This book is one of my favorites of the year. Anything that makes me think deeply automatically gets an extra star from me. I am very glad I read this book because I learned so much from it.
This book is very well written, thought provoking, and depressing, with research done to support the points that the author is trying to make throughout the book. Also, it is a pretty easy read and not at all confusing so that anyone can understand the points brought up. A book like Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective (which is also one of my favorites) is a good book to read, but it might be confusing to some people who don't really understand things like what the WTO is or who don't really know much about sociology. Annie Leonard mentions things like the WTO in her book, but she explains things simply so that anyone can understand what these things are and how they work in our world.
Basically and what I liked about this book is that she is trying to show us how the way our global economy works is extremely harmful to our planet and to also ourselves. Most people just assume that the way we live is the correct way, is the best way, and don't take time to consider the effects that this way of living can bring and are bringing. What if things were different? What is the actual value of living in this planet? What is the value of ourselves? Is constantly shopping, consuming, having a lot of material things, etc. really the best way to live? What makes us important? Is this way of living really the most important thing in the world? Is economic success what we should all strive for?
No, it's not. The way our system works is essentially destroying us and unfortunately it has caused a lot of damage to our planet already. Damage that either can't be fixed quickly enough or that simply can't be fixed at all. A lot of the damage done has been directly linked to the way we produce and consume things. We, who live in the U.S. might not see this damage at all or right away, but if you go around the world, you will see how many people are affected by our global economy. You will see how they suffer simply because our self worth, our happiness in life has been placed on the consumption of a lot of stuff. We have been made to feel like outsiders if, for example, we don't wear clothes that are in fashion or have the latest technology. With advertisements and other forms of media, we are made to think that this is the most important thing and the we absolutely need to get new clothes, new gadgets, etc. when we actually don't. This is known as perceived obsolescence. And this was actually planned by corporations because for a lot of them, the most important thing is to keep the economy going, to keep you buying things so that they can keep making money, without regard to how the production of these things is harmful to you and to other people throughout the world.
For example, those who work in factories in some parts of the world are exposed to a lot of harmful chemicals that not only damage their health, but also because these toxins cling on to their clothes and things, they bring these toxins home which also harms their families. Most corporations know this and don't really care. And is that wasn't enough, most of the time, the garbage that we produce is taken to other countries and dumped there. Which contaminates their water, their air, and seriously damages their health.
Another thing I liked about this book, is that Annie Leonard tells us some things we can do to make a change. So even though this book is depressing in a lot of ways, at least we know that not all hope is lost. We can make some change, if we look for it and we fight for it. We don't have to keep living this way. As she says, it doesn't make sense to live this way, when there are more important things in life, like the relationships we establish with people, the experiences we live. So why should we keep up this crazy, consumer lifestyle?
I recommend that everyone and anyone that can, read this book because ultimately it has to do with our planet and our lives. Something that is worth so much more than the amount of stuff we have. This book will open your eyes and inform you. And if you don't have time to read it, you can always watch the short film. Here's the link: http://youtu.be/9GorqroigqM