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The Day the World Stops Shopping: How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and Ourselves

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Consuming less is our best strategy for saving the planet—but can we do it? In this thoughtful and surprisingly optimistic book, journalist J. B. MacKinnon investigates how we may achieve a world without shopping. We can’t stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma. The economy says we must always consume more: even the slightest drop in spending leads to w Consuming less is our best strategy for saving the planet—but can we do it? In this thoughtful and surprisingly optimistic book, journalist J. B. MacKinnon investigates how we may achieve a world without shopping. We can’t stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma. The economy says we must always consume more: even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure. The planet says we consume too much: in America, we burn the earth’s resources at a rate five times faster than it can regenerate. And despite efforts to “green” our consumption—by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power—we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions. Addressing this paradox head-on, acclaimed journalist J. B. MacKinnon asks, What would really happen if we simply stopped shopping? Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering economic collapse? At first this question took him around the world, seeking answers from America’s big-box stores to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate. Then the thought experiment came shockingly true: the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt, and MacKinnon’s ideas were tested in real time. Drawing from experts in fields ranging from climate change to economics, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society, and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain: An investment in our physical and emotional wellness. The pleasure of caring for our possessions. Closer relationships with our natural world and one another. Imaginative and inspiring, The Day the World Stops Shopping will embolden you to envision another way.


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Consuming less is our best strategy for saving the planet—but can we do it? In this thoughtful and surprisingly optimistic book, journalist J. B. MacKinnon investigates how we may achieve a world without shopping. We can’t stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma. The economy says we must always consume more: even the slightest drop in spending leads to w Consuming less is our best strategy for saving the planet—but can we do it? In this thoughtful and surprisingly optimistic book, journalist J. B. MacKinnon investigates how we may achieve a world without shopping. We can’t stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma. The economy says we must always consume more: even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure. The planet says we consume too much: in America, we burn the earth’s resources at a rate five times faster than it can regenerate. And despite efforts to “green” our consumption—by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power—we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions. Addressing this paradox head-on, acclaimed journalist J. B. MacKinnon asks, What would really happen if we simply stopped shopping? Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering economic collapse? At first this question took him around the world, seeking answers from America’s big-box stores to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate. Then the thought experiment came shockingly true: the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt, and MacKinnon’s ideas were tested in real time. Drawing from experts in fields ranging from climate change to economics, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society, and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain: An investment in our physical and emotional wellness. The pleasure of caring for our possessions. Closer relationships with our natural world and one another. Imaginative and inspiring, The Day the World Stops Shopping will embolden you to envision another way.

30 review for The Day the World Stops Shopping: How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and Ourselves

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Damned if we do. Damned if we don't. I think most of us know that humanity is living beyond our means. Globally, we are consuming the Earth's resources at a rate 1.7 times faster than it can regenerate (Americans at a rate 5 times faster). We desperately need to cut back our consumption but if we do, what happens to the economy? We saw how the pandemic was detrimental to economies around the world, and that was just from people consuming less for a few months. What would happen if we all (especia Damned if we do. Damned if we don't. I think most of us know that humanity is living beyond our means. Globally, we are consuming the Earth's resources at a rate 1.7 times faster than it can regenerate (Americans at a rate 5 times faster). We desperately need to cut back our consumption but if we do, what happens to the economy? We saw how the pandemic was detrimental to economies around the world, and that was just from people consuming less for a few months. What would happen if we all (especially in the West) stopped buying so much? In The Day the World Stops Shopping, author J. B. Mackinnnon embarks on a thought experiment to find out what would happen if the world suddenly cut our consumption by 25%. He looked at cutting back not only our purchases of new gadgets and clothes and too much food, but on our electricity and other uses of fossil fuel as well. He talked to a number of experts in various fields, from economics to climate change. How would this affect not just the world's economy, but climate change and job availability? Would it affect the rich or the poor the most? Which countries would bear the brunt of the impact? Would people be happier consuming less? Could our high tech world survive or would we sink back into the Dark Ages? Mr. Mackinnon explores these and many more questions. I found this book interesting, educational, and insightful. Those interested in the future of humanity will find much to appreciate in this book. I love all the ways it got me thinking, and I love that it inspired me to continue to consume less and less..... though we are assured that individual actions don't count for much. It might be a case of damned if we do and damned if we don't.... or it might be that we could begin cutting back some as a whole, even to where we were just a couple years ago, without any or few negative repercussions. Ultimately, the author is hopeful that we can make changes that would benefit the earth and all its inhabitants and he talks about that as well. I'm more cynical but feel a little more optimistic after reading this book. Even if I hadn't, it would still have been well worth reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jiny S

    The Day the World Stops Shopping is the perfect union of environmentalism, business, and sociology. It explores the idea of consumerism, tracing back to the roots of monetary invention and societal progress. This book takes on a controversial issue without the fear of getting down to the dirty parts. Everyone knows that humans are polluting the planet and shopping (and the waste that comes with it) are bad, but it's so hard to make a change. Why is that? Well, the author makes the very astute ar The Day the World Stops Shopping is the perfect union of environmentalism, business, and sociology. It explores the idea of consumerism, tracing back to the roots of monetary invention and societal progress. This book takes on a controversial issue without the fear of getting down to the dirty parts. Everyone knows that humans are polluting the planet and shopping (and the waste that comes with it) are bad, but it's so hard to make a change. Why is that? Well, the author makes the very astute argument that human progress is predicated on producing goods that improves the quality of life. Production is the epitome of value creation, the driver of business and jobs, and essentially human progress. And production is driven solely by consumer demand, which is shopping. The covid-19 pandemic provides a perfect observational study in which the world participated to help with gathering data. I liked the fact that the books talks about it: the positive effects on the environment and the negative effects on human lives when things come to a halt. This book is valuable not simply because it tackles a messy issue, but looks at the enormous drive behind it that is so deeply ingrained in every part of our society. People are for the environment, but their faith falters when the issue borders on their everyday conveniences or their business' bottom line. This book can help you navigate through the noise of what really makes a difference. In the least, it will help you understand why our society is the way it is.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jay Storey

    This is one of the most important books I’ve read in a long time. The author does a ‘thought experiment’ where he imagines the world cutting its consumption of goods by 25%, and interviews a number of experts on the expected consequences. In the process he discusses the impact endlessly rising consumption has on the planet. Its clear, from this book and a few others I’ve read, that climate change, pollution, species extinction, and a host of other approaching catastrophes are really just symptoms This is one of the most important books I’ve read in a long time. The author does a ‘thought experiment’ where he imagines the world cutting its consumption of goods by 25%, and interviews a number of experts on the expected consequences. In the process he discusses the impact endlessly rising consumption has on the planet. Its clear, from this book and a few others I’ve read, that climate change, pollution, species extinction, and a host of other approaching catastrophes are really just symptoms of a single activity – overconsumption. Land is cleared, killing billions of other life forms, to build dams, mines, roads, railways, and other infrastructure to supply energy and raw materials to run factories producing the goods we buy. CO2-belching ships, trains, trucks, and planes supply the materials to the factories and deliver the finished goods to satisfy the insatiable lust of humanity for ever more ‘stuff’. I think that the underlying problem is that people in affluent countries have yet to come to terms with plenty. We are so rich, have so much of virtually everything that we could possibly want, that we really don’t know what to do with it all. And no matter how much you have, you could always have more. We’re beginning to see the consequences of our behaviour, climate change, the disappearance of ocean fish, the failure of farms. And our world is fast becoming a smoking slag heap as all the natural life that once surrounded us is killed off. It is no longer the earthly paradise it once was. We need to wake up, and this book is a good start to get people thinking. We can create a world that we actually enjoy living in. All we have to do is give up a lot of the crap that we didn’t really want in the first place.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Wagner

    This book is so compelling and easy to read it bumped aside all the fiction I was reading this week. MacKinnon travels the world to look at the way consumerism twines its way through every aspect of our culture, but also examines the effects of the 2020 pandemic on shopping and the natural world. It's a deep dive into the stuff of our world, and also the people who make and sell it. But it's also a deep dive into how we can live life using a whole lot less -- and how our world isn't set up to do This book is so compelling and easy to read it bumped aside all the fiction I was reading this week. MacKinnon travels the world to look at the way consumerism twines its way through every aspect of our culture, but also examines the effects of the 2020 pandemic on shopping and the natural world. It's a deep dive into the stuff of our world, and also the people who make and sell it. But it's also a deep dive into how we can live life using a whole lot less -- and how our world isn't set up to do that very well. Unlike a lot of books about the climate and biodiversity disasters, this book will leave you inspired and eager to be a part of a better world.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Luca Tanaka

    4.5 This book has a detoxifying effect. It is thought-provoking and encourages self-reflection to the extent that you will have second thoughts every time you go shopping or turn on the AC. And not necessarily in a stressful way, but from a stance of considering the "enough-ness" of your life, to borrow a phrase J.B. MacKinnon uses. MacKinnon doesn't pretend to have the answers of our time. Though he shoots off from the premise that our overconsumption is killing our planet, he focuses more on t 4.5 This book has a detoxifying effect. It is thought-provoking and encourages self-reflection to the extent that you will have second thoughts every time you go shopping or turn on the AC. And not necessarily in a stressful way, but from a stance of considering the "enough-ness" of your life, to borrow a phrase J.B. MacKinnon uses. MacKinnon doesn't pretend to have the answers of our time. Though he shoots off from the premise that our overconsumption is killing our planet, he focuses more on the question of how we ourselves might change if we decide to consume less and consume differently. This book is full of fascinating case studies of our cultures as they relate to the spectrum from overconsumption to sufficiency behavior. MacKinnon asks questions like, what happens to our individual mentalities and collective cultures when we consume too much, or intentionally consume less? What induces us to shop so much? How might we change as societies when we decide to shop less? How will we begin to think differently? This was not nearly as depressing as you might expect from a book about capitalism and overconsumption. To the contrary, it was refreshing to read about societies in Finland, Japan, South Africa, etc. that already express, or are trending towards sufficiency economies. It is a hopeful and creative exercise to imagine how our capitalist brains could transition away from consumption as a means of self-actualization. Shopping less on an individual level is not the answer to climate change and inequality, but I think it is a useful and important exercise towards living better and yes, more ethically. We want "the end of the world as we know it, not the end of the world." Happy Reading!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angélique (MapleBooks)

    This is now one of the three books that really changed the way I see the world. Before the books, I *knew* consumption was driving climate change, yet I had no understanding about it beyond my personal level (my car pollutes, my kids' plastic toys can't be recycled...). This book not only gave me a better global understanding on how capitalism drives global warming, but also, more positively, a lot of ways to address it *beyond* the personal level so it can have a larger, long lasting effect. Th This is now one of the three books that really changed the way I see the world. Before the books, I *knew* consumption was driving climate change, yet I had no understanding about it beyond my personal level (my car pollutes, my kids' plastic toys can't be recycled...). This book not only gave me a better global understanding on how capitalism drives global warming, but also, more positively, a lot of ways to address it *beyond* the personal level so it can have a larger, long lasting effect. The book also give a insight on ways to live "simple" without feeling like a hermit alone in the wood with no running water. What level of (sustainable) lifestyle can we achieve? How to address the human crave for newness and "cool stuff"? How much a sustainable life will cost? What will we gain? What life might look like with less money and less stuff? I highly recommend the book for anyone seriously concerned with climate change and the human impact on our planet. PS: the other books which change my worldviews were Factfulness by Hans Rosling and The Most Good Your Can Do by Peter Singer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zoë Soriano

    my favorite takeaways: - if we as a society work less, there will be more jobs open to more people. this will result in lower wages, but also less mindless consuming. i am very much a fan of this - buy fewer but better things. - reduce, repair, reuse are the new three R’s. Recycling is least important — we need to produce less waste. - participatory society. i am a huge fan of free community activities and think that EVERY city needs something like Every One Every Day. overall - honestly this was my favorite takeaways: - if we as a society work less, there will be more jobs open to more people. this will result in lower wages, but also less mindless consuming. i am very much a fan of this - buy fewer but better things. - reduce, repair, reuse are the new three R’s. Recycling is least important — we need to produce less waste. - participatory society. i am a huge fan of free community activities and think that EVERY city needs something like Every One Every Day. overall - honestly this was a bit depressing, but it did drive me to want to work towards living more of a deconsumer lifestyle. i’d definitely recommend this if you’re teetering with the idea of living more simply and need a push. also be prepared to cry if you’re an animal lover as the whale chapter made me so incredibly sad.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sharon LaCrosse

    Wow, never thought a book on the economics of consumerism would interest me. MacKinnon did just that. So much I sort of knew about and do much I didn't and lots that broke my heart. I think he made a case for stopping shopping, but also a case for why we just can't. So... "When it comes to reducing consumption, you can be the change you want to see in the world, but it will not change the world." pg 287. Sadly. But we, consumers...all if us, are "destroying the planet we live on." pg 288. Having j Wow, never thought a book on the economics of consumerism would interest me. MacKinnon did just that. So much I sort of knew about and do much I didn't and lots that broke my heart. I think he made a case for stopping shopping, but also a case for why we just can't. So... "When it comes to reducing consumption, you can be the change you want to see in the world, but it will not change the world." pg 287. Sadly. But we, consumers...all if us, are "destroying the planet we live on." pg 288. Having just finished Attenborough's book, what a sadly poingnant summary of our consumption. In summary.... don't just buy, buy with intention when you have to make a purchase.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rhys

    An engaging read and solid presentation on the necessity, but difficulty, of an economy and society that stops shopping. Standing up to the test of time, it seems, the voluntary simplifiers are the guides towards a post-consumer (and, therefore, post-capitalist) society. "The groups were environmentally conscious consumers, who try to live green lifestyles; frugals, who take pleasure in saving money; tightwads, who hate spending money; and voluntary simplifiers, who actively choose to consume les An engaging read and solid presentation on the necessity, but difficulty, of an economy and society that stops shopping. Standing up to the test of time, it seems, the voluntary simplifiers are the guides towards a post-consumer (and, therefore, post-capitalist) society. "The groups were environmentally conscious consumers, who try to live green lifestyles; frugals, who take pleasure in saving money; tightwads, who hate spending money; and voluntary simplifiers, who actively choose to consume less. The simplifiers had far and away the most success at reducing their impact. In fact, they were nearly twice as effective as the second-place group, the tightwads. Frugals didn’t lessen their impact at all, and neither did green consumers—reflecting, at a personal scale, the broader failure of green consumption to make a difference across recent decades. The authors of the study concluded that perhaps people who live with less, rather than those who live green, should be our role models for living more lightly on the earth."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lissa00

    When lockdowns happened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a curious thing happened, cities that were covered in smog noticed clearer air. It is no secret that the level of consumption that occurs in the world today cannot possibly continue. There are only so many resources and there is only so much space for the amount of waste this level of consumption requires. This book examines what it would mean if, as a whole, the world consumed much less than it does. What would happen to the envir When lockdowns happened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a curious thing happened, cities that were covered in smog noticed clearer air. It is no secret that the level of consumption that occurs in the world today cannot possibly continue. There are only so many resources and there is only so much space for the amount of waste this level of consumption requires. This book examines what it would mean if, as a whole, the world consumed much less than it does. What would happen to the environment and how would the economy adapt. It looks at case examples of countries that were forced to consume less due to recessions and at businesses that are making sustainability a cause. This book had some interesting ideas but also showcased just how overwhelming the problem actually is. At times a bit repetitive but overall this is an enlightening book. I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    A really important book, compelling stuff. It’s part thought experiment, part academic study but with the right balance of real life stories, facts and conjecture written in a flowing style. The argument certainly convinced me and I think this is a book that will go on my all time books which have influenced my life list.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    A fairly good book on people's connection to shopping/money/economics and how it is affecting the world. And if we do stop what can come of it. Stories and information from around the world - not country or continent specific. A fairly good book on people's connection to shopping/money/economics and how it is affecting the world. And if we do stop what can come of it. Stories and information from around the world - not country or continent specific.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kaffeeklatsch and Books

    Great book! Lots of food for thoughts, discussions and self-experiments.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Winyen

    This book was very well written, I read this in physical copy so I was too lazy to look up the words (which I'd be able to do easily on an e-reader). Aside from that, I found the book covered a diverse range of topics/areas of how the world might change from a cease in shopping. So, the book was a great thought exercise, and really challenged my way of thinking, really immediately. Like, you know how you read a book on processed food and sugar and immediately find Doritos disgusting? Yeah, now I This book was very well written, I read this in physical copy so I was too lazy to look up the words (which I'd be able to do easily on an e-reader). Aside from that, I found the book covered a diverse range of topics/areas of how the world might change from a cease in shopping. So, the book was a great thought exercise, and really challenged my way of thinking, really immediately. Like, you know how you read a book on processed food and sugar and immediately find Doritos disgusting? Yeah, now I really want AC and yet I also am proud of myself for just turning on my desk fan. I'm questioning whether I need things, whether I need to purchase things, and whether I even should want the lifestyle I should want. The book is quite pragmatic /fair in things as well: people who don't want to be "consumers", they don't have it easy! The one thing that grated me was that the author writes, if we were to stop consuming, we'd have time for things that actually matter, like reading and cooking and relationships. Ok, obviously I'm a fan of reading, but what's with this glorifying of reading as some higher level activity and yet not regarding TV, movies, streaming music/podcasts as the same? Who are you to view these forms of entertainment as lesser forms of art? How dare you relegate them as vapid?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beky

    An eye opener. Made me rethink my spending habits.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    A wonderful, thought-provoking book. Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I can't see myself recommending this book to anyone. It took me a while to finish, and it rambles and is a little depressing. With that being said, I appreciated the examination of this topic, and I found the information about things being built as disposable with short life cycles and people who are simplifiers interesting. Interesting Things: People who are simplifiers have more time. "The stereotype of the free and easy simple life is to some degree an illusion: it's not that they only do peac I can't see myself recommending this book to anyone. It took me a while to finish, and it rambles and is a little depressing. With that being said, I appreciated the examination of this topic, and I found the information about things being built as disposable with short life cycles and people who are simplifiers interesting. Interesting Things: People who are simplifiers have more time. "The stereotype of the free and easy simple life is to some degree an illusion: it's not that they only do peaceful things, but that they have room in their lives to do them...Since intrinsically oriented activities meet psychological needs better than materialism does, simplifiers often increase the amount of time they spend on them by cutting back even their consumption of social media, TV or recorded music" (244). "In 2008, political scientist Robert E. Goodin and his colleagues found that, by working only enough to live just above the poverty line and keeping household chores to a basic standard of social accountability, people in the rich world could enjoy abundant free time. Most choose instead to work toward second homes, renovations, more clothes, furniture in the latest style, the newest gadgets, adventure travel - and dream of the day, forever postponed, when technology finally liberates them from daily toil" (278).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    While the first half of the book is a bit slow and seems repetitive, the second half kept me thinking and wanting to finish. I like that it isn’t preachy, instead presents the reader with an idea and takes the time to go through different ideas and proving arguments for both sides. This book had inspired me to live simpler and commit to spending 25% less on discretionary items. If you have difficulties controlling your shopping habits, definitely give this a read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    JV Austen

    This took a library renewal to finish, but was very well written. One really really annoying thing is this Canadian author put everything in Celsius & meters - even the size of a Seattle home. So annoying to have to read an entire chapter with my phone open for Celsius / Fahrenheit conversions. A simple parenthetical would have helped. Or a footnote. Or a chart in the appendix. Did MacKinnon not expect any American readers? Maybe we are beyond redemption as polluters of the world? I jest - belie This took a library renewal to finish, but was very well written. One really really annoying thing is this Canadian author put everything in Celsius & meters - even the size of a Seattle home. So annoying to have to read an entire chapter with my phone open for Celsius / Fahrenheit conversions. A simple parenthetical would have helped. Or a footnote. Or a chart in the appendix. Did MacKinnon not expect any American readers? Maybe we are beyond redemption as polluters of the world? I jest - believe he has great hope that the masses can change. me... well I live in one of those states where only 50% of the population has their Covid19 vaccination. So I'm definitely more skeptical. Many times I set this book down to actually think about what I'd read. I was super-sad that whales are harmed by us going out in noisy boats to see them. I was interested to know that many others were reading Vicki Robbins (and the neglected Tightwad Gazette) in the early 1990's. I wish it had changed my life in such a way that The Day the World Stops Shopping wouldn't have even caught my eye. I will be muddling over this book for awhile - trying to wean myself from constant AC use, viewing my purchases through a different lens, wondering if I even have it in me to be a better person. Do any of us?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    A really compelling extended thought experiment on what would happen if people living in rich countries decreased their consumption by a moderate amount (the author proposes a modest 5% at the end.) In addition to obvious benefits like improving the natural environment, the author also argues that we would personally benefit from what he calls “voluntary simplicity” - choosing to live with less. It’s interesting how this book intersects with other topics like UBI and FIRE. In my opinion, this boo A really compelling extended thought experiment on what would happen if people living in rich countries decreased their consumption by a moderate amount (the author proposes a modest 5% at the end.) In addition to obvious benefits like improving the natural environment, the author also argues that we would personally benefit from what he calls “voluntary simplicity” - choosing to live with less. It’s interesting how this book intersects with other topics like UBI and FIRE. In my opinion, this book provides a more balanced perspective. For example, the author acknowledges that the voluntary simplicity lifestyle will probably always be a minority group in our current growth-oriented economy, and that collective political action will be more important than individual consumer choice. Anyway, quitting my job and moving to Sado Island to grow organic produce now byeee

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    DNF @ 57% I felt this was lacking a big conversation around how stopping consumption will drastically harm communities around the world. In particular, people in developing nations would suffer hugely if capitalism collapsed. I do believe overconsumption is a major problem and needs to change, but the way the author wrote about the fallout from stopping shopping really bothered me. Millions of people would be out of work and would die and the book kind of just skims over that and says it will bou DNF @ 57% I felt this was lacking a big conversation around how stopping consumption will drastically harm communities around the world. In particular, people in developing nations would suffer hugely if capitalism collapsed. I do believe overconsumption is a major problem and needs to change, but the way the author wrote about the fallout from stopping shopping really bothered me. Millions of people would be out of work and would die and the book kind of just skims over that and says it will bounce back. Sure, maybe it would, but what about all the people hurt before that can happen. This book was too simplistic in my opinion. The world economy is so interconnected and that wasn’t really explored (in the parts I read).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Totally absorbing. A fascinating thought experiment, a grand ‘what if’. Every chapter was challenging, opening up macro views on the micro realities of everyday life. At the very least this book will increase my mindfulness of my own habits and desires. At the most, it gives me hope that there is momentum for change in the world, however small it may be, and I want to be part of making that change, despite my compromised and contradictory existence. E.g. I find myself going ‘yes yes yes’, while Totally absorbing. A fascinating thought experiment, a grand ‘what if’. Every chapter was challenging, opening up macro views on the micro realities of everyday life. At the very least this book will increase my mindfulness of my own habits and desires. At the most, it gives me hope that there is momentum for change in the world, however small it may be, and I want to be part of making that change, despite my compromised and contradictory existence. E.g. I find myself going ‘yes yes yes’, while simultaneously realising my entire old age pension plan depends on some degree of growth. Wah. Yet the conclusions of the book are not placed unrealistically out of reach … I wonder how much will shift in my own lifetime.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate Lawrence

    This look at various aspects of consumerism worldwide--although particularly focusing on the U.S.--includes interviews with experts and provides much food for thought about how to reduce planet-destroying consumption. Shopping is very addictive, even though it doesn't seem really to make people happier. I appreciated the broad scope of the book and its consideration of some topics that I hadn't found in other similar books. We need to be thinking about this, not just individually but in groups. This look at various aspects of consumerism worldwide--although particularly focusing on the U.S.--includes interviews with experts and provides much food for thought about how to reduce planet-destroying consumption. Shopping is very addictive, even though it doesn't seem really to make people happier. I appreciated the broad scope of the book and its consideration of some topics that I hadn't found in other similar books. We need to be thinking about this, not just individually but in groups. Solutions will have to be created on a large scale, and with attractive alternatives presented, like having more leisure time by working fewer hours if we're not producing all these goods.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    The sweet smell of stupidity. So MacKinnon is an entitled White male who knows the World, especially the brown people, owe him. So if people stop shopping, they will keep buying the ads in the magazines in which he publishes, both online and on paper. Hell! If they stop shopping they will even have more money to buy from the online ads. And if the people stop buying ads to pay the brat's employers, surely the Government will have enough money to pay him and his family good unemployment wages so c The sweet smell of stupidity. So MacKinnon is an entitled White male who knows the World, especially the brown people, owe him. So if people stop shopping, they will keep buying the ads in the magazines in which he publishes, both online and on paper. Hell! If they stop shopping they will even have more money to buy from the online ads. And if the people stop buying ads to pay the brat's employers, surely the Government will have enough money to pay him and his family good unemployment wages so can enjoy the saving of the Planet, low cost.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This is surprising interesting. I kept waiting for the lists of to-dos and solutions, which never came. There is lots of data and stories and info that provide context and some hints of how we can/should change. So this is not a preachy book (good!). This is for those seeking intelligent writing, along with a light (very incomplete) analysis of the past and present, and some ideas. I liked this, but don't buy if you're looking for a lot of answers. I really appreciate the ARC for review!! This is surprising interesting. I kept waiting for the lists of to-dos and solutions, which never came. There is lots of data and stories and info that provide context and some hints of how we can/should change. So this is not a preachy book (good!). This is for those seeking intelligent writing, along with a light (very incomplete) analysis of the past and present, and some ideas. I liked this, but don't buy if you're looking for a lot of answers. I really appreciate the ARC for review!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I never would have predicted that I would read a book about economics but, if you know me, you know that I hate shopping and needing and plastic crap that doesn't last, etc, etc. This book was an incredible look into how interwoven everything is and made me really think about the trickle down effect of what I choose to do (and it really isn't much). Super thought provoking, fairly easy to read, this one I really do recommend. I never would have predicted that I would read a book about economics but, if you know me, you know that I hate shopping and needing and plastic crap that doesn't last, etc, etc. This book was an incredible look into how interwoven everything is and made me really think about the trickle down effect of what I choose to do (and it really isn't much). Super thought provoking, fairly easy to read, this one I really do recommend.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Simone

    Very interesting, but it didn’t quite do what I hoped it would. I was hoping for an in depth futurist/eco-social analysis of how we adjust to consuming a lot less without making millions of people redundant. This had lots of interesting stories about people, places that are low consuming, but in all cases fairly small contained instances. More journalistic and anecdotal than academic or analytic so people will find it engaging and easy reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Skye

    The book encourages us to look at consumption (and reduction of it) with new eyes. Some ideas explored: - Deconsumerism - Lack of growth =/= bad - simplifiers (minimalists are types of simplifiers) I have been thinking about cutting down on buying stuff so this book definitely helped me with the process. I also enjoyed the examples from Japan and Africa.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I thought this was a very well researched book linking consumerism, the environment, and the economy over time. I was a little disappointed that there was not more thought put towards future steps. More of a guide to help alter our consumerism as well a helping the world to change habits. This was a very good book and I am thankful to Goodreads for sending me a copy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dave D

    Very well thought out book, although a tad depressing. Really shines a light on the drawbacks to efforts to "green" consumption or to solve our problems with technology; book makes a very convincing argument that saving the planet requires something much different - people need to buy less stuff (fewer but better things, fewer but better experiences). Very well thought out book, although a tad depressing. Really shines a light on the drawbacks to efforts to "green" consumption or to solve our problems with technology; book makes a very convincing argument that saving the planet requires something much different - people need to buy less stuff (fewer but better things, fewer but better experiences).

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