The one-sentence summary
Most middle class people have too much of everything, but it hasn’t made them any happier.
- Our basic survival strategy makes us chase more of everything: status, food, information, possessions. Now, thanks to technology, we’ve suddenly got more of everything than we can ever use.
- We urgently need to develop a sense of ‘enough’, and an ability to enjoy what we have, rather than a fixation with ‘more’.
- On the data and information front, we are suffering from infobesity. Too much information causes stress and confusion and makes us do irrational things.
- 24 hour news media suffers from an “Elvis still dead” syndrome that distorts our view of the world to the point that we have forgotten what true news is.
- A personal data diet creates time for proper thought and interaction.
- Purchasing items gives us a dopamine rush but it wears off almost immediately. Thousands of women in particular routinely return everything on a Monday that they bought on Saturday. Retailers call them shoe-limics.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- The concept of presenteeism is interesting. This is where people spend hours at their desks not achieving anything because they are too tired, stressed, under-stimulated, distracted or depressed to be productive.
- Workaholics Anonymous is a new movement based on AA principles. In an extreme paradox, earning more simply increases discontentment.
- If you don’t know what ‘enough’ is, you are not free.
- Corporate Stockholm Syndrome makes people believe that their overwork habits are driven by irresistible external forces. They then frown on normal timekeepers and make their lives a misery.
- “All the gear but no idea” applies to fair-weather sports enthusiasts but could equally be applied to many who cannot stop stockpiling possessions.
- We have too many options – a torture of choice. 60% of adults only use half of the functions on their devices. Only 1 in 6 reads the manual.
- WILFing is a pointless form of shopping: What Was I Looking For?
- We always think things will be better in the future. Present quality of life is deemed to be 6.9 out of 10 (and guessed at 8.2 in 5 years time). But when the time comes, it’s still 6.9.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- Not much. Towards the end the message becomes somewhat environmental and a little bit preachy, but this is more than offset by the great research and interesting angles in the main part.