Lee Simpson may seem like an unlikely candidate to don the mantle of anti-consumerist prophet. She is, after all, the former publisher of Canada’s most successful women’s lifestyles magazine, Chatelaine. But that is just the first of many surprising things about her new book My Year of Buying Nothing.
In the 1980s and ’90s, Simpson oversaw the heady days of women’s magazine publishing. Although proud of the excellent journalism featured in her magazines, and of the pioneering work of the editors she worked with, her primary role as senior executive was to ensure that a maximum number of advertising pages got sold.
“I was part of the data analysis and market research conglomerate that helped consumer predators know your weaknesses and exploit them mercilessly.”
In My Year of Buying Nothing, Simpson invites readers into her world to witness first hand the struggles she faced, the decisions and compromises she had to make, and the epiphanies and wisdom she won during her year-long attempt to shed her “consumer” skin and live a more sustainable, more authentic, more earth-friendly life.
Who better to choose as a guide to a new, healthier post-consumer lifestyle than someone who is intimately familiar with the pitfalls and dangers of the starting place, and the challenges of the way forward?