The one-sentence summary
Most middle class people have too much of everything, but it hasn’t made them any happier.
- This is not a book about communications but it provides deep insights into the psychology of humans and as such is important for consumer understanding.
- Affluenza is defined as a contagious middle class virus causing depression, addiction and ennui. This is an epidemic sweeping the world.
- In order to counteract it and ensure our mental health, we should pursue our needs rather than our wants – the majority of which are unsustainable.
- There is a questionnaire at the front to establish whether you have the virus, and a manifesto at the end suggesting how it can be stopped.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- There are hundreds of examples from all over the world and sources from academic studies to demonstrate that this is not simply a biased rant.
- He outlines many possible vaccines to the virus, which include:
- Have positive volition (not Think Positive) – make choices
- Replace virus motives (with intrinsic ones) – for the right reasons
- Be beautiful (not attractive) – don’t conform to a marketing ideal
- Consume what you need (not what advertisers want you to want)
- Meet your children’s needs (not those of little adults)
- Educate your children (don’t brainwash them)
- Enjoy motherhood (not desperate housewifery/househusbandry)
- Be authentic (not sincere), vivacious (not hyperactive) and playful (not game-playing)
- In addition you need to sort out your childhood and reject much of the status quo in order to be a satisfied, unstressed individual.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- It contains a pretty blistering condemnation of the advertising industry and goes so far as to recommend a total ban on exceptionally attractive models.
- Because the author is a psychologist, he is prone to recommending therapy, which may not suit everybody. Willpower could be just as effective.