April 12, 2009

Enough: Breaking Free From the World of More - John Naish

Enough: Breaking Free From the World of More sounded like a book with an interesting premise:

Ever get the feeling that you've had enough?

For millions of years, humankind has used a brilliantly successful survival strategy. If we like something, we chase after more of it: more status, more food, more info, more stuff. Then we chase again. Its how we survived famine, disease and disaster to colonise the world. But now, thanks to technology, we've suddenly got more of everything than we can ever use, enjoy or afford. That doesn't stop us from striving though and its making us sick, tired, overweight, angry and in debt. It burns up our personal ecologies and the planets ecology too. We urgently need to develop a sense of enough. Our culture keeps telling us that we don't yet have all we need to be happy, but in fact we need to nurture a new skill the ability to bask in the bounties all around us.

Sounds interesting doesn't it? I'll be the first to admit that I am definitely a consumer - I love to shop and while I know it isn't always the healthiest option - I still love it! I have been thinking of late that there are probably (possibly?) better ways to spend my time and my hard earned money - maybe, just maybe, I have had enough. In steps this book - which is not just about the perils of too much shopping. The book takes in many areas of our lives where we always seem to be seeking more, more, more - work, stuff, technology and information, food and even happiness. The author covers each topic area in a separate chapter while providing what I am sure he thought were extremely original and helpful ideas for combating the over seeking of each of these areas in our lives (I didn't find the majority of them either helpful or original). The chapter that I probably found most useful was the chapter relating to information overload - this chapter definitely resonated with me. I did also find some of the psychological research quoted and described in the book interesting and informative and it was these sections of the book that gave me the most food for thought. On the whole though I found the book a little preachy (something the author ironically talks about not wanting to come across as towards the end of the book) and unoriginal. I think some good points are raised about our cultures and communities - particularly in relation to the vast differences that are evident in western developed nations and developing nations - but overall the book the did not grab me. Maybe I was expecting too much - was the book not "enough"? Maybe I need to reflect on what "enough" means for me in my own way? Maybe I'm just not in the right mindset at the moment to accept the message being delivered? Questions to ponder...


Anonymous said...

From the description, I was very interested in this book, but glad you gave the reasons you didn't like it as they are usually the things that I look for. I think perhaps I might peruse it when I'm at the bookstore, but I definitely would think twice about buying it. Thanks for the review. I'm always looking for ways to cut back on my consumerism (although I don't seem to make much progress :P )

Karen said...

Hi Amanda - yes, I was glad I borrowed this one from my library. I'm still very interested in reading more about the concepts discussed in this book - I will have to look out for other books that fit the description. As for my consumerism - still working on that!

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