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Secondhand : travels in the new global garage sale

by Minter, Adam, 1970-

Format: Print Book 2019
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"Minter's travels through the afterlife of stuff are revelatory, terrifying , but, ultimately, hopeful. 'Secondhand' helps us to see a world of possibility in the objects we discard." - Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE SIXTH EXTINCTION

From the author of Junkyard Planet , a journey into the surprising afterlives of our former possessions.

Downsizing. Decluttering. A parent's death. Sooner or later, all of us are faced with things we no longer need or want. But when we drop our old clothes and other items off at a local donation center, where do they go? Sometimes across the country-or even halfway across the world-to people and places who find value in what we leave behind.

In Secondhand , journalist Adam Minter takes us on an unexpected adventure into the often-hidden, multibillion-dollar industry of reuse: thrift stores in the American Southwest to vintage shops in Tokyo, flea markets in Southeast Asia to used-goods enterprises in Ghana, and more. Along the way, Minter meets the fascinating people who handle-and profit from-our rising tide of discarded stuff, and asks a pressing question: In a world that craves shiny and new, is there room for it all?

Secondhand offers hopeful answers and hard truths. A history of the stuff we've used and a contemplation of why we keep buying more, it also reveals the marketing practices, design failures, and racial prejudices that push used items into landfills instead of new homes. Secondhand shows us that it doesn't have to be this way, and what really needs to change to build a sustainable future free of excess stuff.

Empty the nest
The flood
The good stuff
Our warehouse is a four-bedroom house
Frayed below the stitch
Good as new
Enough to sell
And it lasts forever
A rich person's broken thing
More suitcases.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "On the surface, an entire book detailing the world's obsession with stuff (including a pointed analysis of reduce, reuse, recycle ) seems dry. In Minter's capable hands (Junkyard Planet, 2013), the topic comes alive. People have needs and wants, and the global economy depends on consumerism. Once purchased, things eventually break, tastes eventually change, and people eventually die. So what can we do with all that stuff? Minter takes the reader on an international journey of reuse. In Tucson and Nogales, Mexico, Minter reviews Goodwill Industries and the thriving secondhand resale culture. In Minneapolis and Tokyo, he provides examples of companies that resell items removed from a deceased person's home. In Toronto and Cotonou, Benin, there's a thoughtful analysis of the used clothing trade. With dozens more stops on this world tour, Minter designs a workable path forward to combat the glut of stuff, including a plea for solid construction that can be used for years and legislation that promotes repair rather than disposal.--Sarah Steers Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Starting at what many people would consider the end of the story, when it's time to dispose of possessions that are unwanted, unused, or broken, business journalist Minter (Junkyard Planet) takes readers on a surprisingly jaunty trip through the global market for secondhand goods. Starting at a storage unit in the Minneapolis suburbs and winding up in Ghana's Golden Jubilee Terminal, a major import crossroads, with stops in Japan, India, and Malaysia along the way, Minter introduces a colorful cast of characters, such as 41-year-old "Shoe Guy," a (self-declared) 35-year veteran of the U.S.-Mexico trade in used goods, and Robin Ingenthron, a Vermont entrepreneur who exports computer monitors from the U.S. to the developing world. Largely a portrait of an industry in decline due to items such as clothing becoming cheaper and less durable and higher ticket electronics being developed to insure that they are difficult to repair, Minter's book reveals an economy hampered by an increasing overabundance of supply ("The things I value, I quickly realized, generally aren't valuable to anyone but me"). This is a fascinating, eye-opening look at a dynamic, largely unseen world that only starts when one drops off something at a thrift store. Agent: Wendy Sherman, Wendy Sherman Associates. (Nov.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Minter, Adam, -- 1970- -- Travel.
Secondhand trade.
Sales personnel -- Biography -- Anecdotes.
Publisher New York :2019
Other Titles Secondhand
Second hand :
Language English
Description xix, 299 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 283-291) and index.
ISBN 9781635570106
Other Classic View