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on 30 June 1998
A real wake up call to how many of us live everyday! Lots of interesting statistics, and very matter of fact. Many real-life stories, but not enough advice on step-by-step ways to get out of this destructive pattern of living. Also, I found it really funny that several times the author mentions "Car with Air Conditioner" as a luxury! To many people, this is obviously NOT a luxury...
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on 28 May 1998
This short, readable work considers how and why we hitch our selfhood to the things we buy. One of the best parts is the epilogue, which briefly considers the argument that we need ever-increased consumption to fuel the economy. It is not a book about the US only, but, at least in passing, considers that other countries may not appreciate being pushed into the American way of buying.
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on 22 August 1998
Juliet Schor seems to have excessive consumerism and just plain consumerism mixed up. As a visitor to her home in Newton, MA, I know for a fact she can't be starving. The downshifting concept is the Utopia that Schor makes it out to be. The respondents were no longer able to vacation and seemed more depressed that excited by their new lives. Consumers are the backbone of our economy and have provided much of this year's growth. I am proud to have returned from a two week trip to France and Belgium, a trip downshifters would not be able to take. My sallary is the national average and I am proud of my consumer items, including the laptop I am typing on. The downshifting lifestyle seems to be a depressing one. My philosophy has always been, do something you love and you will go far. And for those who don't, find a job to meet your responsibilities. Don't make your kid an outcast in Kmart clothes or deny yourself the finer things in life. Schor fails to realize the joy of buying what you always wanted or a dream vacation. Before considering downshifting ask yourself what you're willing to give up.
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on 28 June 1999
Schorr is a fine writer with a good idea, but the lightweight and naive solutions she suggests to solve our overspending are clearly New York editor-think. Like a disjointed movie written by a committee that provides an inappropriate happy ending, Schorr's many editors (she bemoans losing the one who acquired her manuscript) wouldn't let her research speak for itself. Her suggestion that Americans share their riding lawnmowers is perhaps the single dumbest thing I've ever read in a serious book; she must have passively-aggressively written the concluding chapters under duress. Unless they're padding. This is a mighty short book as it is.
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on 28 June 1998
I am disappointed that Juliet Schor insulted many of her readers by using the out of date reference to women as housewives throughout her book. I would have appreciated more information about saving and investing and the rewards that come from doing so.
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on 27 May 1998
Although I eagerly grabbed this book to browse in a local bookstore...after 30 minutes....of reading a great deal of it, I felt unsatisfied...its approach was too academic; the bulk of the book was used to establish the fact that Americans 'overspend'....obvious to those of us who just observe daily life...What would have been more compelling is HOW people are addressing this distressing fact of life today...there were some anecdotes, but clearly more alternatives could have been discussed...maybe this is the next book for the author??? (see Steven Gaines' new book on the Hamptons, "Philistines in the Hedgerow"...the story about the realtor Allen Schneider..also exerpted in 'New York Magazine' this week, for the ultimate example in overextending oneself!!!)...Although much 'research' was revealed, as a consumer I felt it was a 'missed opportunity' for the author as well as for the public...someone ought to retackle this...I was amused by the irony of the retail cost ... for a comparatively modest book was a bit overreaching and perhaps another example of 'overspending' itself.
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