Bibliography on Materialism

Alcorn, Randy C. Money, Possessions, and Eternity. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2003.

This was by far the best book on materialism that we read for our articles. I would value this book above all of the others put together! Alcorn gives a radical view of materialism, while at the same time giving careful arguments and reasons for his case. He offers a theology of every aspect of materialism that we could think of. Excellent book!

Brickman, P., D. Coates, & R.J. Janoff-Bulamn (1978), “Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 36, 917-27.

Graff, John De, David Wann, and Thomas H. Naylor. Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic. Second Edition. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2005.

Affluenza is a nice treatment of materialism from a secular perspective. Of course, Graff, Wann, and Naylor merely argue that we should resist materialism because it makes us unhappy, but as believers, we feel that there are additional reasons.

Gray, Peter. “The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents.” American Journal of Play. Vol. 3. No. 4. 2011. Found here.

Kasser, Tim. The High Price of Materialism. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2002.

Kasser, Tim. “Pain and Insecurity, Love and Money.” Psychological Inquiry, 19. 2008.

Kasser, Tim and Richard Ryan. “A Dark Side of the American Dream: Correlates of Financial Success as a Central Life Aspiration.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Volume 65, No.2, 1993. 410-422. Found here.

Lane, Robert Edwards. The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies. New Haven: Yale UP. 2000.

Levine, Madeline. The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids. New York: HarperCollins. 2006.

Madeline Levine Ph.D. has been a practicing psychologist for youth for the last 25 years. In her book, she argues for a causal connection between affluence and depression, anxiety, and unhappiness.

Oishi, Shigehiro and Ulrich Schimmack. “Residential Mobility, Well-Being, and Mortality.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2010, Vol. 98, No. 6. Found here.

Platt, David. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah, 2010.

Platt’s book had many strengths, making it worth reading: (1) We liked his emphasis on missions and the lost. (2) His understanding of financial giving and simple living was strong. (3) His stories of radical Christian living from overseas were really motivating, and his critique of the American church was superb. (4) We consider Platt’s vision for radical living thought-provoking, and he gets you thinking differently.

We felt that Platt’s book had a few weaknesses: (1) He didn’t share the bad stories of holding a high commitment church. We pay a price when we call for radical living. Of course, this price is worth it, but we felt that this should be included. All of his stories were positive stories, and he didn’t share the negative ones. (2) We do not agree with his “Lordship theology,” which was very strong—especially toward the beginning of the book. He was using guilt or threats to motivate Christians. Instead, we should use identity and grace as a motivator. His imperatives were good, but his indicatives were bad. (3) Platt is a poor qualifier, making extreme statements that seem over the top. For the typical American Christian, this is probably good, because they are so slothful and apathetic that his language is rousing. But, for believers actually trying to follow Christ, these statements might seem overstated (e.g. missions, giving, etc.). We liked the radical call, but wanted a practical vision and steps. (4) We don’t agree with his view on exclusivity (see our article “What About Those Who Have Never Heard?”). We do believe it’s possible (though unlikely) that people come to saving faith in the true God through general revelation. He was staunch on people needing to hear the name of Christ.

We hope that our critique of this book does not stop believers from reading it; this was an inspirational, challenging, and motivational read! We hope believers will read it—albeit with this caveats in mind.

Rowell, John. To Give or Not to Give?: Rethinking Dependency, Restoring Generosity, and Redefining Sustainability. Tyrone, GA: Authentic Pub., 2007.

Ryan, Richard M. Edward L. Deci. “On Happiness and Human Potentials: A Review of Research on Hedonic and EudaimonicWell-Being.” Annual Review of Psychology. 2001. 141-166. Found here.

Schor, Juliet. Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth. New York, NY: Penguin, 2010.

Wann, David. Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin. 2007.

Yates, Tuppett M. (University of California), Suniya S. Luthar (Columbia University), Allison J. Tracy (Wellesley College). “Nonsuicidal self-injury among ‘privileged’ youths: Longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches to developmental process.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. American Psychological Association. 2008. Vol. 76, No. 1, 52–62.