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The Fix [Kindle Edition]

Damian Thompson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Addictions to iphones, painkillers, cupcakes, alcohol and sex are taking over our lives.

Our most casual daily habits can quickly become obsessions that move beyond our control. Damian Thompson, who has himself struggled with a range of addictions, argues that human desire is in the process of being reshaped. Shunning the concept of addiction as disease, he shows how manufacturers are producing substances like ipads, muffins and computer games that we learn to like too much and supplement tradition addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. He argues that addictive behaviour is becoming a substitute for family and work bonds that are being swept away by globalisation and urbanisation.

This battle to control addiction will soon overshadow familiar ideological debates about how to run the economy, and as whole societies set about “fixing” themselves, the architecture of human relations will come under strain as never before.

The Fix offers a truly frightening glimpse of the future and is essential reading for fans of Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’, Oliver James’s ‘Affluenza’ and Francis Wheen’s ‘How Mumbo-jumbo Conquered the World’.

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‘Blackly funny, intellectually serious and compellingly readable.’ FIVE STARS – MICHAEL GOVE, Mail on Sunday

‘Fleet-footed, frighteningly up-to-date … an argument with real force and substance’ – Washington Post

‘Thompson’s book is a tour de force, written with wit and élan, but more than that, it is a delicate dissection of what it means to be addicted to something; what it is to feel out of control and beholden to something to anaesthetise you from the realities of your life. It’s agonisingly honest and personal in parts but without ever seeming mawkish or self-pitying, drawing on his personal experiences of addiction to give texture and insight.’ FIVE STARS – MAX PEMBERTON, The Telegraph

‘Thompson’s key thesis is that addiction should be thought of as behaviour, not disease. I am a practicing clinical psychologist – professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool – and this is a philosophy with which I profoundly agree. Thompson has been able to put into words – to explain – not only why we tend to get addicted to harmful things, but also how we've got our collective thinking about these issues so wrong for so long. It's a book I wish I had been skilful enough to write. … The Fix is an excellent read. It’s bold and confident and, pretty much, right.’ PROFESSOR PETER KINDERMAN, Head of the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool

About the Author

Damian Thompson is a recovering alcoholic who continues to wrestle with an addiction to collecting Classical CDs. He’s the editor of the Daily Telegraph blogs, a lead columnist in print in the Saturday Telegraph, used to be the director of the Catholic Herald and has been described by the Church Times as a ‘blood-crazed ferret’.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can he fix my problem 31 May 2013
Several things made this book stand out for me. First he nailed the issue of addiction: availability. The reward centres in our brain will always be triggered but those are kept at bay if we don't have the availability to satisfy them. Modern-world abundance means temptation will always be available. Our "thing" will be on tap, with companies going out of their way to entice you. Second, he attacks the 12 Steps route out. That states you have a disease and that you'll never be cured: hence the "I'm John and I'm an alcoholic" statement at AA meetings. His view is that the 12 Steps route ties you to your addiction. Really, you just need to understand how your brain deals with temptation (via cues) and the near-instant formation of habit, and availability. It has helped me resist those sugary snacks I like - just by knowing what's going on. I've always been pro-business, but I do wonder whether it's morally right for companies to tailor their offerings to make them so addictive: Thompson certainly opened my eyes in this respect. It's also a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ritual de lo habitual 9 Aug. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Damian Thompson's latest book is about the addictive nature of modern life. Not all of these addictions are pharmacological in nature-far from it. As well as covering the traditional subjects of alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs such as vicodin and adderall, Thompson-himself a recovering alcoholic-sees clearly how our society turns us in to addicted consumers by encouraging certain patterns of repetitive behaviour in order to get us to consume and therefore buy more.

Many of these new addictions described by Thompson derive their addictive power from their technological nature. Thompson suggests that this is not accidental; manufacturers want us to keep coming back for more: he covers the cult of the iPhone and the mac, online gaming, cupcake and sugar addiction and most disturbingly of all, the rise of online pornography.

This is a very thought provoking book: even if we do not drink or do drugs, in the modern technological context that Thompson outlines, we could still be classed as addicts. Whether this broad definition of addiction ends up trivialising crack cocaine addiction, for example, I really don't know but Thompson provides enough anecdotal evidence from a variety of sources (World of Warcraft obsessives, online gamers etc.) to suggest that these new modern addictions are powerful enough to ruin many lives.

This book is certainly worth reading. I never knew that that sense of disorientation and confusion that often accompanies a visit to an overwhelming shopping centre is called the Gruen Transfer and the book also made me think about my own behaviour and consuming habits.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing 7 Sept. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
250 pages of widely-margined text, 1.5 spacing between lines and chapter breaks at regular intervals - not a heavy read by any means. Thompson writes with wit about difficult subjects - finding humour with AA meetings as a topic is not easy. However an awful lot of this was nothing new, whilst it's collected here in a coherent and cohesive narrative; most of the articles and studies the text refers to are well-known by the neuroscience community. It was no shock to me to think of food as an addictive substance, nor shopping nor sex - but he seems to be trying to point out that we are all addicted to something as if it is a revolutionary idea and it is something that has only just come to the forefront. Yes, companies are getting better at tuning adverts & apps to appeal the 'addict' within us, but to assume that our 'stop' impulse (in the parlance of the book) is not getting any stronger in the meanwhile is silly.

However, for a singular book that spans multiple subjects, albeit skimming the surface, he manages to encompass nearly all aspects of addiction and what addiction consists of. Well worth a read and will cause you to check your behaviour, but ultimately, it's all been said before.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raises Important Issues... 25 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There's no doubt that people consuming much more of various things than is good for them is a major health issue: huge and rapidly-growing numbers are suffering liver damage from excessive alcohol consumption, the most perfunctory glance around shows the number of severely obese people is rising rapidly to give two obvious examples.
What Telegraph journalist and former alcoholic Damien Thompson argues persuasively is that in addition to the more traditional image of the addict injecting heroin or drinking alcohol first thing in the morning many other people are being drawn into addictive patterns of behaviour by skilful manipulation of brain chemistry, leading to games, gambling, pornography, electronic consumer goods, foodstuffs all developing - indeed being consciously designed to have - addictive qualities.

Alert readers will have noticed Mr Thompson being referred to as a former alcoholic rather than the more common usage "recovering". That is quite deliberate. The book has an ambivalent attitude towards the orthodox perspective on addiction offered by the 12 Step philosophies (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and variants thereon.) While the author has used them and gained benefits from them he is also critical of the "disease model" which they use and which has become the most common method of understanding addiction.

It is rather surprising to find no reference to Herbert Fingarette's
... Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Cod science
Easy to read, if somewhat repetitive. Common sense dressed up as scientific research by throwing in references to a few surveys.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, wide-ranging, a book for our age
Damian Thompson really lays it all on the line. Anyone who has been engaged in living in reality for the past 50 years will have wondered at some point about every issue that he... Read more
Published 14 months ago by minty
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, informative, insightful but not very helpful
This is an easy book to read, with many anecdotes to support its insights. It looks at the increasing place of addiction in modern society, going beyond traditional alcohol and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Matthew Henson
3.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic, journalistic and with a skewed concept of addiction, but...
Thompson seems to have a 'soft' interpretation of addiction that blurs having a problematic dependence with simply really,really liking something. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ciaran O'Connor
2.0 out of 5 stars A newspaper article, not a serious book....
Thompson has tackled a potentially very interesting and important subject; how technology and sales manipulation may be altering human behaviour, and possibly, even the wiring of... Read more
Published on 4 Jun. 2013 by Manofmode
5.0 out of 5 stars Important reading
If you're feeling beseeched from all sides by a life you're not entirely sure you wanted, this book offers a few ideas of how you might have got there. Read more
Published on 28 May 2013 by Clare Misselbrook
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for feeding my kindle addiction
Reading on my kindle has become a bit of an addiction (which I'm not complaining about as it helps to displace other less noble addictions) and this book gave me the kindle buzz... Read more
Published on 11 May 2013 by Alassio
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read....
Good no nonsense information which is easy to digest. Essential reading for anyone who is involved with, or interested in, addiction issues
Published on 3 May 2013 by Mr R A Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into today's evolving world of addictive behaviors
Well it was by chance I picked up this book in Bangkok airport, it was the book I thought may help me to understand why people could no longer focus or pay attention to anything... Read more
Published on 26 Mar. 2013 by Jan
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
A somewhat vapid affair, Thompson states the obvious and the book barely scratches the surface of what could be an enlightening area. It goes nowhere.
Published on 15 Mar. 2013 by Dan Proxy
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