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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, 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:
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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.”


  • “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.”


  • “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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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