All We Want: Building the Life We Cannot Buy

All We Want: Building the Life We Cannot Buy


, 2022, netgalley, memoir, Nonfiction

Our lives are defined by a story of endless growth and consumption. Now a climate crisis demands that we change. Can we write new stories?

In All We Want, award-winning author Michael Harris dismantles our untenable consumer culture and delivers surprising, heartwarming alternatives. Drawing on the wisdom of philosophers, scientists, and artists, Harris uncovers three realms where humans have always found deeper meaning: the worlds of Craft, the Sublime, and Care.

Past attempts to blunt our impact on the environment have simply redirected our consumption—we bought fuel-efficient cars and canvas tote bags. We cannot, however, buy our way out of this crisis. We need, instead, compelling new stories about life’s purpose.

Part meditation and part manifesto, All We Want is a blazing inquest into the destructive and unfulfilling promise of our consumer society, and a roadmap toward a more humane future.


“No writer is as humane, insightful, and clear-eyed as Michael Harris. His journey into the rabbit hole of consumer desire is one we all need to follow, and he makes it a joy along the way.”
Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief

Title:All We Want: Building the Life We Cannot Buy
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    All We Want: Building the Life We Cannot Buy Reviews

  • Kenneth

    A thoughtful examination of the consumer narrative that governs our lives. Especially loved reading about the history of Edward Bernays (the "father" of PR), and the second half of the book where Harr...

  • Trina

    3.5 Thank you for the ALC. This book is powerful but also rather depressing so I advise reading it when your cup is full. The part about all of the birds that have disappeared was especially ...

  • Chris LaTray

    I liked this book enough to want to make sure I read Harris's other books, at least one of which I realize I already own (Solitude). It's not that I didn't like this one; the information is solid and ...

  • Kayla Groening

    What do we (humans) want? What should we want? Why do we want, at all? Michael Harris explores these questions (and more) in his thought-provoking book "All We Want: Building the Life We Cannot Buy."A...

  • Vikki VanSickle

    Lovely succinct and meditative reflection of what makes life worthwhile: craft, the sublime, and care. ...

  • Michael Harris