• This book provides more detailed substantiation for the claims made in his previous book Affluenza. It looks deeper into the origins of the virus and outlines the political, economic and social climate in which it has grown.
  • Selfish capitalism started as Thatcherism and Reaganomics and eventually prevailed in most other English-speaking nations too. Interestingly, most mainland Western European nations remain unaffected.
  • We have become more miserable and distressed since the seventies, thanks to successive governments pushing the cause of personal capitalism.
  • Whilst there has been a massive increase in the wealth of the wealthy, there has been no rise in average wages.
  • We need to recapture a sense of self-worth and personal wellbeing if we are to overcome it.
  • Erich Fromm's theory of American consumerism, said the choice in the 50s was 'to have or to be', and that we have become Marketing Characters 'based on experiencing oneself as a commodity' – nothing much has changed.
  • In 1993 Kasser & Ryan published 'A dark side of the American dream', which showed that those who put financial success ahead of emotional development and making the world a better place suffered more depression and anxiety.


  • Humans have four basic needs:
    • To feel safe and secure
    • To feel competent
    • To feel connected to others
    • To feel autonomously and authentically engaged in work and play
  • Self-doubt correlates with materialism, so selfish capitalism undermines these needs
  • Everyone feels that 'enough' income is 10% more than they have, although the elite are 130 times richer than the poorest – the greatest gap ever.
  • The range of goods regarded as 'essential' in a household has increased dramatically. Even when prices drop, 'better' models become imperative.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy assumes that unpleasant emotions (stress) result from inaccurate thinking, and is now offered as a quick fix on the NHS.
  • Terror Management Theory suggests that politicians can get elected by manipulating collective fear of attack, based on our innate need for security.


  • Not much. It is a rolling narrative so you have to dig for nuggets.