Saturday, July 10, 2010

Snoop: What your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling

Well-written nonfiction is a joy. Snoop is a joy. (Incidentally, the cover design has the word SNOOP set at a 90-degree angle over a shape that's supposed to be a keyhole but which looks a bit like a spoon, which is probably why I read the word SNOOP as SPOON every single time.)

This is a fascinating book, full of details and anecdotes. Gosling is a psychologist who studies people's stuff--how they arrange their living spaces, work spaces, etc.--and how the stuff reflects the people who own it. Gosling naturally snoops in people's stuff whenever he gets the chance, and the book encourages the reader to snoop (in a playful way) while also teaching us how to interpret what we see.

It's a guidebook, but it's not a field guide. There's no chapter on "messy rooms," for instance, no list of items and their meanings. Instead, Gosling gives us amusing and interesting anecdotes about people he's known and studies he's conducted to show us how to look at a room as a whole and integrate what you know in order to make educated guesses of what the room's decorator is like. He does include some tables on what kinds of things to look for--for instance, a person who is high in the trait of openness is likely to own a variety of different kinds of books, no matter how many books he or she actually owns.

The book ranges widely, covering personal appearance, musical preferences, websites, and other topics not entirely connected to stuff. It's all interesting, though. Gosling's writing is entertaining, funny, and very readable. It's also likely to make you get up and clean your room.

B&N link


Cate Gardner said...

Anything that will make me get up off my butt and tidy my room is a must buy. ;)

K.C. Shaw said...

My room looks like something out of a magazine right now (until you look in the closet). :)