The Overspent American by Juliet Schor


A survey of how American spending patterns have spiraled out of control.

I am having an enjoyable debate about how fast is too fast when it comes to reading in the comments portion of the Zadie Smith post I linked to earlier, so it’s a tad ironic that I’m going to tell you that I TOTALLY skimmed this book.

Reason #1. I forgot I already read it.
Reason #2. There isn’t anything in here that I wouldn’t rather just watch on an episode of “Intervention” devoted to shopaholics.
Reason #3. It feels really out-of-date. So much has changed since it was written in 1998 that it’s almost funny. But even for 1998, it’s written in some alternate universe where there wasn’t a dotcom bubble that made people lose their minds.
Reason #4. Her case studies felt manufactured.
Reason #5. It tries too hard to be prescriptive.

I promise that I will always be up front when I skim a book. I give you my word as a superhero that I will never pretend I can read faster than I can. Which is pretty darn fast.

The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need


5 Responses to “The Overspent American by Juliet Schor”

  1. 1 Wesley Dumont

    superfast, what advice do you have for people who live with readers, but are themselves only modestly interested in the world of “books”?

  2. You should spend more times on chores around the house so your reader will have more time for “books.”

  3. 3 Wesley Dumont

    such sass, from a lowly maid.

  4. 4 willie mink

    Hmm, it seems that you skimmed over the task of writing a review too. The lack of details supporting your review’s points makes it entirely unconvincing. On other hand, I guess I only wasted one minute reading it instead of five or ten.

  5. Willie’s correct that this is not a “proper” review. This site is more of a diary or a record of what I’m reading & my thoughts about what I’ve read. If I tasked myself with writing a proper essay every time I read a book, I’d have much less time for actually reading.

    And that, in my opinion, would be the definition of a waste of time.

    Thanks for giving me a minute, Willie. Hope you find what you’re looking for!

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