The Overspent American

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-02-15
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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The Overspent American explores why so many of us feel materially dissatisfied, why we work staggeringly long hours and yet walk around with ever-present mental "wish lists" of things to buy or get, and why Americans save less than virtually anyone in the world. Unlike many experts, Harvard economist Juliet B. Schor does not blame consumers' lack of self-discipline. Nor does she blame advertisers. Instead she analyzes the crisis of the American consumer in a culture where spending has become the ultimate social art.

"A masterful take on the human folly of overspending." - Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Consuming more now and enjoying it less? In this heavily researched but accessible work, Schor tells us how and why this is so and what we might do about it...This is an important analysis of who, or perhaps what, we are. It deserves and will surely gain a wide audience." - Kirkus Reviews

"Engaging...Schor'sJ case studies of families who have rejected consumerism and simplified their lifestyles are vivid and will resonate with many readers." - Fortune

"Offers trenchant commentary on Americans' overspending lifestyle and lack of savings." - Publishers Weekly

"Schor writes in a lively manner and offers fascinating information about consumer spending patterns. She has written an engaging book that will cause readers to look afresh not only at their society but also at themselves." - Philadelphia Inquirer

"A masterful take on the human folly of overspending." - Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Thick with survey data, less taxing than a saunter through Saks, Schor's study is a scornful indictment of consumerism which, she argues, has created a nation of debtors but failed to fill a gaping cultural maw. This is the stuff from which revolutions are made." - Entertainment Weekly

Author Biography

Juliet B. Schor, bestselling author of The Overworked American and senior lecturer and Director of Studies, Women's Studies, at Harvard University, writes and lectures widely of issues of work and consumption. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with her husband and two children.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Communicating with Commodities: How What We Buy Speaks Volumesp. 25
The Visible Lifestyle: American Symbols of Statusp. 43
When Spending Becomes Youp. 65
The Downshifter Next Doorp. 111
Learning Diberot's Lesson: Stopping the Upward Creep of Desirep. 143
Will Consuming Less Wreck the Economy?p. 169
Bibliographyp. 175
Organizationsp. 209
Notesp. 211
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Highly Recommended Textbook! July 23, 2011
The author poses the problem, details it, and then offers a myriad of levelheaded, workable solutions to help solve it. Juliet analyzes the crisis of the American consumer in a culture where spending has become the ultimate social art. This is an eye-opening textbook that will definitely shake you up and make you think about how you spend your money and what it's really buying you. Excellent topic without being preachy. Great studies, many original, without being too dense. It is on my must read list for anti-materialism.
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The Overspent American: 4 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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