What do soaring debt, endemic narcissism, road rage, political attack ads and killer drones share in common? All are symptoms of a society that moves, reflexively and relentlessly, to exploit the fastest, most efficient means to any end, without regard to cost. This is the 'impulse society' in which we live. In every facet of postindustrial society - the way we eat, the way we communicate and entertain, the way we work, the way we court lovers and raise children, educate and govern - technology and affluence has let us reach our goals with a speed and efficiency unimaginable even a generation ago. But the result is not all milk, honey, and gold. Companies now reflexively maximise short-term gain at the expense of long-term success. Politicians resort with ever-greater speed to nasty campaign tactics, and can count on their damaging claims to spread before the facts catch up with them. Consumers engage in serial over-indulgence and pursue instant gratification of every whim with speed and greed. The costs of living this way are substantial: financial volatility, health epidemics, environmental exhaustion and political paralysis, to say nothing of a growing, gnawing dissatisfaction. In this epoch-defining book, Paul Roberts traces the roots of this problem, damningly revealing how it has permeated society, and cogently argues how it may, perhaps, still be reversed.