In Cheap We Trust (Lauren Weber) – Review

In cheap we trust : the story of a misunderstood American virtueIn Cheap We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue by Lauren Weber
Age: Adult
Genre: Sociology / money / consumerism
Source: Library
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co, 2009
ISBN: 9780316030281 / 310 pages
Find this book at your local library

In this book, author Lauren Weber provides an interesting and in-depth look at the social history of frugality in America dating back to the founding fathers (namely Benjamin Franklin).

The chapters dealt with the American response, necessity and dependence of consumerism through various eras of our history. There is a huge list of titles at the end, both in resources and in the chapter-by-chapter bibliography, for readers who want to learn more. This isn’t a book of tips on how to be frugal. Its most a book about the philosophy behind frugality. Its a great resource for people already living simply and wanting to feel more empowered in their decisions.

Overall I liked the book and found myself questioning my spending habits during the week or so I spent reading this book. I agreed with her on many points. There were only a couple of (rather glaring) elements that I didn’t like about the book.

The Bad:
The chapter regarding stereotypes of Jewish and Chinese immigrants seemed out-of-place and took away from the chronological flow of the book. It felt forced into the book when I think the concept of immigrants and frugality could have been interwoven throughout the entire text rather than jammed into the middle.

The chapter on freegans on contemporary anti-consumerist mentalities was interesting, although I would have preferred to learn more about people actually dealing with poverty rather than those that take on the poverty mentality just to make a statement or feel at peace with the inner conflict of having too much money in their bank accounts.

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