|Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays by Joel Waldfogel||BOOK||Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What by Lee Eisenberg|
|Buying presents sucks (duh). But it's also economically inefficient: People part with $66 billion each year, but the value derived from those reindeer sweaters and crappy candles is a mere fraction of that.||IN A NUTSHELL||Aided in part by technology, the sell side is only getting more manipulative, from brain scans measuring brand preference to mining zip-code-based psychographic data.|
|Dollars spent on gifts you're given produce 18% less satisfaction per dollar than dollars you spend on yourself.||STAGGERING STAT||Seventy percent of the items shoppers purchase are things they had no intention of buying when they entered the store.|
|AND THE WINNER IS|
|Scroogenomics. Where Eisenberg's book is glib and meandering, Waldfogel's crackles with insight and intriguing stats. We're sold.|
A version of this article appeared in the November 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.