of their ideas are a bit left and crunchy granola, but their
parodies of advertising are brilliant, funny, and often
The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don't
Need (Hardcover subtitled: Upscaling, Downshifting,
and the New Consumer) by Juliet B. Schor, 1999. Free at the
library, or also used (it's not like the words wear out) from
Century of Self by Adam Curtis/BBC Four
Documentaries, 2002. Film/video, series of 4 episodes totalling 4
hours. The series documents how advances in psychology influence
sales/marketing and contribute to our consumerist culture. In all
his documentaries, Curtis makes sense out of complex interactions
through history, laying out how they all interacted to lead to
where we are today.
Cluttered Life: Middle Class Abundance from University
of California Television. In this video, ethnoanthropologists enter
the homes of 32 American families to look at what we own, the way
we use space, and how it affects us.
The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline in
Leisure by Juliet B. Schor, 1992. Free from the library, or
dirt cheap used (at least as of this writing) from
of Idleness by Bertrand Russell, 1932. A bit wordy by
today's standards, but still only a few pages. Russell argues that
since there is a glut of labor, we should cut hours to spread the
work around, using the extra time to pursue our passions.
Book of the Subgenius, 1987. This is a
mind-bending book. I don't know if it's brilliant or complete crap,
or possibly completely brilliant crap. But in its nonsense, it
invites you to start thinking differently, and being more than a
bit skeptical about established ideas.