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19 February 2010

The Culture of Excess by J.R. Slosar - A Book Tour and Review

Title: The Culture of Excess How America Lost Self-Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success
Author: J.R. Slosar
Publisher: Praeger
Publication Date: October 22, 2009
Hardcover: 210 pages
ISBN: 978-0313377686
Genre: Psychology


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.”

My Review:

The Culture of Excess, while not an overly lengthy novel, it is extremely well researched, documented and a very profound tome. Slosar brings the reader face to face with the some very unflattering trends of individuals, corporations, and society as a whole, namely the concept of what he terms "cultural narcissism 2.0". He writes of how we went from a society that was willing to help one another to a society that is more self-absorbed and "me" centered than any other time in history. While Slosar writes about what has gone wrong within society he does not leave the reader abandoned and without hope, rather Slosar offers advise on how we as individuals can indeed turn our society around. Anyone interested in reading about the psychology behind consumerism, society in general, or is curious about key issues, such as the current issue of the state of our health care system, this is a book to pick up and read.

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

Jay Slosar’s CULTURE OF EXCESS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘10 officially began on January 4 and will end on February 28.

I received a complimentary copy of The Culture of Excess by J.R. Slosar from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



Geri said...

Thank you, Jennifer for sharing this book and your review. It is a book I will be looking into reading.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I like what this book is about. You always write such insightful reviews Jennifer!
This is one I think I would enjoy.

Doll Clothes Gal Pal said...

Thank you for this very insightful and detailed review!