Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by Thomas H. Naylor

This is a very good book. You should read it. The wealth of information and depth of analysis makes this a well-worth-the-trouble-to-read-it kind of book. The authors are well read, and it shows in each chapter. The analysis, statistics and information is hauntingly and depressingly good. But once you’ve read it, give it away to someone. And then give away other things you don’t need. And if you don’t, then read the book again. And again. Until you get it.

Affluenza – the disease represented mainly by overconsumption afflicting the Western world. (Or at least, the wealthy part of the Western world and which is starting now to infect Asia.) The book is broken into three sections: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment. I’ve read quite a few books on this topic, and try to live a simple life, but it’s not easy and the authors know that. But I’m not a 2 cars parked on the street because the garage is full kind of guy (I don’t have a garage, let alone a car.) The format of the book means that I can photocopy single chapters and lend them to people who I think couldn’t be bothered to read the whole thing, to give them an idea of what it’s all about. And each chapter then has references at the end for further reading. It serves as a textbook of society’s woes.

The book was published in 2002, at the beginning of George W’s presidency. It seemed at the time a good book with a good prescription for the ills of society. Reading it at the beginning of 2009, the patient is a lot sicker and I think more drastic measures might have to be taken. Doctor, give me a shot.