THE CULTURE OF EXCESS By J. R. Slosar
In the wake of buckling markets, banks knocked to their knees, and massive amounts of presumed wealth revealed as the product of self-deception and breathtaking criminality, an age of indulgence has dramatically impacted American life. Economically, we understand how it happened, but why it happened is more of a mystery. What psychological factors fueled the years of excess and, more important, how do we refocus ourselves for a more rational, self-controlled future?
As J. R. Slosar shows in this urgent, sometimes startling volume,the nation’s fast-and-loose approach to money was, in fact, a symptom of a more widespread pattern of excessive behavior. In The Culture of Excess: How America Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success, Slosar portrays an America where the drive to succeed and the fear of missing out manifested itself not only in self-entitled corporate fraud, but in everything from sharp rises in obesity and cosmetic medical procedures to equally troubling increases in eating disorders, panic attacks, and outbreaks of uncontrollable rage.
Illustrating its thesis with numerous vignettes and case studies, The Culture of Excess is the first book to assess the impact of economic and social factors on the nation’s psychological well-being. It shows how capitalism, technology, and media interact and become additive factors in the loss of self-control, and it explains how the compromises made in adapting to intense economic competition lead to a false sense of self and reality. Narcissism, productive narcissism, psychopathy, rigidity and self destruction, perfectionism, the illusion of success, and identity achievement all come into play as Slosar diagnoses the psychological drivers behind this indulgent age, offering his prescription for helping “Generation Me” become “Generation We.”
When I first started reading this book I was amazed at how many of the unacceptable traits of excess I personally display. Not a very pretty revelation, as you can well imagine. But a very powerful reason to keep reading, which I did.
The cultural narcissism that Author Jay Slosar explains in detail, with accompanying stats, is downright scary. Another exposure is how religion gets caught up in today’s Market Place Mania. This is consumer manipulation on a grand scale. Disturbing!
With healthcare being on everyone’s minds these days, I encourage you to pay very close attention to Chapter 5, HEALTH CARE: Waste, Excess, and Brokers.As you read The Culture of Excess by Slosar, grab a dictionary, grab a notepad, and keep a bottle of your favorite headache remedy at hand. Not because reading this work is painful, but because the information Slosar dispenses will, I guarantee, make your head hurt as you contemplate the intolerable state of our society, of which you and I are fully a part.
A complimentary review copy of this book was provided by the author.
“Consumer choices are not fully influenced by free will, but by cultural demands.”
“Our adaptation involves accepting as real an environment that bombards us with hype, exaggerations, and outright falsehoods.”
“I guess we could say we have a great health care system—as long as you do not get sick.”