In this groundbreaking book, trend forecaster James Wallman reveals the world's growing sense of Stuffocation - and how we can move away from it
'Like The Tipping Point meets Freakonomics - but with a huge idea at its heart' Sunday Times
We have more stuff than we could ever need - clothes we don't wear, kit we don't use, and toys we don't play with.
But having everything wethought we wanted isn'tmaking us happier. It's badfor the planet. It's clutteringup our homes. It's makingus feel 'stuffocated' andstressed - and it might evenbe killing us.
In this groundbreaking book, trend forecaster James Wallman finds that a rising number of people are turning their backs on all-you-can-get consumption, from the telecoms exec who's sold almost everything he owns, to the well-off family who have moved into a remote mountain cabin.
Wallman's solution to our clutter crisis is less extreme, but equally fundamental. We have to transform what we value. We have to focus less on possessions and more on experiences. Rather than a new watch or another pair of shoes, we should invest in shared experiences like holidays and time with friends.
With intriguing insights on psychology, economics and culture, Stuffocation is a vital manifesto for change. It has inspired those who have read it to be happier and healthier, and to live more, with less.
James Wallman is a journalist, trend forecaster, speaker, and author. He has written for GQ, the New York Times, the FT, and advised clients such as Absolut, BMW, Burberry, and Nike. James wrote the futurology column in T3 magazine and was editor of The Future Laboratory's forecasting publication. He has an MA in Classics from Oxford University and an MA in Journalism from the University of the Arts London. He has lived in France, Greece, and Palo Alto in California and currently lives in London with his wife and children.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Really thought provoking. Answers questions you didn't know you had asked and gives great insight into making your own changes.
Changed my thinking
“Stuffocation" begins with a look at the current “clutter crisis” as experienced by the western middle-classes. Research shows that this newly-wealthy section of society breeds a new kind of disease (albeit a first-world one): too much stuff.
Exposed by the many popular “hoarding” programmes, Wallman reveals that this problem is actually making us ill – raising our cortisol levels to the point where it becomes detrimental to our health. But stuff is not only injuring our health, it’s hurting the planet too, as rampant consumerism, and the wastage that goes with it (from manufacture to disposal), has a increasingly catastrophic effect on the environment*.
Wallman goes on to introduce various lifestyles that involve having less stuff, together with the reasons why they are (sadly) unlikely to catch on: minimalism (e.g. owning fewer than 100 items), simple living (giving it all up, and going to live in a hut in the woods), simpler living (as above, but supplementing one’s income with outside work), “the medium chill” (feeling that you already ‘have enough’ and don’t need to take that promotion to earn extra money and work longer hours – more about having time to spend with loved ones, etc.).
The final lifestyle Wallman considers is that of the experientialists: those who would rather do than have; those who seek experiences rather than things – an existence that taps into the modern phenomena of social media (which is far more experience-hungry than focussed on possessions), and also supports the economy. It feels like he gets a tinsy bit evangelical at this point, but perhaps with good reason – he addresses each potential obstacle with reasoned argument, and leaves me feeling this is more how I want to live.
Stuffocation is very much presented as a middle-class, first-world problem, so on one level it’s hard to stomach – seeing folk advised to simply “buy less” (when so many others struggle to buy basic items in the first place), but it’s clearly becoming a major issue, and if your heart fails to bleed for the comfortably off, this book will encourage you to feel for the planet at least.