In his new book Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don’t Have in Search of Happiness We Can’t Buy, James A. Roberts, a leading researcher and expert on consumer behavior, exposes the hidden motivations and erroneous assumptions behind bad spending habits, and shares the key to reversing the devastating and ever-increasing effects of materialism in modern culture.
When I was asked to review Shiny Objects, I wasn’t expecting a history lesson, but that’s what I got. The book starts with a look back at how Americans, in general, have moved away from our Puritan work ethic heritage, towards a “must have” consumption attitude.
The history is interesting, and I can see the validity of the theory. But I have to admit that the look back got too long for me and I stopped reading about halfway through. Of course, I feel that my yearning for “shiny objects” is firmly under control. I don’t spend excessively and in fact, we’re debt-free except for the mortgage and have established financial priorities that we are striving to achieve.
Ten years ago, when I first started learning about becoming debt-free and building wealth, I would have found Shiny Objects a lot more interesting than I do now. It’s about getting the “gotta have it” feeling under control, and for someone who has difficulty with that, I think this book could be a valuable resource – in a sense, it validates those feelings by explaining where they come from. There’s no cold message of “you shouldn’t feel that way” and “you’re a bad person because of it.” At the same time, it explains why those feelings need to be moderated, and gives tips on how to do that.
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The giveaway ends at 9 p.m. PST on Friday, December 2, 2011, and is open to U.S. residents. Good luck!
Disclosure: I received a copy of Shiny Objects to facilitate this review, and the prize is being provided by a PR firm. All opinions are my own. Read the full CFO disclosure policy here.