Story of Stuff

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 120

Words: 3747

Pages: 15

Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 07/16/2014 05:49 PM

Report This Essay

Book Review – The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with Stuff. At times, I view Stuff as useful, practical and necessary to my life. At other times, this same Stuff can simply be a burden. Annie Leonard’s book, “The Story of Stuff” brings depth to the lifecycle of the stuff we consume and gives specific examples to consider in our relationships with this stuff. Leonard provides an overview of consequential outcomes that are built into the current system of stuff production. Leonard lays out problems in every aspect of the lifecycle and provides thought provoking analysis. From the way materials are collected to end of life, issues and questions are raised.

Leonard organized this book to mimic the general cycle the production of Stuff takes, citing specific examples along the way for depth of analysis. Her groupings were extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. While this was a broad overview, it left me wanting the same level analysis on steps such as design, regulations and people. Human behavior would potentially be a separate book in itself, but people’s behavior is where this process really starts. People make choices about extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal. People are making those decisions without complete information leaving this system wide open for improvements, which Leonard makes suggestions about. I will briefly summarize some of the topics Leonard covered; however, her information is vast.


Leonard starts her analysis of the lifecycle of Stuff with extraction. Materials need to be extracted to make the Stuff we consume. Materials are found across the world and are extracted from the earth with the intention of producing something more valuable to the community. Most of the Stuff we consume is produced by using more than one type of material. In addition to that, many times the materials have to be altered from their natural...