New Book by Baylor Professor Looks at Consumerism and Happiness

August 1, 2011

A new book by Baylor University's James A. Roberts, Ph.D., "Shiny Objects: Why We Spend Money We Don't Have in Search of Happiness We Can't Buy" (HarperOne; November 2011; $25.99; ISBN 9780062093608), is available for presale at Amazon.Com and Barnes & Noble. The book will be published Nov. 8, 2011.
Roberts, professor of marketing and W.A. Mays Professor of Entrepreneurship at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, is a leading researcher and expert on consumer behavior.
"My book documents the prevailing consumer ethos that more is never enough and that happiness can be purchased at the mall, online, or from a catalog. Money and the accumulation of material possessions are such an integral part of our current consumer culture that few have stopped to think how this mad material dash has impacted their quality of life," said Roberts.
Based upon the latest research on the topic of materialism and written in an easy to understand, upbeat style, with a touch of humor, "Shiny Objects" addresses how our obsession with possessions impacts our sense of self, the quality of our interactions with others, and our willingness to get involved in community affairs and social issues.
"Some 70 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Over 1.5 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and by early 2011, the average American household carried nearly $10,000 in credit card debt," Roberts said. "And yet we throw away 150 million cell phones each year and spend over $41 billion annually on our pets.
"I wrote this book to help readers examine their day-to-day behavior, offering tips and tools to make the necessary changes," he said. "My book reveals the key to reversing the devastating and ever-increasing effects of materialism in modern culture, and I show readers how to actually increase well-being by scaling back."
Roberts poses important questions like:
' Do you have an emergency fund of at least $2,500 for that proverbial rainy day?
' Do you have at least six months' worth of living expenses in the bank in case you lose your job or become ill?
' Are you regularly making investments to a retirement account?
"If the answer is no to any of these, "Shiny Objects" offers the lessons needed to change spending habits, develop smarter saving strategies and cultivate lives of real value," Roberts said.
About Baylor University
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, classified as such with "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.
About the Hankamer School of Business
Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit and follow us on Twitter at
Contact: Frank Raczkiewicz, (254) 710-1964