Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard Blog Tour Book Review

Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Available Feb. 22, 2011 in print, audio and digital (Starting at $16.00).  
Get Your Copy Here.


"Americans have way too much Stuff , and way too much of it is toxic. That's the message Annie Leonard has been spreading ever since her college days, and most recently in her short Internet film The Story of Stuff, which has been viewed by over 12 million people. But the film is only the tip of the iceberg. 

This astonishing, inspiring book takes her message to an even higher level. In it she outlines the perils of overconsumption as she traces products back to their sources, through their life spans, and forward into their disposal. The Story of Stuff works on all levels as it brings together information on the environment, the economy, and cultures around the world. With her trademark compassion, curiosity, and playfulness, Leonard gives firsthand accounts of sneaking into dumps and factories around the world; chronicles the lives of Haitian textile workers and Congolese kids working in deadly mines; shows how our health and well-being are compromised by neurotoxins in our pillows and lead in our children's lunch boxes; and most important, tells us that this is not the way things have to be. She presents concrete steps for taking action that point the way toward saving our health, our communities, and the planet. From high school kids to their parents in the suburbs, from government officials to people working in corporations, schools, and churches, The Story of Stuff is a life-changing book. Like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, it will transform the way you think and act."

My Review:
5 stars out of 5

I was first introduced to The Story of Stuff, through the worldwide viral video that was released back in 2007.  This short video, through its fun animations, has been viewed over 10 million times, and lays out how stuff is made, distributed and discarded.  This video has not only been educational to many, but has also been a source of controversy.  As a result of the popularity and the world's love and fascination of stuff, prompted author, Annie Leonard to write this book, The Story of Stuff.  In it, she crams tons of information about our consumer-centric society.  Just take a look at this startling statistic:  "We have a problem with stuff. With just 5 percent of the world's population, we're consuming 30 percent of the world's resources and creating 30 percent of the world's waste."  This alarming fact is what drove Annie Leonard to create the viral video (seen below), as well as write this book.

This book covers what the 20 minute viral video couldn't, and boy is there a lot to cover. Overall, this book is both political and provocative, and shares with readers ways in which we can charge our lives, and the larger systems we are apart of, in order to create a better sustainable way of life.

If you ever wondering where your stuff came from and what happens to it once you throw it out, I would highly suggest you pick up this book today.  It is a great read, and will shed insight on the beginning, middle and end journey of our stuff.  The book flowed and was a very easy read.  I can see why this book has been compared to Carson's Silent Spring, and has been used as an educational tool in schools. 

About the Author:

Annie Leonard is an expert in international sustainability and environmental health issues, with more than 20 years of experience investigating factories and dumps around the world. She's taking time off from her other work to write the book, but until recently she was coordinator of the Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption, communicating worldwide about the impact of consumerism and materialism on global economies and international health. Annie's efforts over the past two decades to raise awareness about international sustainability and environmental health issues has included work with Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA), Health Care without Harm, Essential Information and Greenpeace International. She serves on the boards of GAIA, the International Forum for Globalization and the Environmental Health Fund.

Annie has written about international environmental issues for a range of public interest audiences and will step this up and broaden her reach with op eds and features around publication time. She's appeared on radio and TV in the U.S. and other countries many times over the past 20 years. She had extensive media training and exposure during her tenure at Greenpeace. She's testified in front of Congress, been interviewed on CNN, publicly debated a US State Department representative, and done hundreds of public presentations. In 2008, Annie was named one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment.

Annie did her undergraduate studies at Barnard and graduate work in city and regional planning at Cornell. She has traveled to 40 countries, including Haiti, Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Pakistan and South Africa, in her work investigating and promoting anti-pollution issues internationally. Annie currently resides in California with her daughter.


Learn more about Annie Leonard here.  And, click here to follow The Story of Stuff Project.

Disclosure:  I was given a copy of this book through Simon and Schuster, in order to review and participate in the book tour.  My views and comments above are mine and mine alone.


  1. Loved your review, I found this very enlightening as well.

  2. Definitely sounds like an interesting book. When I first heard about it, it reminded me of the old Gallagher skit about stuff.

  3. I appreciate that you embedded the YouTube version of the video right into your link. I used her website's link, so it doesn't show up as a visual: lesson learned!