In 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 our spending habits. He also reveals the key to reversing the devastating and ever-increasing effects of materialism in modern culture, showing readers how we can actually increase our well-being by scaling back.
In addition, Roberts poses important questions like:
- Do you have an emergency fund of at least $2500 for that proverbial rainy day?
- Do you have at least six months’ worth of living expenses in the bank in case you lose your job or become ill?
- Are you regularly making investments to a retirement account?
A perfect antidote to the fiscal anxiety that’s been sweeping the nation—and out just in time for the holiday shopping season—Shiny Objects sheds some much-needed light on the science of spending, and demonstrates how we can cultivate lives of real value.
Talk about a fascinating read. Roberts has written a book that details the history of how American consumerism originated and has spun so out of control that our economy is on the brink of collapse. He discusses our need to spend money on objects that bring us instant gratification and how these spending habits are not only similar to an addiction, but how we perceive them to be representative of our social and economic status. Along with the history, are stories of people getting trampled during holiday shopping and the ways in which they manage their maxed out credit card debt. However, the most interesting parts of the book are the quizzes included in each chapter. These tests allow for us, the reader, to profile our own spending habits and take a look at the ways in which we are participating in America's consumer culture. Its sort of like a self-help assessment - which, being a fan of self-help books, I was game for taking some quizzes. Plus, its always interesting to learn new things about your self and find some solutions to help you figure out how to curb your over-spending ways (which I admit to being guilty of at times).
Will buying something really make us happy? That is truly the question at the heart of this book and it is really interesting to be able to see just how much emotion is connected with the concept of spending. Roberts not only examines the economic and social aspect of spending, but he also looks at the roles politics and religion play - two areas that I wouldn't have really thought of examining with regards to consumer consumption. And along the way, Roberts does provide some solutions to help you recognize your bad spending habits and the ways in which you can work toward reigning them in. Definitely makes you look twice at your Christmas shopping list - LOL!
Anyhow, Shiny Objects turned out to be quite a good read and I'm glad that I was able to get my hands on a copy of it. This is definitely an interesting book that will help you look at your own spending habits and reflect on how much of a role your material possessions play in your search for personal happiness. Plus, it makes a great topic for discussion. I would definitely recommend it to anyone fascinated by America's obsession with consumerism and anyone wanting to explore their own personal spending ways.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book!