For the first time, Leonard brings our many environmental and social issues under one umbrella—our problem with consumption. Brilliantly combining information about the economy, cultures, and the environment, Leonard describes the five stages of the materials economy—extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. She illuminates how our “growth at all costs” economy operates, visiting dumps and factories around the world, she reveals the real story behind our possessions—why it’s cheaper to replace than to fix a broken flat screen TV, how the economic theory of “perceived obsolescence” encourages companies to bring out new versions of computers and cell phones ever more rapidly, to making us feel that we need the updated version. Leonard uncovers and communicates a new idea—that there is a deliberate system based on specific economic theories behind our patterns of consumption and disposal. The Story of Stuff transforms how we think about our lives and our relationship to the planet, and offers hope that change is within reach.