American Mania

American Mania

When More Is Not Enough

Book - 2005
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WW Norton
Despite an astonishing appetite for life, more and more Americans are feeling overworked and dissatisfied. In the world's most affluent nation, epidemic rates of stress, anxiety, depression, obesity, and time urgency are now grudgingly accepted as part of everyday existence—they signal the American Dream gone awry.Peter C. Whybrow, director of the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA, grounds the extraordinary achievements and excessive consumption of the American nation in an understanding of the biology of the brain's reward system—offering for the first time a comprehensive and physical explanation for the addictive mania of consumerism. American Mania presents a clear and novel vantage point from which to understand the most pressing social issues of our time, while offering an informed approach to refocusing our pursuit of happiness.
A doctor's bold analysis of the cultural disease that afflicts us all.

Baker & Taylor
An analysis of the American consumer culture cites modern statistics in obesity, depression, and panic disorders, drawing on detailed case studies to explain how today's greed-driven and comparatively affluent society is directly related to key social and medical issues. 30,000 first printing.

Book News
Whybrow (psychiatry and bio-behavioral science, UCLA, and director of the Neuropsychiatric Institute) analyzes the American compulsion to "shop 'til we drop," by considering the roots of American culture as a laissez-faire, competitive, free-market economy. He also connects consumerism to America's immigrant temperament and to the biology of human craving and the reward system of the brain, ultimately offering a physical explanation for the addictive mania of consumerism. He concludes with a reconsideration of prosperity and suggests that happiness is more likely found in compassion and community than in acquisition. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393059946
Characteristics: xii, 338 p. ; 25 cm

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Jul 26, 2017

An interesting book aboout what drives Americans to excess - mainly in terms of working too much and eating too much. I expected a more thorough discussion of consumerism, but it was largely glossed over.

The author relies heavily on American exceptionalism linked to an immigrant heritage, but largely ignores any comparison to other immigrant nations, acting as if the United States is the only one. Would liked to have seen more of a comparison with Australia and Canada given that this is his central argument to the whole book.


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