The best books on consumerism 📚

Browse the best books on consumerism as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Irresistible Empire: America's Advance Through Twentieth-Century Europe

Irresistible Empire: America's Advance Through Twentieth-Century Europe

By Victoria de Grazia

Why this book?

This is an outstanding work, full of surprise and insight informed by excellent research. As the author explores the wave of American ideas that broke across the European Continent in the early decades of the 20th Century, we gain a deep insight into the power and creativity of American thinking in those years. The Chain Store revolutionised commerce, becoming "a machine for selling"; mass consumerism was underpinned by new kinds of currency and credit: postal money orders, travelers' cheques, credit cards, and installment plans; advertizing corporations promoted branded goods, spreading Coca Cola, Kellog’s Corn Flakes and Campbell’s Soups around the…

From the list:

The best books about the United States Of America

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Book cover of Friday Black

Friday Black

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Why this book?

The scenarios in Friday Black, at first, felt unbelievable, even though they were an amplification of rampant capitalism and racism that are already very real. I didn't want them to be real. Adjei-Brenyah rendered them so perfectly and developed his narrators' psychology so effectively (especially his retail workers, so reminiscent of a commercial world I used to inhabit) that I became immersed in these new realities. 

The characters are underdogs by virtue of simply being Black people in America. But they are resilient and complex, finding unique ways to resist. 

The writing is beautiful, with tightly turned phrases aptly…

From the list:

The best contemporary North American short story collections that find the beauty in hard-ass, hard-luck cases

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Book cover of How Modernity Forgets

How Modernity Forgets

By Paul Connerton

Why this book?

A concise and lucid sociological treatise that relates forgetting to the transitions and rapid changes of contemporary urban life, which has eroded the ways in which societies traditionally remembered the past.

From the list:

The best books about forgetting

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Book cover of The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry

The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry

By Wendell Berry

Why this book?

Wendell Berry writes in multiple forms—poetry, essays, novels—and also practices sustainable farming in rural Kentucky. The World Ending Fire is a compilation of essays spanning over fifty years of his work and displays his wide-ranging intellect and care for the natural world. He emphasizes individual responsibility and stewardship of the earth, but his tone never becomes pedantic or preachy. Instead, his passion and conviction are contagious, and I always feel a sense of gratitude and clarity when I read his words. 

From the list:

The best books on our relationship with nature

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Book cover of The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

By Cait Flanders

Why this book?

In this beautifully written and painfully honest memoir, the author gives up buying anything but consumables for a year. During that year, she realizes the treadmill of consumerism had kept her stuck and unhappy. Working to live, living to work. She dives deep into the cycles of spending, debt, and regret and realizes how often she had turned to spending, food, and booze to avoid feeling her feelings. 

Not only did Cait’s journey remind me so much of my own in my 20’s. Spending money I didn’t have to make myself feel better about things I couldn’t change about myself,…

From the list:

The best books to inspire you to declutter

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Book cover of "Don't You Know Who I Am?" How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility

"Don't You Know Who I Am?" How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility

By Ramani S. Durvasula

Why this book?

If you feel like the world has become more narcissistic and entitled, then this book is for you. It examines the root of narcissism and how we can and should remove toxic narcissists from our lives. If you have ever witnessed egregious, inappropriate, and downright nasty behavior from others, you will get a deeper understanding of it and how to disengage from it in your own life.

From the list:

The best books on understanding narcissism and how to deal with narcissists

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