• October 1, 2008
  • Social Science
  • $24.95
  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN-13: 9781929774760
  • Trim: 6in × 9in


Healing the American Obsession with Wealth, Fame, Power, and Perfection

Jim Rubens

Why are one in three American adults pervasively dissatisfied with their lives? Why is major depression seven times more likely among those born after 1970 than their grandparents? Why are one in four of us addicted to at least one substance or behavior? Why is America drowning in record personal and public debt? Why did over 100,000 people humiliate themselves this year auditioning for Fox's American Idol? Why are eighty percent of women unhappy with their bodies? What is it about contemporary America that connects the swelling incidence of depression, behavioral addictions, eating disorders, debt, materialism, sleep deprivation, family breakdown, rudeness, fame fixation, ethical collapse, mistrust, and monstrous acts of personal violence?

Drawing from emerging science in several fields and insights about our transformed social lives, Rubens explains how genes, commercial culture, and global hyper-competition have locked tens of millions of Americans into an unwinnable success benchmarks race and unleashed an epidemic of status defeat. OverSuccess shows how and why the resulting social and psychological pathologies are different for baby boomers, men, and women.

Offering hope for our future, Rubens outlines 20 ways that individuals, businesses, and voluntary organizations can satisfy the American drive for recognition and personal achievement without the toxic burdens of OverSuccess. These cures range from holding the door for strangers and somatic cell gene therapy, to responsible displays of wealth and building village-scale social and business organizations.

Jim Rubens dropped out of Dartmouth College to join one of New England's first communes and then discovered his passion for business startups. After a twenty-year career as a serial entrepreneur, he entered politics in the early 1990s, serving two terms in the New Hampshire state senate. Today Rubens is a venture investor and a member if the Granite State Angels. He consults for the Union of Concerned Scientists on energy policy and spends extensive time in volunteer work.