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The Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health--And How We Can Make It Better Paperback – 8 Feb 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ome; Reprint edition (8 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451610297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451610291
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 879,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“The intrepid Ann Leonard has written an eye-opening, humorous, and highly readable account of how our seemingly innocuous lifestyles are part of a larger system of destruction and dysfunction. Leonard gets my vote for hero of the year. A must-read.”

—Juliet B. Schor, author of "Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth" and professor of sociology at Boston College

“Where others have documented countless challenges to the Earth and its inhabitants, Annie Leonard has accomplished the rare feat of defining the systemic nature of the problems we face and offering solutions that get to the heart of the matter. Whether you are redesigning industry and commerce or simply imagining a better world for your grandchildren’s grandchildren, Annie’s work will engage you. Read it and be inspired into action.”

—Ray C. Anderson, founder and chairman, Interface, Inc.

“At once engaging, accessible, and authoritative, "The Story of Stuff" is a brilliant masterwork. Leonard weaves together engaging personal stories and encyclopedic knowledge of her subject to communicate a powerful systemic frame and define a spot-on agenda for practical action. I gained new facts, ideas, and inspiration. It gets my highest and most enthusiastic recommendation for anyone interested in why we humans are on a path to self-destruction and what we can do about it.”

—David C. Korten, author of "Agenda for a New Economy and The Great Turning" and board chair of "YES!" magazine

“When Annie Leonard came to work at the Center for Study of Responsive Law, she brought a special character—a dynamic curiosity; a willingness to scour the countries of the Earth to understand and document solid and chemical wastes’ production, consumption, and disposal; the intellectual and emotional intelligence to mobilize everyone she could reach to respect the ecosphere; and health and safety concerns. Those dynamic energies permeate her galvanizing, exciting, and fascinating book. You will be bouncing up and down as you are drawn through its pages, graphics, and engrossing stories. Annie Leonard not only knows ‘the story of stuff’—she has the right stuff!”

—Ralph Nader

"When Annie Leonard came to work at the Center for Study of Responsive Law, she brought a special character--a dynamic curiosity; a willingness to scour the countries of the Earth to understand and document solid and chemical wastes' production, consumption, and disposal; the intellectual and emotional intelligence to mobilize everyone she could reach to respect the ecosphere; and health and safety concerns. Those dynamic energies permeate her galvanizing, exciting, and fascinating book. You will be bouncing up and down as you are drawn through its pages, graphics, and engrossing stories. Annie Leonard not only knows 'the story of stuff'--she has the right stuff!"

--Ralph Nader

"The intrepid Ann Leonard has written an eye-opening, humorous, and highly readable account of how our seemingly innocuous lifestyles are part of a larger system of destruction and dysfunction. Leonard gets my vote for hero of the year. A must-read."

--Juliet B. Schor, author of "Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth" and professor of sociology at Boston College

"At once engaging, accessible, and authoritative, "The Story of Stuff" is a brilliant masterwork. Leonard weaves together engaging personal stories and encyclopedic knowledge of her subject to communicate a powerful systemic frame and define a spot-on agenda for practical action. I gained new facts, ideas, and inspiration. It gets my highest and most enthusiastic recommendation for anyone interested in why we humans are on a path to self-destruction and what we can do about it."

--David C. Korten, author of "Agenda for a New Economy and The Great Turning" and board chair of "YES!" magazine

"Where others have documented countless challenges to the Earth and its inhabitants, Annie Leonard has accomplished the rare feat of defining the systemic nature of the problems we face and offering solutions that get to the heart of the matter. Whether you are redesigning industry and commerce or simply imagining a better world for your grandchildren's grandchildren, Annie's work will engage you. Read it and be inspired into action."

--Ray C. Anderson, founder and chairman, Interface, Inc.

Book Description

Here, for the first time, is a simple, single explanation for the major problems facing the world today. Environmental superstar Annie Leonard has already reached millions worldwide with her message about the way stuff is ruining our lives.

It's time she reached you, too.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the first time I've written an Amazon review, but I really feel that this book it worth it.

It's written in a style which is very clear to understand, occasionally chatty and you do get a sense of Leonard's personality. So far, it sounds like countless other books on this sort of thing out there - but here's where it raises itself up above them: Leonard really knows her stuff. The book is full of facts, clearly explained and followed through. She has spent her working life on these issues and knows them back-to-front. She seems to understand the problems with the 'green' movement, but elucidates the solutions for us.

I really feel this should be essential reading for everyone from 6th form age (16) upwards. The only con I have with it is the cover (I'm talking about the UK edition): I know Leonard made an animated film of this before she wrote the book, and hence the cartoonish cover, but it did make me feel a bit silly on the tube - it's childish looking which totally belies the content.

Worth your pennies!
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Format: Hardcover
A great book that details the who, what, where, how and why of our daily consumption. Funny yet serious, revealing but not dogmatic, it's a book that asks us to think about what we are doing on this planet.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a well researched, important book. It is very rigorous in its exploration of all aspects of consumer culture and should be compulsory reading! Amazing, eye-opening, life-changing. Please read it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This lady has an encyclopedic knowledge of this the most fundamental issue of our time. Stuff...and our addiction to the like, sadly!

Annie has provided all of us with an introduction and personal account of what the facts are and how we can learn to live a great life but knowing that whatever level of economic training you have you cannot escape the "One Earth" Principle....There are not just enough of the Stuff available, no matter how clever we are with primary resource use to enable everyone to have the lifestyle of those human members in the G20 nations and others associated with them European EA members included.

The crunch is now upon us. All our news reports are related to the manner by which we acquire, "Stuff". Everything we value materially relates solely to "Stuff".

I would dutifully demand in a constructive manner that Annie be put forward to head....the United Nations, The World Bank, The IMF, and GATT; and first Global Presidium Advocate for planet Earth.

If you don't believe me read this book, take a deep breath when finishing reading it and ACT!

Dr. Nigel Miles,
Contributory provider of the SEEBif Initiative,

c/o IPBES
United Nations
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It felt odd to buy a book to find out how we are all buying too much stuff, but it was well-worth it. It is well-written, detailed but not dull, and I learned a great deal from reading it. I hope I will put some of the recommendations into practice. And I will pass the book on for someone else to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Annie Leonard's "The Story Of Stuff" is an entertaining, informative and thought-provoking book. It makes you realise how much crap we have that we don't need and how much the crap we do have is harming our communities, health and the environment. Thought a cotton T-shirt was the healthy, eco-friendly option... think again. Even as I write I am being poisoned by toxins such as Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers used to prevent my laptop from spontaneously combusting (Pages 76,92). It shows how much our lives have changed in the past century with all these new compounds like PVC and polyester and how much damage these changes have done, are doing and will do with continued use. It's difficult to avoid this you might say but Annie Leonard offers tips on how to make your stuff, your home and your community safer for you and yours.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the fantasy world of "The Matrix" energy from human beings is drained from their bodies to power the ruling machines. People are brainwashed to believe they have their own self-determined lifestyle - whilst in reality their "lives" are a fiction and they exist only in a bath of weird gloop. "The Story of Stuff" will make you wonder if you should sit up and wipe the gloop from your eyes!

It may be fantastical to suggest that the "machine" is running things and we are the machine's energy supply, but in reality nobody doubts that without us the capitalist "machine" would grind to a halt. We DO power the machine. We make the machine work and with the money the machine pays us we buy the stuff the machine tells us we need. "Hang on" you say "I'm the consumer, not the consumed. I decide what I buy. I need all that stuff". Yeah right - all of it? Keep taking the pills (do you prefer the red pill or the blue pill?).

Read this book and you'll see what I mean. Apologies to those who haven't seen the film. "The Matrix" analogy is my own (humorous) take on the book - its not what Anne Leonard says. What she says is based on years of research into the materials economy, supply chains and the way people live. It seems very factual, is a totally absorbing read and even if it turned out that 80% of those facts are wrong (and I don't believe they are), it is very clear that we need to change the way we are using and disposing of the planet's resources. This book will leave you in no doubt that what we're doing now is completely unsustainable.

Don't worry, this is not a gloomy read. Anne Leonard writes with good humour and points to lots of positive examples where simple changes are making a real difference.
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