Stuffocation Book Summary - Stuffocation Book explained in key points
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Stuffocation summary

James Wallman

Living More with Less

4.2 (116 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

Stuffocation by James Wallman argues that our obsession with material possessions is creating unhappiness and a strain on the planet. He suggests replacing materialism with experiences and living a more minimalistic lifestyle to find true fulfillment.

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    Stuffocation is one of the biggest problems we suffer from today.

    Is your cellar or spare room cluttered with things you never use? Do you have junk-filled drawers that you can’t even open because they’re so jammed? If so, you suffer from stuffocation – and chances are all the things you have no longer make you happy.

    For a long time, happiness was widely considered to be determined by people’s belongings, and how many of them they had. But those days are over; owning more and more stuff no longer holds value for us. The reality is, “more” means having more things to organize and worry about. Materialism has become overwhelming.

    In 1979, four out of five people in the United Kingdom, France and West Germany agreed with the notion that material things make us happy. These days, that same statistic is only about one in two, meaning that about half of the population today has had enough of so much stuff.

    But how did we come to love stuff in the first place? Well, our minds evolved to be conscious of the threat of scarce resources, so gathering things was important. But in today’s abundant world, we don’t need to worry about this at all. We now have to change the way we think.

    There are different reasons for our turning away from materialism. Ask a political scientist or a philosopher, for example, and you’ll get different responses.

    Environmentalists are bucking materialistic values in favor of the environment; political scientists stress that most people care less about basic necessities such as food and shelter than they do about post-materialistic needs such as freedom of speech; and economists emphasize that rising costs and stagnating incomes are making us less materialistic, since we have less money for shopping.

    But no matter who you speak to, there is a growing trend toward a new idea of happiness – that which prioritizes the enjoyment of experiences over possessions.

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    What is Stuffocation about?

    Stuffocation (2013) explains how having too much stuff not only places an unnecessary burden on us, but is even leading to health issues. Our lives have become oversaturated with things, and a new value is emerging: the importance of experience over material possessions.

    Stuffocation Review

    Stuffocation (2015) by James Wallman is an eye-opening exploration of the modern phenomenon of materialism and its consequences on our well-being. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers a fresh perspective on the cluttered consumer culture, providing insights into the age-old question of what truly brings happiness and fulfillment.
    • Presents compelling research and case studies that reveal the negative effects of materialism, inspiring readers to reevaluate their relationship with possessions.
    • Encourages a shift toward a more balanced and meaningful existence, offering practical tips and alternative ways of finding joy that go beyond acquiring stuff.

    Best quote from Stuffocation

    Happiness is more likely to come from the enjoyment of experiences rather than the accumulation of stuff.

    —James Wallman
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    Who should read Stuffocation?

    • Anyone interested in what happens after the age of materialism
    • Anyone feeling overwhelmed by having too much stuff

    About the Author

    Futurist and best-selling author James Wallman has appeared on MSNBC and the BBC, and his opinions have been cited in publications such as Time, The Economist and The New York Times. He also wrote the futurology column in T3 magazine.

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    Stuffocation FAQs 

    What is the main message of Stuffocation?

    Live with less stuff and find more meaning and joy in life.

    How long does it take to read Stuffocation?

    The reading time for Stuffocation varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Stuffocation a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Stuffocation is worth reading for its insights on consumerism and its impact on our lives.

    Who is the author of Stuffocation?

    James Wallman is the author of Stuffocation.

    What to read after Stuffocation?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Stuffocation, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Minimalism by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
    • The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
    • The More of Less by Joshua Becker
    • The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
    • Scaling Down by Judi Culbertson
    • Love People, Use Things by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
    • Time and How to Spend It by James Wallman
    • Dopamine Detox by Thibaut Meurisse
    • Effective Decision-Making by Edoardo Binda Zane
    • Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy