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Publisher's Summary

Christmas is a time of seasonal cheer, family get-togethers, holiday parties, and-gift giving. Lots and lots - and lots - of gift giving. It's hard to imagine any Christmas without this time-honored custom. But let's stop to consider the gifts we receive - the rooster sweater from Grandma or the singing fish from Uncle Mike. How many of us get gifts we like? How many of us give gifts not knowing what recipients want? Did your cousin really look excited about that jumping alarm clock? Lively and informed, Scroogenomics illustrates how our consumer spending generates vast amounts of economic waste - to the shocking tune of 85 billion dollars each winter. Economist Joel Waldfogel provides solid explanations to show us why it's time to stop the madness and think twice before buying gifts for the holidays.
When we buy for ourselves, every dollar we spend produces at least a dollar in satisfaction, because we shop carefully and purchase items that are worth more than they cost. Gift giving is different. We make less-informed choices, max out on credit to buy gifts worth less than the money spent, and leave recipients less than satisfied, creating what Waldfogel calls "deadweight loss." Waldfogel indicates that this waste isn't confined to Americans - most major economies share in this orgy of wealth destruction.
While recognizing the difficulties of altering current trends, Waldfogel offers viable gift-giving alternatives. By reprioritizing our gift-giving habits, Scroogenomics proves that we can still maintain the economy without gouging our wallets - and reclaim the true spirit of the holiday season.
©2009 Princeton University Press (P)2009 Princeton University Press
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Critic Reviews

"[Waldfogel] crackles with insight and intriguing stats. We're sold." ( Fast Company)
"Waldfogel delivers a badly needed poke in the eye at holiday-time consumer madness, positing that not only is compulsory gift giving stressful and expensive, but it's economically unsound.... This lively, spot-on book may be the one gift that still makes sense to buy come Black Friday. ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By candace cotto on 11-29-09

a little dry

Excellent research methodology make the premise of this book very credible, but, by virtue of that fact, it is heavy on statistics and economic theory. It isn't a "casual" listen, but if you can stay focused, it makes a very good argument for an alternative to the madness of unwanted Christmas gifts.

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7 of 9 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By J. Kirsch on 02-11-10


Despite the catchy title and interesting premise, I found my mind drifting after the first 20 minutes of this book. It is clearly trying to capitalize on the success of "Freakonomics" but unfortunately does not engage a reader with no economic background. While "Freakonomics" strives to make economics weird and interesting to the common man, this book feels like it was written for people interested in the finer technical points of economics. There were times when it felt distinctly textbook-y. So 2 stars for effort.

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