Thursday, January 14, 2010

THE CULTURE OF EXCESS: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY


GIVEAWAY ENDED
THE CULTURE OF EXCESS

How America Lost Self-Control
and Why We Need to Redefine Success
BY J. R. SLOSAR

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In the wake of buckling markets, banks knocked to their knees, and massive amounts of presumed wealth revealed as the product of self-deception and breathtaking criminality, an age of indulgence has dramatically impacted American life. Economically, we understand how it happened, but why it happened is more of a mystery. What psychological factors fueled the years of excess and, more important, how do we refocus ourselves for a more rational, self-controlled future?

As J.R. Slosar shows in this urgent, sometimes startling volume,the nation’s fast-and-loose approach to money was, in fact, a symptom of a more widespread pattern of excessive behavior. In The Culture of Excess: How America Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success, Slosar portrays an America where the drive to succeed and the fear of missing out manifested itself not only in self-entitled corporate fraud, but in everything from sharp rises in obesity and cosmetic medical procedures to equally troubling increases in eating disorders, panic attacks, and outbreaks of uncontrollable rage.

Illustrating its thesis with numerous vignettes and case studies, The Culture of Excess is the first book to assess the impact of economic and social factors on the nation’s psychological well-being. It shows how capitalism, technology, and media interact and become additive factors in the loss of self-control, and it explains how the compromises made in adapting to intense economic competition lead to a false sense of self and reality. Narcissism, productive narcissism, psychopathy, rigidity and self destruction, perfectionism, the illusion of success, and identity achievement all come into play as Slosar diagnoses the psychological drivers behind this indulgent age, offering his prescription for helping “Generation Me” become “Generation We.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jay Slosar, Ph.D., is the author of a provocative new book The Culture of Excess: How Americans Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success (ABC-CLIO, LLC, November 2009). For the past quarter-century he has run a successful private practice as a licensed psychologist and has provided direct clinical and consulting services in a variety of diverse settings. Currently, Dr. Slosar is also an adjunct assistant professor at Chapman University in Orange County, California. He also provides forensic evaluations from court referrals, specializing in evaluating teenagers.

Dr. Slosar has worked and consulted for many companies and organizations, including: Health and Human Services Group, Young Life Enrichment Program, Family Solutions, Western Youth Services, Villa Millard Facility, and the Dawson Education Foundation. The services provided included: counseling, psychological evaluations, program design, staff training, and conflict resolution.

He also has served as the administrative clinician for a federal contract in the delivery of an employee assistance program for federal law enforcement employees and their families. Over six years, he was responsible for all clinical and administrative needs for an $8 million federal contract which included providing training/education workshops in the areas of stress management, trauma response, supervisory management, domestic violence, and workplace violence. He co-directed the critical incident response services for operational and non-operational traumas. He has completed certification in critical incident response training from the American Red Cross and the National Organization for Victim’s Assistance.

Dr. Slosar has written and published professional materials and articles, including a staff training manual for residential treatment services. He has also presented a paper at the FBI Quantico training facility on perfectionism and its relationship to suicide in law enforcement personnel.

Since 1985 he has taught in both the psychology department and the health services department at Chapman University as an adjunct assistant associate professor.

He was the president of the Orange County Psychological Association in 2004 and is a past board member of the California Coalition of Ethical Mental Health Care, a San Francisco-based group that promotes the ethics and integrity of mental health-care delivery services. Dr. Slosar was on the board of directors for the California Psychological Association in 2006 and 2007. He is also a Board Member of the California Association of Psychology Providers (CAPP).

Dr. Slosar received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, earned his Master’s Degree from Wichita State University, and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Jacksonville University. He resides in Newport Beach, California. For more information, please consult www.cultureofexcess.com.


REVIEW:


When THE CULTURE OF EXCESS was first offered to me to review, my first thought was am I the right person for this book? It only took me a few minutes and pages to realize that I would be fine for this book because I found the book was so much more than what I had expected. Dr. J. R. Slosar for me, most importantly, wrote this book in a way that made it easy to follow and understand. His goal seemed, in some ways, not far off from what I had been trying to do in a classroom as a teacher for the last few years prior to my retirement, and that was to get those young people to understand that their self-indulgence was very harmful to them as well as society as a whole.

With our country in a financial crisis, we see the self-centered life style that has taken over most of our lives to be the cause of most our problems. As Slosar refers to the "Me" generation needing to work toward a "We" generation, he explains how this is at the root of our problems. From the economy being hit so hard to the lifestyles we live, this book addresses how this happened and what needs to be done to change this dangerous path we are on.

Dr. Slosar states, "The changes in development of today's youth are profound as the interaction of economic and social trends have dramatically affected self-control and how we define success." He goes on to talk about how the ideas in this book can stop and change what it is happening and how all of us can learn to make better choices and have more positive results.

I hadn't thought about this excess causing some of the problems discussed in the book. I could see the financial end of it where we as a society have come to want what we want and go about getting it with no regard to cost to ourselves or those around us. This translates to more than just possessions, although they are a huge part. It also has to do with the deadly rise in obesity in our country and when I sat back and thought about it, well, of course that makes sense! I thought about what he was saying about how that also has to do with other social and health issues including drugs, increase in unnecessary cosmetic surgery, and so many other mental health issues. As a teacher, I watched as year after year, students' home and psychological problems got worse and I wondered what was going on to make these children have such problems. The ME society! Think about it! It makes all the sense in the world.

Dr. Slosar understands what is creating this culture of excess and he uses so many excellent examples in real-life situations but also does it with wit and clarity thus making the reader understand and relate to what he is saying. He goes on to include descriptions as well as history that helps the reader to see the reason our society is in the mess we are in. The organization of the book into chapters that deal with first the "Cultural Narcissism" and go on from that explanation into chapters of examples that explain why things are they way they are is very easy to follow. The problems that arise from use of technology in such unhealthy ways are explained in a chapter Slosar titled "Digital Coping: Loss, Reality, and Self-Deception". The fact that he recognized the problems but rather than just write about what they are and how they happened, he also includes how they can be dealt with to give every one who reads the book a glimmer of hope that we can reverse this. His main targets for all these problems come from capitalism being out of control (no kidding!...but we do hate to admit it) to a "consumerism overload" to the forces of technology and media being main causes. The problems of taking risks and being so out of control as we continue to put so much into material things has not led us to contentment and good health. Therefore, he advocates, we must rethink what success really means and how we can get to that place. How we must allow government to be a solution to our problems and allow them to do their job properly especially in that deregulation has certainly not helped. Our health MUST get better and there is so much in this EXCESS that has made us so unhealthy in more than just obesity but also mental disorders. And finally parents MUST take more responsibility in raising their children and set boundaries for their behavior. Children honestly will flourish much better when they have order in their life and set guidelines and rules to go by.

The case studies and examples cited by Dr. Slosar are just more proof of what he has written about when it comes to peer pressure from children all the way up to adults. The pressure to have the "right labels" and "act the right way" lead to more mental problems and financial disasters than ever seen before. It is almost common sense that this has happened when you read this book and stop and look back at what may have happened to you personally and how it effects you and those around you. THE CULTURE OF EXCESS-How America Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success is a thought provoking must-read for those who want a better life and society for themselves and their children and want to be part of a "We" Society at last!

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO TRACEE AND PUMP UP
YOUR BOOK PROMOTION FOR HER HELP
AND FOR ALLOWING ME TO GIVE AWAY
ONE COPY OF THIS IMPORTANT BOOK!

THE RULES:

--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES, PLEASE
--INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT
--ALL ENTRIES/COMMENTS MUST BE
SEPARATE IN ORDER TO COUNT
AS MORE THAN ONE ENTRY



HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE BOOK ESPECIALLY AS IT RELATES TO YOU PERSONALLY

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND LEAVE A LINK I CAN FOLLOW IN THE ENTRY

+1 MORE ENTRY: WATCH FOR MY INTERVIEW WITH J. R. SLOSAR TOMORROW AND READ IT AND GAIN BONUS ENTRIES INTO THIS GIVEAWAY BY ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT IT TOMORROW

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, JANUARY 30


GOOD LUCK!

6 comments:

cdziuba said...

cdziuba@aol.com I have to win this. I have been against excess stuff my entire life, and am not sure where a few of my kids got their desire for so much stuff. I live a simple spartan life filled with travel and adventure, and I don't need a ton of things to make me happy. Possessions can end up possessing you.

cdziuba@aol.com

Benita said...

There are so many reasons that people live in excess. Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have and give it to charities and the needy. It's hard not to get wrapped up in excesses in this society.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lori Taube said...

It sounds like the author hits the nail on the head when writing about the "me generation." It definitely sounds like an interesting read, and perhaps more people should take an interest in learning how to regain self control. I personally try to maintain my priorities, especially as we try to climb out of our "young and careless" debt..

clctaube @ yahoo.com

Lori Taube said...

Tweet:
http://twitter.com/clctaube/status/7809859184

clctaube @ yahoo.com

enyl said...

I am hoping that this book will assist me with the financial seminars that my family has planned for our young people ranging from late teens to early twenties.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

g.g. said...

My life is full of excess and I have been aware of it for a while and trying to get control. I would love to read Dr. Slosar's book as I know it can help me.

anjamie4 AT gmail dot com

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