The Age of Addiction MOBI Ã The Age PDF/EPUB or

The Age of Addiction Lots of gripping bits but somehow ends up less than the sum of its parts From a leading expert on addiction a provocative singularly authoritative history of how sophisticated global businesses have targeted the human brain's reward centers driving us to addictions ranging from oxycodone to Big Macs to Assassin's Creed to Snapchat with alarming social conseuencesWe live in an age of addiction from compulsive gaming and shopping to binge eating and opioid abuse Sugar can be as habit forming as cocaine researchers tell us and social media apps are hooking our kids But what can we do to resist temptations that insidiously and deliberately rewire our brains Nothing David Courtwright says unless we understand the history and character of the global enterprises that create and cater to our bad habits The Age of Addiction chronicles the triumph of what Courtwright calls limbic capitalism the growing network of competitive businesses targeting the brain pathways responsible for feeling motivation and long term memory We see its success in Purdue Pharma's pain pills in McDonald's engineered burgers and in Tencent video games from China All capitalize on the ancient uest to discover cultivate and refine new and habituating pleasures The business of satisfying desire assumed a sinister aspect with the rise of long distance trade plantation slavery anonymous cities large corporations and sophisticated marketing Multinational industries often with the help of complicit governments and criminal organizations have multiplied and cheapened seductive forms of brain reward from junk food to pornography The internet has brought new addictions in 2018 the World Health Organization added gaming disorder to its International Classification of DiseasesCourtwright holds out hope that limbic capitalism can be contained by organized opposition from across the political spectrum Progressives nationalists and traditionalists have made common cause against the purveyors of addiction before They could do it again This is one of those books that everyone should read It illuminates how we have become a society of abundance and indulgence and how a vast system has exploited the way our brains work to create pleasures our ancestors could never have dreamed of Read it for research at first but inevitably ended up binging it for pleasureA very intriguing book that argues that modern day neoliberal capitalism 'limbic capitalism' has advanced so far that companies have devised sophisticated techniues to get consumers completely hooked on their products whether it be tobacco pornography online gaming social media and so on To varying degrees the majority of their revenue comes from a minority of people who consume these 'vices' in excess the so called Pareto principle But Courtwright is by no means an anti capitalist and doesn't support prohibition Instead he pushes for a middle ground to tackle excessive consumption through real substantive policies mainly prevention instead of business friendly measures like addiction treatment and education He has no issue with people consuming these products in moderationIn line with one of his descriptive arguments that concepts of addiction came to be applied to non substances later in the twentieth century the book starts by focusing on the history of alcohol and drugs and gradually moves onto modern day concerns MMORPGs like Everuest and World of Warcraft has taken over the lives of gamers all over the world with one study indicating that up to around 20% of young people in China are addicted to gaming Your Facebook and Instagram feed provides immediate gratification over 'effortful' hobbies like reading learning to play an instrument sports and so on As a smoker the book has uite obvious implications for me But as I thought about what I do in my free time mainly wasting it by watching endless numbers of youtube videos that mean little to nothing to me in the long term The Age of Addiction has become meaningful than a lot of other books out there written by academic historians The author should be commended for producing a narrative that is truly global containing cases from not just Europe and North America but also Asia Africa and Latin America His effort to expand the historical interest in intoxicating substances spanning from sugar and coffee to heroin and crack cocaine towards behavioural addictions like web surfing and masturbation is something that I myself wholeheartedly agree with in terms of where the field should head towards The biggest surprise was his fair treatment of scientific approaches to addiction especially in his chapter on food and overeating My only gripe with the book and this is probably because of publishing conventions is that it can have robust numbers of footnotes but I'm reading this also as an academic researcherRegardless without a doubt one of the most memorable nonfiction reads Highly recommended even for those generally unacuainted with reading history popular science and economics The first half is a history of addictive behaviors It’s interesting but a lot of details that might bog people down The second half is a sobering look at the cultural economic and technological dynamics that lead to widespread issues of excessive consumption and addiction The idea of “limbic capitalism” gives a name to a massive feature of our society while shedding light on our individual daily experience This book is worth reading Very interesting35 Have a coffee smoke a cigarette listen to some music scarf down a chocolate bar and read this This should be named 'History of Addiction' instead of its current nameToo many useless details A well told contemporary and macro historical storyaccount about pleasure vice and addiction How said points morphed intertwined and were shaped by peoplecivilisations which were in turn shaped by those points Courtwright does a good job at researching across disciplines; history the neuroscience of addiction and pyschology to name a few The book is well referenced and has good grounding in data when discussing topics alcohol and drug consumption rates or addiction rates etc My main criticism if it's valid would be that the book offers little in terms of solutions to the problem of Big Businesses limbic capitalism and the mentally addictive state of society That being said the book raises the problems and definies them well Overall it's an interesting insight into how modern civilisation may have an unhealthy relationship with our creationspleasures how we are shaped by corporations incentivised to manipulate human bioware for profit margins how our apparatus may not be serving our well being Governments legalising problems drugs for example rather than deal with the societal issues of why people abuse them and also cash in through tax or lobbying and how easily we the economic or genetically vulnerable so can through ourselves off whack over indulge creating vice like habbits that degrade our executive control ultimately leading to addiction for someThe book leaves one pondering to what extent the poor state of the world could be attributed to bad habits and addictive behaviours Few readers will make it through this book without some twinge of conscience about their bad habits—if not about their use of alcohol or their pornography viewing then at least for putting two teaspoons of sugar in their coffee In theory Courtwright puts the blame for such bad behaviors suarely on what he calls “limbic capitalism” a combination of business enterprise complicit governments and criminal organizations that encourage excessive consumption if not outright addiction Still the reader will have plenty of opportunity to blame himself if for nothing than falling for the blandishments of shrewd operators who would be perfectly happy to send all of society to hades in a handbasket so long as they make a profitCourtwright writes well freuently using clever turns of phrase You can’t have a go at such a style without missing the mark occasionally I absolve the misses One weakness of the book is that it is nonlinear written neither topically or chronologically So the arguments while based on wide reading in international sources nevertheless have a tendency to turn back on themselves Some readers may also be annoyed that Courtwright proposes no solution for the obvious problem of societal decay except perhaps that “we should be against excess”


About the Author: David T. Courtwright

David Courtwright is known for his books on drug use and drug policy in American and world history Dark Paradise Addicts Who Survived and Forces of Habit and for his books on the special problems of frontier environments Violent Land and Sky as Frontier His most recent book No Right Turn chronicles the tumultuous politics and surprising outcome of the culture war that engulfed America in


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