I was so excited to read this book based on the subtitle – Why We Spend Money We Don’t Have in Search of Happiness We Can’t Buy – but this isn’t about why people shop or the psychology of consumerism. It’s mostly just a condemnation of it, and I don’t need that. I get it. We buy too much stuff. There’s probably someone who needs to read a book telling them if you have to have a storage unit for your material goods, you have too many, but it’s not me. I want to know why I get that hit of dopamine when I get a ridiculous sweater from goodwill even if I only wear it once; I’m not someone who has five hundred of them though or spends a significant amount of money on material goods. Like any red-blooded American, I do love Target, but becoming a mother means I’m boring and go there for bras more often than tech toys or clothing.
There are elements of psychology here – it was interesting to read about material goods as status symbol, which I’ll admit I’m susceptible to even as a thrifter – I have definitely picked up something objectively ugly when it had a high-end brand name on it – but this was basically the book-length version of those financial advice tips that tell you to stop buying starbucks daily: if you think I spend five dollars a day on coffee I already have more money than you think I do.
This wasn’t bad, just not for me; it was a little too much business and too little human behavior study.