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  • Published: 29 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241409961
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 224

Possessed

Why We Want More Than We Need




How ownership came to control us - and what we can do about it

You may not believe it, but there is a link between our current political instability and your childhood attachment to teddy bears. There's also a reason why children in Asia are more likely to share than their Western counterparts and why the poor spend more of their income on luxury goods than the rich. Or why your mother is more likely to leave her money to you than your father. What connects these things?

The answer is our need for ownership. Award-winning psychologist Bruce Hood draws on research from his own lab and others around the world to explain why this uniquely human preoccupation governs our behaviour from the cradle to the grave, even when it is often irrational and destructive. What motivates us to buy more than we need? Is it innate, or cultural? How does our urge to acquire control our behaviour, even the way we vote? And what can we do about it?

Timely, engaging and persuasive, Possessed is the first book to explore how ownership has us enthralled in relentless pursuit of a false happiness, with damaging consequences for society and the planet - and how we can stop buying into it.

  • Published: 29 August 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241409961
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 224

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Praise for Possessed

Bruce Hood convincingly shows that we are possessed with possessions, but his book is one possession you have to have, especially now. Engagingly written, Possessed brings psychological science to bear on understanding how to exorcise this demon.

Robert Plomin, author of 'Blueprint: How DNA makes us who we are'

Science writing at its best: it's funny, smart, and on an fascinating topic.

Paul Bloom, Twitter

Beautifully written and brilliantly argued, Possessed is one of the few things you really need to own.

Dan Gilbert

Ownership is a surprisingly nuanced and wonderfully colorful topic, and no one is better poised to tell its story than psychologist and author Bruce Hood. The book he's written is a page-turner that puts our intuitions under the spotlight at every turn.

David Eagleman, bestselling author of 'The Brain' and 'Incognito'

Bruce Hood's excellent new book upends the concept of possession and ownership . . . Possessed combines philosophy with rigorous experimental research to examine the reasons why we want to own so much more than we need. Hood's writing is crisp and he covers an impressive range for such a slim volume. For practical strategies to declutter, read Marie Kondo. For those interested in the psychology and philosophy of materialism, this rich and engaging book will spark hours of joy.

David Robson, The British Psychological Society blog

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