Get the key ideas from

Enough

Breaking free from the World of Excess

By John Naish
18-minute read
Enough: Breaking free from the World of Excess by John Naish

Enough offers a scathing critique of the one rule that always seems to hold in Western societies: “more is always better.” With the help of compelling biological and psychological studies, Enough shows us how our obsession with “more” is actually the source of many of our woes, as well as what we can do about it.

  • Anyone interested in the connection between psychology, advertisement and society
  • Anyone who feels overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice he or she has
  • Anyone who feels compelled to buy the newest toys and gadgets

John Naish is a journalist for the London Times who writes about such topics as health, body and soul. He is also the author of Put What Where: 2000 Years of Bizarre Sex Advice.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Enough

Breaking free from the World of Excess

By John Naish
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Contains 11 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Enough: Breaking free from the World of Excess by John Naish
Synopsis

Enough offers a scathing critique of the one rule that always seems to hold in Western societies: “more is always better.” With the help of compelling biological and psychological studies, Enough shows us how our obsession with “more” is actually the source of many of our woes, as well as what we can do about it.

Key idea 1 of 11

Clever marketing tricks exploit our natural desire for more and more stuff.

From a big-screen TV to a fridge packed with food, a fancy sports car to the many household appliances that you’ve only used once: the average citizen in Western societies owns or consumes an astonishing amount of stuff.

The reason has to do with the legacy of our evolutionary history: in order to survive and develop as a species, human beings had to be eager to try out new things.

Throughout most of human history food was scarce, and most humans weren’t getting enough. To compensate for this scarcity, our bodies evolved to eat as much as possible when food was available and store the energy when it wasn’t.

Eventually, we learned that collecting and hoarding vast quantities of resources, like food, clothing or tools, would further help us survive times of scarcity.

Another part of this legacy is a desire for both material and nonmaterial goods. Just like we collect material goods, we also collect as much information as possible: our ancestors had to be constantly aware of their surroundings and note every possible detail in order to survive.

Our brains even reward us for our awareness with chemicals called opioids that make us feel good.

And while this desire to collect information and things was advantageous for most of human history, today’s advertisers now know how to exploit these ancient mechanisms in order to motivate us to consume more than we actually need:

They can, for instance, exploit our fear of scarcity by creating "limited editions,” thus tricking us into thinking that passing on a chance to buy now will mean losing out on a limited opportunity.

Or they can exploit our desire to emulate society’s most successful members. In the past we would look to the strongest or best-fed members of the group as role-models. Nowadays we look to celebrities who we hope to become by buying the products they’re hawking.

Clearly, the mechanisms that once ensured our survival are problematic in today’s world. Our following blinks will discuss this disconnect in more detail.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.