Stuffocation is a movement manifesto for “experiential” living, a call to arms to stop accumulating stuff and start accumulating experiences, and a road map for a new way forward with the potential to transform our lives.
Reject materialism. Embrace experientialism. Live more with less.
Stuffocation is one of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century. We have more stuff than we could ever need, and it isn’t making us happier. It’s bad for the planet. It’s cluttering up our homes. It’s making us stressed—and it might even be killing us.
A rising number of us are already turning our backs on all-you-can-get consumption. We are choosing access over ownership, and taking our business to companies like Zipcar, Spotify, and Netflix. Fed up with materialism, we are ready for a new way forward.
Trend forecaster James Wallman traces our obsession with stuff back to the original Mad Men, who first created desire through advertising. He interviews anthropologists studying the clutter crisis, economists searching for new ways of measuring progress, and psychologists who link stuffocation to declining well-being. And he introduces us to the innovators who are already living more consciously and with more meaning by choosing experience over stuff.
Experientialism does not mean giving up all of our possessions. It is a solution that is less extreme but equally fundamental. It’s about transforming what we value. Stuffocation is a paradigm-shifting look at our habits and an inspiring call for living more with less. It’s the one important book you won’t be able to live without.
Praise for Stuffocation
“The revelations come fast and furious as he asserts that acquiring ‘stuff’ is often just an easy way to ignore the tougher questions of life, dodging ‘why am I here?’ and ‘how should I live?’ for ‘will that go with the top I bought last week?’ Tart and often funny . . . [Stuffocation] will be an eye-opener for those long ago persuaded that more is better. A scintillating read that will provoke conversation (or at least closet cleaning).”—Booklist
“James Wallman deftly hits upon a major insight for our times: that acquiring ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ is not nearly as meaningful as collecting experiences. Some of the happiest days of my life were when I had nothing and lived on a houseboat. Without stuff to tie me down, I felt completely free.”—Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS and author of the New York Times bestseller Start Something That Matters
“A must-read . . . We think that more stuff will make us happier, but as the book nicely shows, we’re just plain wrong. A great mix of stories and science, Stuffocation reveals the downside of more, and what we can do about it.”—Jonah Berger, author of the New York Times bestseller Contagious
“Wallman offers a deeply important message by weaving contemporary social science into very engaging stories. Reading the book is such a pleasure that you hardly recognize you’re being told that you should change how you live your life.”—Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice
“With a sociologist’s eye and a storyteller’s ear, Wallman takes us on a tour of today’s experience economy from the perspective not of businesses, nor even of consumers per se, but of everyday people.”—B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, authors of The Experience Economy