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on 27 January 2008
There has been plenty written about consumerism and why we spend, but this is the first time I've seen it explored in evolutionary terms. It's an interesting theory, that our somewhat irrational consumer habits are the result of ancient survival mechanisms. In order to create more a sustainable future, we need to learn to recognise enough when we see it, and evolve a stop button.

The book's much broader than that, our hunting and gathering instincts are more of a recurring theme along the way as John Naish tackles a range of issues, including our pursuit of more food, more information, and more work. He draws on a range of trends, observations and research, and also seeks out relevant experts to interview.

Each chapter concludes with practical suggestions for finding the elusive 'enough' point - the point at which further increase makes no difference to our wellbeing, and these are original and practical.

John Naish writes with flair and a sense of humour, and cheerfully admits he hasn't got all the answers. There's plenty you'll have heard before if you've done much reading on simplicity and consumerism, but Naish has an unusual perspective and a very readable style, and Enough has much to recommend it.
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on 31 January 2008
A brilliant book reflecting on the sheer stupidity of our endless striving for better and more when we already have more than enough. We have evolved into a race chasing the impossible dream that ends up with us all stressed out, depleting our resources, unhappy and unfulfilled. The author argues we need to develop a cultural sense of "enoughness" and to be happy with what we HAVE rather than always striving for more and better.

I couldn't put this book down and all the way through was saying, "yes, spot on" again and again and again. Having read the book I doubt any of us will instantly change our ways, but just maybe we will reflect on our culture and modus operandi and think a bit more carefully about what is REALLY important in our lives.

The book is not a dull, environmentalist tome. Rather it is full of humour and light-heartedness. A truly excellent read for western man in the 21st century. I suspect this book will be seen in years to come as the book that woke us up and brought us to our senses in much the way that Rachael Carson's "Silent Spring" did back in the 1960s.
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on 6 June 2011
I just want to add my voice to the many who are saying just what an excellent book this is. Interesting, inspiring, well-written - every page was enjoyable, which is all the more surprising when you consider how easy it is to get something like this wrong.

I've read quite a few books like this now, and I've started quite a few more, and given them up in disgust. I mean, first there are the smug ones - you know, "we knit all our own pasta, installed a wind generator in our back garden and decided to eat only vegetables that no one can spell, and we only earn 200K a year, so if we can do it anyone can". Then there are the would-be SAS members - you know, `how I lived on no money a year by building my own lean-to shelter on waste ground and living solely on earwigs'. (You think I'm joking? Try `The Moneyless Man'). These can be great fun. But between them I fear they actually do a lot of harm by suggesting to the rest of us that there's no middle ground - it's either all the trappings of modern consumerism or it's composting toilets and bring your own meal worms.

So, it's great to read something intelligent, down-to-earth and realistic by someone who is clearly sane. Naish's main concern is with the various ways in which modern life is doing us damage. Examples include our obsessive consumption of media and our relentless pursuit of `positional goods' - that is things that don't primarily provide us with an absolute benefit (like food, shelter and warmth etc., do) but which are mainly attractive because of their scarcity, and the status that this gives us. He even tackles the holy of holies of our modern society - the idea that we should all be happy all of the time.

Naish's recommendations are staunchly individualist. Mostly, they involve examining our own assumptions and trying to make small, everyday changes - going cold turkey on the news, for example (it's easier than you think and does nothing but good) and trying to remove ourselves from some of the worst excesses of competitive consumption. This may be seen by some as a weakness of the book. After all, it's rampant individualism that has got us into this mess in the first place. What we need are collective answers. (See, for example, `The Rebel Sell' for an intelligent presentation of this view). Well, yes, I agree: in the long term, some form of collective response will be necessary. But it's not going to happen for a while yet. At least for the foreseeable future, if we want to make our lives better it's going to be up to us. And, given that economies (not to mention psychologies) change only slowly, it may even be preferable if things move slowly, at least to start with. A combination of big changes by a few people, and small changes by a lot of people could get the ball rolling in the right direction. And once enough people are on board, the politicians will follow (naturally claiming it was their idea all along).

But no one is going to change unless they start to see it as in their best interests. And this is one area where Naish scores over a lot of similar books. By the end of the book, you don't just start to think that people with no TV, no car (or a small car), no interest in designer labels and so on are perhaps more virtuous than you or I. You actually start to envy them. In other words, Naish manages to turn free time and a simpler life into the greatest positional goods of them all. Which is great, because non-consumption is a hard sell; persuading us that it's virtuous just doesn't cut it. Persuading us that it's cool, on the other hand...

The other area in which this book really scores is the humour and the quality of the writing. Without being showy, preachy or dull it rumbles along at a fast pace taking us with it. My only complaint: there are not more books like this.
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on 24 March 2008
This is a great book - I did not want to put it down. It explains in a simple and insightful way what is happening to us and why we are on a self destruct path. I love the references to our evolution. It would be good if they could give every slimmer a copy of chapter 2 on enough food! Highly recommended reading!
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on 2 June 2012
I can't recommend this book highly Enough(!). I've read quite a few books covering this subject and this one best captures the essence of our "more more more" society. While other books focus mainly on one aspect - consumerism - this one brilliantly encapsulates all the manifestations of our excessive lifestyles. All written in an easy going humorous style, with plenty of helpful advice as to how we, as individuals, can make changes to our lifestyles that will improve ourselves and society generally. Superb!
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on 19 October 2015
I guess I'm at the age (58) where I have come to realise that all the material things I have been chasing, and all the full life of running around doing "stuff" did not bring me the anticipated pleasure it was supposed to. Being with my family and friends, helping others, volunteering for charity work, and becoming a tree hugger was what really made me happy. So, for my mid-life crisis, I bought a small Smart car, joined a choir, and read Enough - twice I might add, just in case I missed something the first time. It's beautifully, practically and humorously written by John Naish, and exactly appeals to what one becomes when a little wisdom sets in. I wished I'd read it when I was thirty, but, of course, I probably wouldn't have found it helpful because my need to participate in "the chase" was just too strong. (I was also probably hung over from too much excess the night before.)

I bought 8 more copies for all the old farts I hang around with, and 7 of them said it was brilliant. (The 8th one has had a colourful life, and just divorced his second wife, so I guess his priorities lie elsewhere right now.)

All business leaders, marketing executives and politicians should be locked in a room with this book, and not be released until they "get it."
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VINE VOICEon 14 March 2008
This is a really fun book looking at the old idea of the 'Everything in Moderation' handed down to us from the ancient Greeks and developed by everyone from John Stuart Mill to Oscar Wilde. The author does a really good job of presenting this simple idea, with a lightness of touch (as book reviewers often seem to say) and humour. Plus plenty of real world examples of how it should and shouldn't be done.

Not life changing, but I've never read a book that is (although lots of them say they are on the back cover), but fun and thought provoking. You won't be disappointed.
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on 28 August 2012
I bought this book on a whim- and found it to be a lively, thoughtful and intelligent book. Although some of the tips at the end of each chapter are not necessarily that easy to implement, the author's up-beat and positive tone really made me stop and think about how consumption has shaped our expectations from life. Worth a few quid and a couple of hours; the book probably won't change your life, but it will certainly help you to evaluate what's really important.
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on 15 December 2010
I have found this book to be inspirational and personally challenging. The author bravely examines/dispels a lot of the self-contradictory and damaging patterns of modern consumerism/marketing and life as a whole, as well as asking some vital longer term questions. The guy has done his homework and this book has been written in an intelligent and entertaining way (no big ego). In fact, at times the author recognises his own weaknesses with regards to the current issue being discussed.

In a snapshot the author discusses how we are being blinded or pummeled with - information, food, work, options, and discusses what is enough happiness and growth economically. The author suggests ways for the reader to cope with this multi-formed constant onslaught we now face.

I am reading it for the 3rd time - other than the bible I think this is the only book that has consistently challenged my way of thinking and ultimately my way of life.

I am only a semi-enviomentalist (I live a modern life) and my partner pointed this book out to me. I am so glad she did. If you want a book to challenge your lifestyle and purchasing choices/logic, and a book which may ultimately affect them in a positive way, I can't recommend this title highly enough.
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on 2 June 2012
In John Naish's book Enough he outlines the ways in which we live to excess in our society - through excess food, information, stuff, work, happiness, growth. Indeed this really does seem to have identified a major problem in the way we view and act out our lives. Naish places the blame much of the time equally on those that produce all these needs but also on our evolutionary psychology, which he believes drives us to want ever more. The book is interesting, well written and quite witty a lot of the time. However I wonder if Naish's conclusions are all that there is to it and that, and that the problem really denotes something faulty, a lack at the heart of our society - a deep spiritual malaise.
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