What do soaring debt, endemic narcissism, road rage, political attack ads and killer drones share in common? All are symptoms of a society that moves, reflexively and relentlessly, to exploit the fastest, most efficient means to any end, without regard to cost. This is the `impulse society' in which we live. In every facet of postindustrial society - the way we eat, the way we communicate and entertain, the way we work, the way we court lovers and raise children, educate and govern - technology and affluence has let us reach our goals with a speed and efficiency unimaginable even a generation ago. But the result is not all milk, honey, and gold. Companies now reflexively maximise short-term gain at the expense of long-term success. Politicians resort with ever-greater speed to nasty campaign tactics, and can count on their damaging claims to spread before the facts catch up with them. Consumers engage in serial over-indulgence and pursue instant gratification of every whim with speed and greed. The costs of living this way are substantial: financial volatility, health epidemics, environmental exhaustion and political paralysis, to say nothing of a growing, gnawing dissatisfaction. In this epoch-defining book, Paul Roberts traces the roots of this problem, damningly revealing how it has permeated society, and cogently argues how it may, perhaps, still be reversed.
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Paul Roberts is the author of The End of Oil and The End of Food. As a journalist, he has written for The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Guardian, and his work has appeared in Slate, The New Republic, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere. Roberts also appears regularly on TV and radio. He lives in Washington State, USA.Review:
I guarantee this will jog your thinking, and perhaps put you on a new path * Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature * A brilliant feat of analytic journalism * Cullen Murphy, Vanity Fair * The Impulse Society is a feisty read and full of energy ... It is hard not to empathise with his yearning for simpler times; when communities were "willing to make sacrifices for a larger social good" * Financial Times * A stunning piece of work - perhaps the best single book ever produced about our energy economy and its environmental implications. * The New York Review of Books on The End of Oil * A tour de force . . . an outstandingly clear, lucid and readable book about a highly complex issue that is central to our times * Guardian on the End of Food *
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