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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Enjoyable
Postrel talks about the importance of style in design. She uses plenty of case studies and ideas from every day life. She talks about shopping malls, interior design, home depot shops and other things that reviewers here have taken issue with. Yes, she talks about the American aesthetic, but she is American, and she doesn't claim to be writing about the inhabitants of...
Published on 14 Nov 2007 by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity
The subject area is potentially very interesting but this book doesn't doit justice.The author is far from dispassionate- she is actively in favourof superficiality and goes out to prove This Is A Good Thing. The factthat the chapter outlining rebuffs to this idea from architecture,philosophy and ethics is more convincing than her own arguments makes fora bad start. The...
Published on 21 April 2004 by ZDDQ140770


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Enjoyable, 14 Nov 2007
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness (Paperback)
Postrel talks about the importance of style in design. She uses plenty of case studies and ideas from every day life. She talks about shopping malls, interior design, home depot shops and other things that reviewers here have taken issue with. Yes, she talks about the American aesthetic, but she is American, and she doesn't claim to be writing about the inhabitants of the whole globe. Her stories are interesting and relevant, and they may not be profound, but for someone who may not think that 'style' is relevant to their ordinary life, this book is an eye opener. It is journalistic in style, which makes it readable, rather than some epic, educational edifice that you need a dictionary to get past the first page with. She deals with superficiality, and she celebrates it, but she is only illuminating a culture that already exists. It is a kind of anthropological study of what ordinary people do with and need from stylish objects. Her argument is that it is alright for people to want and expect beauty from the most mundane of objects, and why not indeed?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity, 21 April 2004
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ZDDQ140770 - See all my reviews
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The subject area is potentially very interesting but this book doesn't doit justice.The author is far from dispassionate- she is actively in favourof superficiality and goes out to prove This Is A Good Thing. The factthat the chapter outlining rebuffs to this idea from architecture,philosophy and ethics is more convincing than her own arguments makes fora bad start. The observations seem limited to hairstyles, interior designand planned communities in the US and these are extended to prove thatstyling affects everyone and everything. Again, this isn't convincingmainly as it seems entirley limited to the US urban middle class. Mostpeople do NOT live like this. The writing style is the snappy nasaleagerness of business journalists which doesnt help- the authors ownappeal for more style hasnt reached her own pen, it seems. However, theconcept is vast and all-encompassing, but it needs a writer with moreauthority first to frame it and then to define it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars beautiful cover , lack of substance, 20 Jan 2004
Having worked on design I couldn't wait to read it.
What a pity I couldn't finish it.
The book continuously states the obvious,it's far from revolutionary.
If this book was meant for people within the design industry
it is simply wafflle,if it was meant for the" hobnob" go ahead
and buy it - especially if you ... " just want a more attractive living room."
Silvio Artero-Italy
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificient book., 10 Jan 2004
"The Substance of Style" is a beautifully written book about how the quest for aesthetically pleasing surroundings and objects is affecting the way we trade, work and behave. The book is wide ranging and witty - it takes the reader from monumental architecture to humourous insights into the styling of the toilet brush.
But this is no mere celebration of all things bright and beautiful. Ms Postrel analyses how differing, even clashing tastes affect our environment. She describes how markets have changed, how mass production and mass markets enable niche tastes to be catered for today when they could not be before. She explores the regulatory dimension of aesthetics, in particular how town and country planning rules affect the way our towns look. There is even a wonderfully insightful passage on the economics of aesthetics and an inspired application of the famous Coase theorem.
In sum, a thoughtful, thought provoking book which is a joy to read !
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