Book Feature - Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer...

by - 11/08/2009

Book Feature - Shoptimism at A Bookworm Mom's Diary
Over the past 12 months, the American consumer has gone through a huge transformation – morphing from devoted and enthusiastic shoppers to cautious and worried customers. But Lee Eisenberg, the author of the national bestseller The Number, believes that this is an opportune time to re-examine both the dark and bright side of our national pastime. In his new book Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What (Free Press; November 3, 2009), Lee explores the evolution of our long-standing relationship with consumption.

He’s spent the past three years researching the Buy world, interviewing shoppers and industry experts, and takes readers on an entertaining and thought-provoking tour of the world of malls, megastores, and online shopping. Lee also has firsthand experience in the shopping world – he was a senior executive at Lands’ End for several years, and is currently a creative consultant working on several women’s brands. And, in order to experience the madness of the holiday shopping season, he even worked at Target as a floor walker in 2007.

In Shoptimism, Lee interviews everyone from the industry’s best known retail consultant Paco Underhill to brand expert Albert Muniz to his own wife whom he joins on her quest in search of the perfect little black dress. The first part of the book is an exploration of the interconnected worlds of marketing, retailing, advertising, and consumer research – “the Sell Side,” as he calls it – all of which conspire to captivate our hearts and capture our minds in the effort to convince us to open up our wallets. Lee visits neuroscientists using state-of-the-art technology to scan the brain – did you know that some of us are wired to be cheapskates, while others of us are predisposed to being spendthrifts? It has to do with how the brain registers “the pain of paying,” which is signaled by specific regions of the brain.

The second half of Shoptimism is a journey directly into our hearts and minds – Lee asks, “Why do we buy?” Social status? Feel-good therapy? Are we attracted by specific brands that reflect our personal identity, or the identity we aspire to? What’s the difference – if any – between what we want and what we think we need? Lee explains why we behave in rational but usually irrational ways when we walk into a store, alone or with family or friends. With Shoptimism, Lee Eisenberg has created the ultimate guide for shoppers.

For free-spending Americans, as well as those of us who have pulled in the reins on our shopping habits, Shoptimism is an engaging read perfectly timed to illuminate the American consumer’s mood and behavior in this most unusual moment in Buy time.

Lee Eisenberg's last book was the New York Times bestseller, The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life, chosen by BusinessWeek as one of the best books of the year. He is the former editor in chief of Esquire, and currently lives in Chicago with his family. Lee is blogging about shopping at
*** This product was received for review consideration. No other compensation was provided. The information provided here at the A Bookworm Mom's Diary blog is for entertainment purposes only and reflect only the personal opinion of this blogger. Readers of this blog reading and/or using any of the information they glean here, do so at their own risk. ***

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  1. This certainly sounds like an interesting book. I'd love to read it!

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