Book Review: What is Mine is Yours

Book Review: What is Mine is Yours

I read this book while sharing a condominium in Malaysia with 3 other ladies from Estonia, Uruguay, and US.. thank you to our foster Uncle Eric Lim.

It’s a great book, that is why I’m sharing it with you.. Collaborative consumption is a new movement in our society.. and with couchsurfing and other collaborative exchanges, this alternative and self sustainable lifestyle has a great potential.

I also found a great video that talks about collaborative and sharing initiatives in Canada:

Here are excerpts in the book that you might find interesting:

Over the past couple of years, we started to notice that stories and business examples like airbnb weren’t unusual. At dinners, instead of bragging about their new Prius, friends boasted how they had given up their cars altogether by becoming Zipsters (members of the car sharing service Zipcar). More and more friends were selling stuff on craigslist and ebay; swapping books, DVDs, and games on sites such as Swaptree and OurSwaps; and giving unwanted items away on Freecycle and ReUseIt.. and we kept hearing about the number of people joining Communitiy Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs or local co-ops.


On Friday, Nov 28, 2008, Jdimytai Damour, a thirty four year old Wal Mart temporary security guard, was trampled to death at 5am by a stampede of frenzied shoppers. The two thousand plus crowd had been gathering at the Valley Stream, New York, store since 9 the night before by a sign that read “Blitz line starts here”.. By dawn they were chanting, “Push the doors in”.. According to witnesses, the doors shattered under the weight of the crowd rushing forward, mowing down Damour, a big guy at 270 pounds, who was doing his best to keep the crowd under control. What was the crowd in such a craze for? The bargains promised inside included the latest fifty-inch plasma HDTV, on sale for a price of $798 (note from me: !!??)


Hyper Consumption
Thorstein Veblen, a Norweigian economist and sociologist, first copied the term “conspicuous consumption” in 1899. He used the term to describe the nouveau riche, a class emerging during the nineteenth century made up of people eager to display their wealth and social power. They spent lavishly on visible goods such as jewelry and clothing to show they were prosperous and to differentiate themselves from the masses. In this sense, the nouveau riche, bought and consumed goods for self advertisement as much as, if not more than, utility.

Freud’s book, A General introduction to Psychoanalysis, reinforced his profound belief that you could manipulate consumers behavior by connecting with them on a deep subconscious level, particularly their drives toward aggressiveness and sexuality.

Bernays understood the power of psychology to design effective public marketing campaigns. “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?” Bernays wrote. Figuring that if he could tap into people’s desire to feel good, powerful, and sexy, he could sell just about anything; he proudly referred to this concept as the “engineering of consent”. We call it the power of persuasion.

From soap to silk to bacon to even Wall street stock, Bernays got consumers to buy not what they needed but what they desired, connecting not just to who the consumer is but who he or she wanted to be.


Cellphones have now achieved the dubious status of having the shortest life cycle of any electronic consumer product. The average person in America and Britain discards his or her cellphone within eighteen months of purchase, even though cell phones will last for ten years

We are addicted to new products. According to Colin Campbell, a professor of sociology at the University of York in the UK, we suffer from “neophilia”


Kalin traveled to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to talk to world leaders about etsy’s vision to “create millions of local living economies that will create a sense of community in the economy gain”. Kalin explain that these millions of local living economies around the world are more sustainable for the planet than a small number of huge conglomerate companies.

The Millennials are not a generation of Mother Theresa. They are not all do-gooders shunning well paid jobs and luxuries for a utopian dream. Statistics show that they are as competitive, commercial, and ambitious as any other generation in history.


It is the accumulation of such tiny, unnecessary acts that weigh so heavily on the planet.

The more you participate in Collaborative Consumption, the more reputation capital you earn, and the more you earn, the more you can participate. For example, the better the review and feedback you receive, the more choices are made available to you, whether its places you can stay, home you can barter with, or who will lend money, tools or a car and so on. Reputation capital becomes a currency to build trust between strangers and helps manage our belief in the commons.

For those who wanted to read it online, here’s my amazon link:

what is mine is yours

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