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Download In Cheap We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample In Cheap We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue Audiobook, by Lauren Weber Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (249 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren Weber Narrator: Marguerite Gavin Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781596595354
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Cheap suit, cheap date, cheap shot: it’s a dirty word, an epithet laden with negative meanings. It is also the story of Lauren Weber’s life. As a child, she resented her father for keeping the heat at fifty degrees through the frigid New England winters and rarely using his car’s turn signals to keep them from burning out. But as an adult, when she found herself walking thirty blocks to save $2 on subway fare, she realized she had turned into him.

In this lively treatise on the virtues of being cheap, Weber explores provocative questions about Americans’ conflicted relationship with consumption and frugality. Why do we ridicule people who save money? Where’s the boundary between thrift and miserliness? Is thrift a virtue or a vice during a recession? And was it common sense or obsessive-compulsive disorder that made her father ration the family’s toilet paper?

In answering these questions, In Cheap We Trust offers a colorful ride through the history of frugality in the United States. Readers will learn the stories behind Ben Franklin and his famous maxims, Hetty Green (named “the world’s greatest miser” by the Guinness Book of Records) and the stereotyping of Jewish and Chinese immigrants as cheap.

Weber also explores contemporary expressions and dilemmas of thrift. From dumpster-diving to economist John Maynard Keynes’s “Paradox of Thrift” to today’s recession-driven enthusiasm for frugal living, In Cheap We Trust teases out the meanings of cheapness and examines the wisdom and pleasures of not spending every last penny.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An entertaining, wide-ranging—and very timely—exploration of thrift.”

    O, The Oprah magazine

  • “This book has a far better chance of making cheapness socially acceptable than Ben Franklin, Jack Benny and my father combined.”

    Time

  • “Engaging…a combination of personal memoir, social history and political manifesto”

    The New York Times Book Review

  • “A defense of thrift, but a sincere, inquisitive one.”

    slate.com

  • “Lessons steam up from this terrific book about the history of thrift (and spending) in our great country.”

    Washington Post

  • “A fascinating account of our nation's binge-and-purge cycle of spending and sacrifice.”

    Fast Company magazine

  • “What's the fine line between thrift and stinginess, self-control and compulsion, purpose and obsession? Lauren Weber's fresh take on the quirky side of saving and spending couldn't be timelier.”

    Sylvia Nasar, author of a Beautiful Mind

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sabiel | 2/20/2014

    " I read this two years ago, and I still haven't forgotten that the author's father uses his teabags seven times before chucking them. Yeah. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen Flatley | 2/19/2014

    " Save money. Don't buy stuff. Read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trudy | 2/13/2014

    " This was a fascinating read. It chronicles America's relationship with money and the role of the cheap/frugal. It includes the current financial downturn so the information is current. If you haven't heard of the freegan movement, look it up on the web. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christina | 2/5/2014

    " A very interesting and detailed book which history buffs will love. I'm not so interested in every detail, so I ended up skimming some of the events spanning from Ben Franklin's original thrifty writings, both World Wars, the Depression and Post-war spending boom. For me, the most interesting part of the book was the current trends in thriftiness, including a discussion of Freegans and keepers of the Compact, a pledge to not buy anything new. Both of these trends emphasize the author's main point, which is "Cheap" is really not about spending money, but an attitude about reducing waste. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 2/2/2014

    " Opened my eyes to some of our practices as a country. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 1/31/2014

    " Interesting read. Has something for everyone....history, economics, sociology and psychology. Thinking about rereading it to absorb it some more. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul Childs | 1/27/2014

    " The book was ok, not as interesting as I had hoped, but not dull either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matt | 1/20/2014

    " The book traces the history of when thrift was in! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bridget | 1/8/2014

    " Good in theory. Kinda boring in reality. I mostly skimmed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Helena | 12/15/2013

    " Very interesting so far. A few slow chapters, but it is getting more interesting towards the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Everest | 12/13/2013

    " I had such high hopes for this book. Instead, it was just incredibly boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angela | 10/24/2013

    " It was a well thought out book. The first part dealt with history of thriftness/ cheap. The only thing I didn't like /understand how the 1980s "me generation" was glossed over. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Scputval | 7/27/2013

    " Tried this one twice. interesting, but I couldn't do more than skim. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janet | 5/6/2013

    " Didn't much care for reading about the history of cheap but appreciated the discussion of alternatives to the overindulgence in our pleasure-seeking culture. There should be some pride in not catering to excesses. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 2/23/2013

    " Sometimes I get bored with history, but this wasn't too bad, especially given our current economic situation. Plus it was fun reading about cheapskate crazies. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 11/16/2012

    " Uncommonly smart, timely, and well-researched. The narrative tone is sometimes uneven--a disappointment since the author is obviously talented. It's worth reading if you push through a few slow sections. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bree | 8/11/2012

    " An enlightening and enjoyable look at frugality in American culture. This book covers a broad range of viewpoints - historical, social, cultural and psychological, with excellent source work, but still maintains a grip on the here and now. Looking forward to other works by this author. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Denise | 8/11/2012

    " Just can't get into this book. I won it in a giveaway and I feel bad that I can't get going with it. I have tried to read this book and just cannot get through it. At this point I find it terribly boring. Maybe it is just not the right time for me to read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaitlyn | 4/17/2012

    " fascinating, wandering history of America, touching on: our consumer culture, the virtue of frugality, and the ecological impacts of both. This book, like Omnivore's Dilemma did for me for food, forces me to examine the choices I make. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eva | 12/26/2011

    " No longer nostalgic for a time of voluntary frugality that never existed but happy to learn about the contemporary frugal subculture some Americans are choosing. Now to return my copy to the library... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheri | 10/13/2011

    " Yay! My inner Silas Marner has been vindicated! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melody | 6/30/2011

    " Weber's research on the topic of thrift is exhaustive. I found the book exhausting- I was drowning in dry details. Can one slog through a dry book? If so, that's what I did here. The introduction was funny, where she talked about her cheap upbringing. I would really like to read a memoir from her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie Trimble | 5/12/2011

    " This is interesting. It's one of those books that makes you want to make someone else close to you read -- so you can discuss it. There are a lot of points Weber makes that point to why we got here (this economic mess). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 5/11/2011

    " So far, it's great! Very interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 2/5/2011

    " Surprising and fun account of how Americans have a long, tortured relationship with spending and saving. A perfect book for our times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 November | 12/25/2010

    " I had such high hopes for this book. Instead, it was just incredibly boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Edwarda | 10/19/2010

    " Inside tips to leaving cheap, some extreme "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bridget | 9/3/2010

    " Good in theory. Kinda boring in reality. I mostly skimmed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trudy | 8/13/2010

    " This was a fascinating read. It chronicles America's relationship with money and the role of the cheap/frugal. It includes the current financial downturn so the information is current. If you haven't heard of the freegan movement, look it up on the web. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bree | 6/21/2010

    " An enlightening and enjoyable look at frugality in American culture. This book covers a broad range of viewpoints - historical, social, cultural and psychological, with excellent source work, but still maintains a grip on the here and now. Looking forward to other works by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 6/9/2010

    " Good history of frugality and spending money "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melody | 4/15/2010

    " Weber's research on the topic of thrift is exhaustive. I found the book exhausting- I was drowning in dry details. Can one slog through a dry book? If so, that's what I did here. The introduction was funny, where she talked about her cheap upbringing. I would really like to read a memoir from her. "

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About the Author

Lauren Weber is a former staff reporter at Reuters and Newsday. She has also written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, American Banker, and other publications. Weber graduated from Wesleyan University and is the author of In Cheap We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue.

About the Narrator

Marguerite Gavin is a seasoned theater veteran, a five-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award, and the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones and Publishers Weekly awards. Marguerite has been an actor, director, and audiobook narrator for her entire professional career. With over four hundred titles to her credit, her narration spans nearly every genre, from nonfiction to mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and children’s fiction. AudioFile magazine says, “Marguerite Gavin…has a sonorous voice, rich and full of emotion.”