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Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You Paperback – 14 May 2009
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Charming and well written ... [a] readable and practical guide to understanding the people around you. (New Scientist)
Sam Gosling is an engaging writer, a brilliant psychologist, and a charming individual, and he must never, ever be allowed inside my office! (Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Bonk)
A must-read for anyone who wants to learn about the cutting edge of psychological research. (Eric Abrahamson, co-author of A Perfect Mess)
Gosling's conclusions are supported by rigorous academic research, but his engaging book is aimed at a popular audience...Snoop's conceit makes for an entertaining tour of how people project their inner selves outward into the world. This may seem like just common sense, but it's not. (The Washington Post)
Snoopology is a science with a right way and wrong way of doing it...I was blithely going about it entirely the wrong way. A fascinating book. (Lucy Kellaway Financial Times 2008-07-14)
Accessibly written, Snoop captures the prevailing mood for decoding symbols (Alastair Mabbott The Glasgow Herald 2009-05-30)
He wades through different stereotypes and professional backgrounds in his quest to profile people and their idiosyncracies, emerging with an entertaining and illuminating offering - even if you wouldn't realyl want to be in his researching shoes. (None credited Sunday Buiness Post 2009-05-24)
Gosling's book might just make you change the way you see your world and the people in it. (N/A Psychologies 2010-01-01)
A fascinating book about what our everyday actions and possessions really say about us.See all Product description
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A lot of the actual specific findings of the research are not easy to apply to real life. For example, the author concludes in a number of places that the whole of society at large misinterprets the meaning of certain attributes, yet the proposed alternatives are often vague or overlapping. There were also several moments when the author seemed to be labouring a point unnecessarily. This may be due to the academic flavour of the book, as it is clearly placed slightly towards the serious psychology end of the scale rather than the interesting pop-psychology read end. For me, I prefer a slightly snappier pace with less academic rigour, but that is just my personal taste.
Ultimately, a significant conclusion of the book and the author is that you can't apply a one-size-fits-all approach to interpreting people's personal spaces, and context is everything. Whilst this is refreshing to hear an author admit that life is not simplistic, it does make for a rather pointless application: if everything is subjective, what can you ever hope to learn from this book?
So buy this book if you are interested in reading about the author's research into his subject. But don't expect to have any great epiphany moments or be transformed into a "super-snooper". For certain, you won't find a simple list of "what A/B/C means" inside.
It's an odd book this, but all the more interesting for it. Reading much of it I was thinking that we were mostly in the domain of common sense though, as Gosling himself says, this may be in part due to the action of hindsight. Having said that, there are some interesting examples of counter-intuitive phenomena and misinterpreted cues that do act against this.
The basic thrust of the book relies on a system of personality analysis commonly known as Big Five and so the early chapters lay the foundations for this by laying out a quick summary. After that, Gosling gets into specific contexts for, and examples of, his observations (I hesitate to use the word hypothesis here, probably because this is not really a formal academic text)
Gosling himself writes with great perspicuity and not a little wit, rather ironically giving us some possible pointers to his own character in the process. It's one of the reasons I wanted to (and indeed do) like this book
I'm not sure whether the principal question is ever really fully answered in a concrete enough way for some readers but it certainly provokes a lot of thought and should certainly make you as the reader wonder about the particular trails you leave in the course of your own life.