'Beautifully written and brilliantly argued, Possessed is one of the few things you really need to own' Daniel Gilbert
How ownership came to own us - and what we can do about it
Our love affair with possessions seems to be all-consuming, even as we face economic and environmental breaking points. The global pandemic is a wake-up call that forces us to reassess what we value most in our lives, and yet we remain reluctant to change our ways when it comes to accumulating things. Why?
The answer is our need for ownership. A uniquely human preoccupation rooted in our biology, psychological ownership can be seen in everything from nations fighting over resources to the rise of political extremism.
Award-winning psychologist Bruce Hood draws on his own and international research to explain why ownership is an emotional state of mind that governs our behaviour from cradle to grave, even when it is often irrational and destructive. Does our shopping define us? What motivates us to buy more than we need? Why do some cultures favour shared community ownership and others individual? How does our urge to acquire control our behaviour in times of crisis?
Timely and persuasive, Possessed is the first book to explore how ownership has us in thrall to the relentless pursuit of a false happiness, with damaging consequences for society and the planet - and how we can stop buying into it.
Science writing at its best: it's funny, smart, and on an fascinating topic.
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.