• by Oliver James
  • Narrated by Oliver James
  • 5 hrs and 54 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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, best-selling 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 more 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.


What the Critics Say

"A wonderfully clear and cogent thesis." (Guardian)
"Should be mandatory reading for everyone." (Will Self)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

We Were Poor, But We Were Happy

Would you try another book from Oliver James and/or Oliver James?

Probably not. I was intrigued by the thesis for this book and was hoping this book would be well-researched and accurately supported. Instead, the thesis (that the quest for ever more riches and keeping up with the Jones) was something I could have come up with along with several friends drinking coffee on a Saturday morning. (We probably could have argued it better than the author). It seems like the author just relied upon the "studies" that supported his arguments. I didn't think the book was very well researched in any case, but possibly that is becaues I listened to it as an audiobook (which didn't have any footnotes or references to any studies).Some of the authors statements, arguments, and conclusions are ridiculous:1. Apparently, everything in Denmark is wonderful and great and no one suffers from Afluenza. Never mind that it is mind-numbingly expensive. If Danes could just afford to buy stuff, they would be just like everyone else.2. Going to school and college to get a job is, apparently, just so wrong. Who knew? Imagine all this time I've just been actually unhappy because I did that.3. George W. Bush's problems are all due to an overbearing mother? Really. (The author doesn't provide the psyc. report on that one). 4. The author's two examples in America: Affluenza afflicted: 20 something, single, former drug-addicted, Wall Street male who inherited a ton of money and who makes a lot of money and lives a sad, unfufilled life. Non-Affluenza afflicted: 30-something African-born undocumented married taxi driver. Did this author even talk to anyone else? Only conclusion that can be drawn from these examples: "We were poor, but we were happy."

Would you listen to another book narrated by Oliver James?

Probalby not. His voice drips with contempt and superiority.

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- Amazon Customer

Narrator is truly grating

Book is interesting if not a little elitist, but the author narrating his own book is understandable, but the worst experience.
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- Charles Olivier de Vezin

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-12-2009
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks