I really enjoyed this book by Juliet Schor. It was written in the 90's, and although the price and wage information has certainly changed, the information is as pertinent today as it was then.
The main message of the book is much of what we already know - Americans are spending more, saving less, and working longer hours than ever before. The author makes an interesting point in stating she doesn't believe we are trying to keep up with the Joneses any longer but rather we are trying to do better than the Joneses.
The book does a nice job of exploring consumption history, our motivation(s) for acquisition, consumption patterns, alternative lifestyles (i.e. downshifters) and then strategies for breaking the cycle.
It was a very well researched and interesting read that, at the very least, serves as inspiration to make changes.