Why We Hate Cheap Things


by The School of Life
edited by Alain de Botton

We don’t think we hate cheap things – but we frequently behave as if we rather do. Consider the clean cotton t-shirt. We wouldn’t regard this as a particularly stylish fashion choice, and certainly not as a glamorous one. We are unlikely to stare wistfully at a cotton t-shirt in a shop window, or buy one in anticipation of a special event. We don’t luxuriate in the feel of the fabric when we pull the freshly laundered garment over our head – yet Louis XVI would have been deeply impressed by this rare and decadent phenomenon. The t-shirt itself has not changed; only our attitude to it. When we have to pay a lot for something nice, we appreciate it to the full. Yet as its market price falls, passion has a habit of fading away. It’s a pattern that we see recurring in a range of areas – and it’s a cultural misfortune. We need to rethink our patterns of consumption. This entertainingly informative book considers how to do so, and shows how more of the things we could love are already to hand. We might be surprised to find that we are already a good deal richer than we are encouraged to think.

Hardcover | 80 pages | The School of Life | 2019

The School of Life is a London-based organisation built to help us find calm, self-understanding, resilience and connection – especially during troubled times. The School of Life Press was established to condense their learning into a collection of wise and considered texts. The titles are designed to entertain, educate, console and transform.


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