odd one out, the guy or gal who should also been infected but isn t You may wonder why, and the answer is because of mummy It turns out that the epidemic of affluenza is mainly caused by the fact that women nowadays receive an education and want to work Once they start working, they become so selfish as to want to spend all their money for useless things, like cosmetics, handbags and larger breasts, rather than just expecting to get married and have children If they would just stay home and take care of their kids, there would be no problem at all.The author goes out of his way to prove that children with working mothers are nothing short of sociopaths Surely we must agree think about the good old days when women used to stay at home but was people really happier and the world a peaceful place Think about the Middle Ages, the crusades, colonisation, genocides of entire civilisations, witches burnt at stakes.To make matters worse, the author also likes to point out how privileged and upper class his life is Unfortunately, I do not care if he is used to drinking tea with the queen and went skiing with the king of Siam I was expecting a serious piece of work about real situations and I found a book about a world that is as foreign to me as Mars, populated by super achievers perennially depressed, despite the huge amounts of money they make To conclude, if you want some answers about the problems of life, read some philosophical essays, if you have too much money and are very unhappy get yourself to a shrink, but do not waste your precious money to buy this book My copy ended straight into the trash and it was the best moment, since the day I started reading it.

  6. says:

    Affluenza promised to be a much thought provoking read than delivered In honesty, I picked up the book as likely already a convert to the ideas which James is attempting to present in the work as my role as choir member I merely expected to be perhaps entertained by the sermon Unfortunately, the book relies far too heavily upon James own personal opinions about the differences between nations and upon anecdotes of people which he met during his world tour So, the work ends up sounding smug and pseudo physiological I was frequently annoyed by the gross oversimplifications that Oliver James would throw around about some person he was analyzing Freudian sounding generalizations about, for example, how the stock broker s obsession with objects and reluctance to commit was surely a result of a cold and distant mother, left me rolling my eyes.Whereas interview style journalism can frequently be quite revealing, I couldn t help but feel that James was talking to all the wrong people The book often mentions how much of a sway advertising has over setting the mindset of the populace, but doesn t really spend much time talking to advertising executives Instead we get endless quotes from young 20 somethings in Shanghai, or even Danish school girls about their deep thoughts on materialism or how its just so hard living with the competitive atmosphere these days Its not that I am unsympathetic or that I disagree so much as that I frequently failed to see why the interviewees were qualified to have insight into the issue than I would be myself There are statistics thrown out here and there, and some of them are revealing But most of the book is a rather dull recounting of the various pet peeves of people of the world interspersed with a healthy dose of Oliver James personal opinions.

  7. says:

    A good idea for a book, but so padded with anecdote standing in for research for which he is so defensive that it cannot be taken seriously His narrow diagnosis of the big v Virus of selfish capitalism rolls all of the world s ills to one doorstep here in the US But his chapters on the US rely entirely on New York City as his measure for American culture and values Which is ridiculous and insulting to the nation as a whole There are some good ideas, some common sense steps mixed into this book, but too much else to wade through to get to them His love of Denmark is also funny, until he turns on their childcare procedures in a later chapter So overall, the book has one argument that he has piled high and tried to tie everything to It is a tottering edifice, not at all convincing and covered up by his too self assured writing style and relentless use of examples and general stereotypes about particular countries.

  8. says:

    And here was the interesting experience of being in complete agreement with the author s stated hypothesis and yet arguing with him on nearly every page because I hated the way he was shoehorning data and anecdotes to fit his theory.Best example the advent of Selfish Capitalism in New Zealand might have destroyed immunity to the Virusthis does not seem to have happened Most New Zealanders have not been seduced by Selfish Capitalism Here is a country with a government doing its best to infect its citizens with Affluenza, but with a long standing culture that may have provided a measure of immunity followed in the very next paragraph, mind you with the nation goes straight into second place in the league table of mental illness It would seem that, despite public opposition to the Selfish Capitalism governance, the Virus has taken hold and distress has spread So, rather than accept that his assumption of a correlation between his personal opinion of whether or not a country suffers from the Virus and its mental health rating is not upheld in New Zealand, he just decides they must be suffering from the Virus anyway His whole mind tour was nothing but an exercise in confirming what he had already decided.This whole concept was covered much much convincingly by Clive Hamilton, probably with just as much personal bias, but at least with a nod to looking at data objectively, and with much better examples too.On the other hand, the discussions on attrativeness vs beauty and on motherhood were timely for me and gave me some new ways of thinking about the topics if only in mentally arguing with him , so despite being within a whisker of DNFing this book, I am glad I persevered.

  9. says:

    This book could usefully be subtitled Consumerism and why it s bad for us and bad for Society But that would not be nearly as neat, eye catching and memorable as Affluenza .Oliver James writes with great observation and thoughtfulness This is not a book to be read cover to cover in minimal time This reader sought to match thought to thought with the author, and then to think beyond that an interesting exercise in itself, yet a worry latent with wondering just how many people are actually capable of deep personal changes of which they re unaware that they need to make if they too are to enjoy happier and productive lives so that we may all contentedly live, debate, work, and make love in that warmer, happier, openly friendlier and productive society.

  10. says:

    I read this book back in 2008, when I was busily running around trying to do everything at work, not really succeeding, and not having time to do much else either Although it s not a particularly scientific effort there are a couple of scattergrams showing emotional distress v income inequality in the appendices , it is an interesting read, and points out some of what should be important in our lives friends, family, doing things because you enjoy them rather than to impress other people, but which can be pushed to the back of the queue by the pressures to be seen to be doing better than others, have a better car, iPhone, possessions, husband, wife, house whatever it is All of those are ultimately just stuff if you just have the husband wife for trophy bragging purposes , and don t really make us any happier.Although I ve never been particularly materialistic, the amount of time I spent at work made me less able to devote much time to other equally important things, to the extent that it took over my life, and caused me to leave in the end through stress.Since then I ve done lots of different things, met lots of new people, and have an altogether balanced and interesting life Although I m still getting to where I really want to be, I ve been a lot happier in the process So although I wouldn t go as far as to say this book changed my life, I could relate to what it was saying It s a reminder to not worry too much about the material things in life, although everyone needs to have at least their basic needs met, which is not happening for too many people right now, but that s a different story altogether

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