The one sentence summary
To avoid stuffocation we have to transform what we value, and focus less on possessions and more on experiences.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- This is all about living more with less. We have all the stuff we could ever need, but it isn’t making us happier. It’s cluttering up our homes, it’s bad for the planet, and it makes us feel stuffocated.
- We have to transform what we value, focus less on possessions and more on experiences such as holidays and time with friends.
- A rising number of people are turning their backs on all-you-can-get consumption. These are experientialists – sometimes called hippies with calculators.
- In the 1920s, the USA was producing far more than people could ever consume, so they had a choice: to reduce production, or increase consumption. They chose the latter and embarked on a massive advertising drive combined with cheaper production methods with built-in obsolescence.
- This was the origin of the Throwaway Culture.
- Many modern products however attempt to declutter through remanufacturing – 50% of the components in a mobile phone, for example, can be reused.
- To work out whether innovations are likely to catch on, they should be subjected to five crucial questions:
1. Is it actually better?
2. Is it compatible with how we live today? (Is it easy to use?)
3. Is it simple and easy to understand?
4. Is it easy to try and easily available?
5. If one person tries it, will others notice? (Is it observable?)
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- The consumption statistics are disturbing.
- The amount spent by the average Briton on clothing doubled between 1990 and 2004.
- The average UK woman now buys 58 clothing items a year.
- There are twice as many things in her wardrobe than in 1980.
- 22 things in that wardrobe have never been worn.
- American women buy 67 items a year – something every 4-5 days.
- GDP may be measuring the wrong thing. Just because it goes up doesn’t mean we are any better off in many senses.
- If you want to follow this advice, know your stuff, concentrate on being fully present now, spend well, and put people and experiences first.
- “Meaning is the new money.”
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- Nothing. This is what I advocate in Tick Achieve and other books.