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Cover for The Impulse Society

The Impulse Society

America in the Age of Instant Gratification

Paul Roberts


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (9/2/2014)


Paul Roberts' galvanizing, sweeping social critique of our Impulse Society is now available in paperback. More timely than ever, the book confronts a world where business shamelessly seeks the fastest reward, regardless of the long-term social costs; where political leaders reflexively choose short-term fixes over broad, sustainable social progress; where individuals feel increasingly exploited by a marketplace obsessed with our private cravings but oblivious to our spiritual well-being or the larger needs of our families and communities. How did the pursuit of short-term self-gratification, once scorned as a sign of personal weakness, became the default principle not only for individuals but for all sectors of our society? Drawing on the latest research in economics, psychology, political philosophy, and business management, Roberts shows how a potent combination of rapidly advancing technologies, corrupted ideologies, and bottom-line business ethics has pushed us across a threshold to an unprecedented state: a virtual merging of the market and the self. And yet, even as our dilemma grows, The Impulse Society finds hopeful signs--not least, a revolt among everyday Americans against the bottom-line values of an unchecked market. Inspired by their example, Roberts outlines a way back to a world of real and lasting good.

Praise For The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification

“[A] brilliant and thought-provoking new work . . . Roberts glides easily from one topic to next, each more fascinating than the previous example. His explanations of complex topics are nuanced, yet simple to grasp . . . The Impulse Society is immensely satisfying to read.” —Seattle Times

The Impulse Society is a feisty read and full of energy.” —Financial Times

"Roberts' analysis is smart, provocative, and timely. The Impulse Society compels us to reexamine what it is that we really want." —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

Bloomsbury USA, 9781620407660, 320pp.

Publication Date: September 8, 2015

About the Author

Paul Roberts is the author of The End of Oil and The End of Food. As a journalist, his writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 1999, and for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award in 2005. Roberts appears regularly on TV and radio. He lives in Washington state.