Shopping your way to the good life?

In Bristol at the end of last week for the Festival of Economics (#economicsfest), I picked up a little book in the Arnolfini bookshop for some light reading. It’s John Armstrong’s [amazon_link id=”1447202295″ target=”_blank” ]How to Worry Less About Money[/amazon_link] from The School of Life. It filled a train journey back from Cambridge yesterday evening (after my talk to the Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism).

[amazon_image id=”1447202295″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]How to Worry Less About Money: The School of Life[/amazon_image]

It’s a self-help book and is actually full of perfectly sensible advice – for people who are not poor but not rich either. If you’re genuinely worrying about not having enough for housing, food and heat, there is not much anybody can say to help you worry less. However, for the rest of us, I think this book offers a useful reminder (a) that money carries all kinds of emotional baggage and (b) that what you do with money matters as much as having it. As I have enough money these days, I’m not very interested in personal finance, but some of the observations in the book struck a chord nevertheless. When I have some moments of respite from a whirlwind of activity at the end of this week, I might even try some of the exercises, before plunging into Christmas shopping.

However, I did look at The School of Life website in writing this, and note that it appears to be a shopping site. The Utopia candles looked particularly appealing.

Hmmm. I’m a fan of enterprise and profit-making, but what’s your relationship with money if you want to acquire £35 candles named after literary idylls ([amazon_link id=”0486284956″ target=”_blank” ]Walden[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”0140455116″ target=”_blank” ]The Republic[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”0141442328″ target=”_blank” ]Utopia[/amazon_link]).

[amazon_image id=”0141442328″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Utopia (Penguin Classics)[/amazon_image]