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Cheaper by the Dozen
Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You - Sam Gosling I have to say I didn't really like this book very much. I enjoyed the premise, which is that our physical trappings can give insights into our inner lives. I agree with that, but I found the presentation in this book to be off-putting.

The author seems to have tried to appeal to a wider audience by couching his arguments and hypotheses in a pseudo how-to book. All of the chapters are framed in a "how-to-be-a-snoop" style. I would have preferred just a simple, straightforward discussion of his topic. The how-to approach seemed kind of chintzy, like he was trying too hard.

Because of the subject matter, I also sort of expected some reference to Pierre Bourdieu's 1984 work on a similar subject (Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste). That is, I was expecting Snoop to go beyond what our stuff says about our individual selves, and to dig into what our stuff says about where we belong in the larger society.

But instead of expanding his arguments to a social level, Snoop's author leaves them at the level of the individual, which I suppose is indicative of his training as a psychologist. It seems, though, that a larger perspective is needed, even considering his focus is the psychology of the individual. Bourdieu's research showed that our individual aesthetic preferences are heavily informed by our social and position, which implies that our very psychological makeup is at least partly determined by our social class. This seems an important point, even in a book about psychology.

I think that Snoop is an example of the reluctance of the different academic disciplines to communicate with each other. In my training as an anthropologist, I never read any psychology, and I bet that psychologists don't read much anthropological theory (as evidenced by Snoop's total lack of references to Bourdieu's book).

Anthropological pickiness aside, I didn't enjoy the presentation, as noted above, which is disappointing in what could have been a very interesting subject.