71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important message, conveyed with flair and a sense of humour
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...
Published on 27 Jan. 2008 by Jeremy Williams
34 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I've had enough of this book!
I recently read this book as it was suggested by someone in my bookclub, they said how it was inspiring and they carried on reflecting on it etc. Unfortunately I didn't find it inspiring,didn't think it was particularly well written, and can't fathom why it has such outstanding reviews. My main grievances with the book are as follows:
- It is essentially a book of...
Published on 18 Jun. 2011 by anon
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71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important message, conveyed with flair and a sense of humour,
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.
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enough of always wanting more and better,
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.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't get enough!,
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!
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More!,
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.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading!,
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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!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas well presented,
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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book,
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent commentary on contemporary society,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into why more is so often less.,
In 'Enough' John Naish presents a coherent and well-argued case for change with a dash of reality that helps avoid the book becoming preachy.
The thrust of the book is that we (in the Western World) have benefitted from an economic and social system that has provided us with almost limitless bounties but if left to continue will ravage the world and we'll lose all that we've gained.
The book first sets out a picture of human characteristics developed by our ancestors for a world of scarcity. These have driven us to develop and deploy the means to alleviate scarcity with such effect that we now live in abundance. We have developed and deployed economic ideas, technologies and social attitudes that have enabled us all to have far more than our grandparents could have dreamed of.
Yet the abundance we are surrounded by does little to quell our innate drivers that still see only what we do not have, whilst the economic processes we have devised revel and rely on this discontent, fuelling an insatiable desire for more in the forlorn hope that with a little more we will finally be happy. As we do so, the planet becomes increasingly ravaged by our actions.
I'm reminded as I write of the Monty Python sketch where the gastronome is invited to take just one more wafer thin mint - before exploding.
The book explores a number of areas in which we have enough, and in answer to the perennial question from the kids in the back seat `are we nearly there yet?' offers the answer `Yes, so let's get out and admire the view!'
There's a chapter each on the subjects of Enough information, enough food, enough stuff, enough work, enough options, enough happiness, enough growth. Each outlines why we are driven to seek more, and why the pursuit is now unachievable and fruitless.
The book has a playful irreverence and the author, though a keen advocate of enough, is not so pious as to hide his not infrequent failings. Equally the book is dotted with interesting asides which help broaden the discussion. For example the French gourmet Père Gourier who became an untouchable serial killer by encouraging his victims to gorge themselves to death; the Toyota research that revealed most Prius cars were being bought as a family's third car, so much for saving the planet; the role of Joshua Wedgewood in the development of marketing strategies.
All in all, an entertaining, fun and thought provoking read.
4.0 out of 5 stars a worthwhile and thought-provoking read, but occasionally over-simplifies human behaviour,
This is a thoughtful, provocative and often amusing guide to our culture of "plenty" and abundance" in which our brains are (according to the author) hard-wired to desire more. Nevertheless I did sometimes feel dubious about the author's thesis that we are still operating on our ancient instincts as hunter-gatherers when we always had to respond to excess by seeking even more. Whatever happened to evolution, I ask myself? Doesn't it apply to the brain too?
That said, I must confess that I could easily relate to some of Naish's arguments about areas of "Enough" in our society: enough information, food, stuff, work, options, happiness, growth. I particularly identified with his thesis in the areas of enough information, and enough options.
He includes a very helpful chapter for compulsive over-eaters, on "Enough food." He makes the point that "without pre-set options, we have no natural idea of when to stop eating. We spend our lives living in anticipation of hunger and eating to stave it off" - yet again, a primitive hunter-gatherer instinct.
At the end of each chapter Naish offers a list of strategies to exercise "Enough-ism" in our own lives.
An intriguing, enjoyable and thought-provoking book,which nevertheless over-states the case in some areas, and also, I believe, occasionally falls into the error of over-simplifying human behaviour.
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Enough: Breaking Free from the World of More by John Naish (Paperback - 24 Jan. 2008)
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