If you were compelled to spend your life’s precious time and energy in the pursuit of things you didn’t need, didn’t really want and ultimately didn’t enjoy, you’d feel sorely misused. But that’s what Western life does to us now.
After millennia of struggle, we have reached a point in the developed world where we have all the material goods we could ever need in order to feel fulfilled. But increasingly we are dissatisfied, overweight, fearful, angry and neurotic.
To try to feel better, we strive to get more of the things we already have: more wealth, more choice, more information, more entertainment, more self-esteem, more control. But it no longer works. We are overshooting our rainbow. We need to evolve a new skill – that of feeling fulfilled with the bounty we’ve got.
It’s not easy in a world where we are bombarded by 3,500 marketing messages a day, all aimed to make us jealous and hungry, and surrounded by people in the same behavioural loop.
John Naish embarks on a journey to find how we can feel fulfilled in a world where ‘more, more, more’ is making us miserable. He explains, for example, the latest brain studies about human voraciousness and exposes how the science of marketing is increasingly capitalizing on it.
He explores the absurdity of the world we are creating: in America, the self-storage industry makes more money than the US music business. People are now working hard to pay to hoard all the things they’ve worked hard for but don’t use.
He meets some of the world’s most successful and happy people to discover how they have quietly jettisoned many of the wants they don’t need (for this is not about downshifting – saying ‘Enough’ is the only practical way now to get more).
And crucially he helps the reader, in his uniquely humorous way, to re-evaluate how they use the two precious commodities that they can’t have ‘more’ of – their time and energy, to enable them to find fulfilment on their own terms.
John Naish was a bookie’s boy and factory hand, played in rock bands and lived the long-haired bikie life before he finally got an English and Philosophy degree and fell into health journalism. He has written for the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror, and became The Times motoring editor, despite not having a car licence. He helped to launch some of Britain’s first corporate websites, but walked away from the dotcom boom. His first two books were THE HYPOCHONDRIAC’S HANDBOOK and PUT WHAT WHERE? (2,000 Years of Bizarre Sex Advice). He is a contributing editor of The Times and is writing a new health series commissioned by BBC television.