This is the third book that I am recommending to folks that are interested in a great personal finance book to get someone for the holidays. It’s another book on my bookshelf that I consider to be a classic – and probably the last book I’ll have the chance to write about before Christmas this weekend.
Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us And How To Fight Back isn’t so much a personal finance book as a lifestyle manifesto that will cause you to question the craziness of our consumer culture. I’m including it in my recommendations because perhaps more than any other book you read, it will cause you to question how much money you really need to be happy and content. I believe it will encourage you to live simpler and probably speed up your route to FIRE (financial independence and retiring early) more than any other book I can recommend.
Written by three authors, John de Graaf, David Wann, and Thomas Naylor, Affluenza describes the “painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” It digs deep into the hedonic treadmill that keeps us working for more stuff that doesn’t really make us more satisfied.
The book isn’t written with hard facts and studies that I usually enjoy reading. It is more of an anecdotal call-to-action that makes it’s case on emotion and case studies. They include a number of ‘self surveys’ to help readers to see how badly they might be suffering from affluenza themselves.
The book has a companion PBS series that I haven’t watched. It might be a good binge-watch with my son when he is home from college over Christmas break and January Term. Apparently a number of high school and college courses use the book and series as the basis for helping students learn about the sociology of our consumer culture.
Here is a link to the most up to date version of the book on Amazon. Again, I don’t benefit financially if you order it or not. I include the link only to make it easier if you might want to get it or read other reviews. Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us And How To Fight Back