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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 January 2011
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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on 12 April 2010
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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on 26 April 2010
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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on 9 June 2014
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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on 2 March 2011
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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on 4 May 2012
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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on 14 June 2013
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. Often these differences are MORE "profitable" for business not less. The book reveals some truly shocking facts about toxic chemicals hidden within everyday products. We aren't all chemists, so how could we know that this or that ingredient in shampoo, or make-up could harm us or our children? We would never imagine that manufacturers would be allowed to put harmful things in stuff they sell us. Or that we could unwittingly be harming other people by the stuff we buy.

The good news is that we can change all of this. Our own individual actions on a day-to day basis can influence how the world develops and help to provide a safe, enjoyable and sustainable environment for our kids and future generations. This book does a good job of pointing us in the right direction with lots of practical advice.
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on 8 June 2012
Don't expect any science or engineering in this green manual. The book by Leonard is a diatribe against modern technology, which fails miserably in its flawed and mistaken arguments. She thinks that some materials are toxic and useless, like PVC and aluminium, but yet these materials are helping to make better products which reduce energy consumption. Where would aircraft be without aluminium air frames? And PVC makes lighter and corrosion-resistant doors and windows, as well as water pipes and guttering for houses all across the planet. Both materials are widely recycled, so destroying one arm of Ms Leonard's polemic. To bolster her argument, she makes numerous outrageous claims, such as the statement that "Plastics are ..universally recognised...as a problem..". Not true: they are widely used and praised for the contributions they make to better, lighter and more corrosion-resistant products. She then continues her diatribe against PVC in particular. It is especially toxic apparently, because it contains chlorine. Although chlorine is a highly toxic gas, it is harmless in PVC since it is chemically combined with other elements. Such childish arguments continue throughout this book, and one wonders if the author ever studied science beyond nursery school. At some points, her text verges on hysteria, such as the claims that phthalate plasticizers are poisoning us all, a claim which has yet to be confirmed by any public health authority anywhere, despite years of campaigning by green activists. Such people would have us return to nature, but with no hope whatsoever of progress. It is a black and dooom-laden philosophy which most people reject for its pessimism. If you really want to help solve the problems of the world, then study a materials science or technology text for a better route to wisdom.
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on 30 August 2010
I haven't even finished reading it all, but it is wonderful. The amount of information (all referenced I might add), and personal experiences makes it superb. I really enjoyed the video, and have even included it in my curriculum at the university. This book will be on the syllabus this year as well. Eye-opening and informative...even if you already know a lot about these issues as I do.
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on 22 August 2010
Great book, although not exactly light reading, although it does get most read at bedtime (!). Inspiration to consider your purchases more carefully and to be more thoughtful about the resources which have gone into making the products we buy. This is a very US centric book, which may be offputting to UK/European readers, and for me as a Brit some parts of the analysis were not relevant. I got this book out of the library, which is surely what Annie's preference would be given her stance on sharing assets. I recommend it as a book to make consumers think, although sadly the book is likely to be preaching to the already converted, now, so maybe we should be plugging the links to the short films that Annue has made on You Tube to spread the word further. One final thing, I know understand the anger and mistrust of the World Bank and WTO - thank you Annie for giving it both the background and the actual experience
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