Divided into three sections: Part I: Symptoms, Part II: Causes, and Part III: Treatment, this book tackles the question of whether or not the conspicuous consumption that is an aspect of the American lifestyle has a positive or a negative influence on the various satisfaction/happiness measures experienced by the average person.
Like most of the books in this topic area available for free on scribd, this was published originally in the early 2000's. I'm not sure if there was simply a rash of activity on these topics during that time period, or if the publication of so many books related generally to consumption, waste, and the intersection of pop culture and personal economics was a result of the brewing conditions that led ultimately to the financial crisis of 2008. But in 2000, if my recollection serves me correctly, the economy was booming, the stock market was soaring, and consumer goods were available in a greater quantity and for less money than ever before.
This book contains little that I didn't already know - and to the extent society has changed most of those changes are likely brought on by necessity. The economy is no longer booming, and although consumer goods do remain relatively cheap and available, the average consumer is less able to afford them. It's worth reading, if only to provide the reader with some support for the sense that money does, indeed, not buy happiness. Or at least, owning a lot of stuff does not result in happiness. I think we all know that, intuitively, in any case.