132 of 139 people found the following review helpful
My gifted (#16), multilingual (#78) 28 year old son (his mother and I are divorced (#66)) has recently returned from a year of teaching English in Japan (#11, 19, 42, 58, 71, 72,) to attend graduate school (#47 and #81) and he visited me today. We had some freshly brewed gourmet coffee (#1) and ate a couple of $12 sandwiches (#63) while watching several episodes of the Wire (#85). As he left he borrowed some of my Criterion Collection (#106) DVD's of 1950's classic Japanese films (#116). And this was just today!
I thought that this book was hilarious, and I love the sub-title (The Definitive Guide to the Unique Tastes of Millions). Although less than half of the "stuff" applied to me I really got a kick out of it and bought a couple more copies for friends.
Let's clear up one thing though; this was not meant to apply to ALL white people. I have two brothers (both republican, blue collar conservatives) and I would be surprised if even two items on the list applied to them and they lead happy, fulfilled lives (or so they tell me). This book is directed to a certain subset of the white population. We like to think that we are different but many of us are different in the exact same ways. We know who we are and we should be able to laugh at ourselves (#103, Self Deprecating Humor).
95 of 114 people found the following review helpful
Christian Lander - with some photographic help from his wife Jessica Lander - has succeeded in transforming into book form his blog site STUFF WHITE PEOPLE LIKE and the result is a compendium of 150 idiosyncrasies that mark white people as a groupie well worth 'mocking'. Lander writes so well that his zingers remain on target while providing entertainment for the reader instead of producing a mockery or lambast too personal to continue. The first clue to his universal approach is the subtitle of the book, 'A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions', and if you don't catch the humor in that then much of the book will be lost on you!
After reading some of the 'Stuff' Lander lists we begin to feel the artifice of Lander's thinking; the long list of everyday items, as defined or described by Lander, spreads in comic relief the pretentiousness, the shallow desire to be 'with it', the countless fads we indulge while denying the commonality of those items, and the way 'white people' are perceived by the world at large - both at home and abroad. It has been said that nothing is funnier than reality and this book proves that statement 150 times - with many more thoughts initiated by the book that extend the depth of comedy in the 'unique tastes' we claim. For instance, one favorite thing to discuss is public transportation, heralded as a big city luxury worth expanding into the little cities, but stopping short when the word 'bus' enters the conversation. 'When it comes to the subject it's best to understand that white people do not recognize public transit as a viable option until a subway line is built that runs directly from their house to their work. Until that time, public transportation is a luxury only for New Yorkers and Europeans, sort of like opera.'
Other topics addressed range from Netflix, Veganism/Vegetarianism, Microbreweries, Yoga, Tea, Black Friends/Gay Friends, Portland, Oregon to San Francisco prejudices, Bakeries, Hardwood Floors, Integrity (versus 'selling out'), Natural Medicine, Plays, Cheese, Therapy - the list seems endless. From Following Their Dreams, to where to visit/vacation (Third World Countries for all the wrong reasons) to the importance of knowing how to give 'the good dinner party', Lander finds truths that cause us to ache a bit in acknowledging but force us to relax and really laugh at how each of these item is so very true.
To continue on another thing ('stuff') that Lander addresses, Awareness of just how each of these traits define us in the brush with reality that will perhaps not only entertain us while reading this wisely humorous book, but will also turn on the light to the acceptance that 'white people' have become as marginalized as other social groups who have long since found audiences who delight in the 'truth confessionals' that fill our computer YouTube and TVs - oh, but then real white people don't own TVs.... Christian Lander has a major hit on his hands. Read this and share this. It is hilariously entertaining! Grady Harp, July 08
62 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Stuff People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions, by Christian Lander, is laugh-out-loud funny. The book jumps right in with 150 things white people like. There are black and white photographs throughout, many of which were taken by his wife. The end of the book has a handy list of the 150 things white people like and a checklist to see what percentage of white you are.
Note: this is not a book about all white Americans, but a book on the white cultural creatives (cc's) (if you know who they are, then you are probably one of them,) that make up over one-third of the population. Many of the defining characteristics of the cc's can be found in the "stuff" Landers writes about, like enjoying the outdoors, organic food, being an environmentalist, caring about education and so on.
Another defining characteristic of the cc's is the belief that they are a unique and authentic bunch--something Landers has too much fun poking at.
There are tips throughout for those seeking to befriend a white person that are hilarious.
The following excerpts will give you a taste of the book:
* Coffee: "For the most part, white people love Starbucks, although they will profess o hate how the chain is now a multi international corporation."
* Organic food: "Because of the balance of global wealth and power, there is a general assumption that white people are pretty shrewd. And for the most part, history has proven this to be true. But white people have one great weakness: organic food."
* Having black friends: "...an abundance of black fiends (defined in white culture as two) also enables a white person to be the resident expert on African-American issues when there are no black people around."
* Multilingual child: All white people their children to speak another language. There are no exceptions."
Dinner Parties: Outside of dictatorships and a few murder trials, there might not be a more rigorous judgement process in the modern world."
I love that the bio on the back cover includes the fact that he is a Ph.D dropout.
I was also impressed that Landers is up on the water bottle and paper/plastic vs. canvas bag wars. He knows his culture.
From the author of the award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet.
80 of 102 people found the following review helpful
I wasn't offended by this book like many people. I found it entertaining. For about ten entries. Then I realized that the repetition was killing me. Every single entry can be broken down to the same exact formula.
Part One: Title.
Name something that a large subset of yuppies, especially the ones in TriBeCa, SoHo, SoCal, Portland, and Seattle, like. This can be virtually anything, as he points out with bottled water, recycling, music, etc.
Part Two: The Riff.
Spend 4-5 paragraphs mocking this affinity, and how it reflects the needs of white people to simultaneously be different and also the same.
Part Three: Social Advice
Spend 1-2 paragraphs on how you can manipulate this affinity to manipulate and gain advantage over white people.
Repeat. Ad nauseam.
Around Number 105 of this book of 150 entries, the author finally reaches Self-Deprecation. As it turns out, one of the things that white people like most is: Myself--. (Bonus points if you get that joke.) Unfortunately, even the author is afraid to make the joke that white people also seem to like repetition. Perhaps that was 151, and the editors capped it at 150. The world may never know. (Although...I can easily imagine a sequel, MORE Stuff White People Like), that is filled with the same lame formula.
But none of these things were the crucial problem, really. The biggest problem is that this joke is only funny like five or ten times. After twenty times you want to just stop reading most of the entries, unless you come across one that particularly suits you. After another 15-20 in this fashion, you lose interest again, and just start reading the titles.
Best way to enjoy this? Read the website, one entry every few weeks. Saves time, money, and may reamin engaging in this fasion.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2008
Here's the good news about white people: they're just like us. They seek the approval of their peers but want to do as little work as possible to achieve that, and feel good about themselves by looking down on others. The bad news: they run the world.
That's why the rest of the human race wants to either be them, marry into them, screw them, screw them over, or all of the above. To prove my point consider this: the richest non-white families in America and around the world will spare no expense in sending their children to Yale and Harvard so that their kids can learn to be white and meet white people. That's a fact that Christian Lander glibly ignores in his book, and instead creates a fantasy that white people are just spoiled kids who need to be tolerated. That's one of the two flaws with this book.
The other: the author happens to be white. Mr. Lander repeats how white people like to have it both ways: they like diversity and ethnicity as long as it comes with a warranty and you can order out. So this book suffers from being too white in that it's alternative without being edgy and it's satirical without being dark -- it performs the ultimate white trick of making fun of white people without actually offending them.
Nevertheless, this is a superb and insightful book. By reading this book you'll discover that white people are all unique individuals who live in Portland Oregon, who have studied abroad in Europe, love sushi and marijuana and yoga, like having black and gay friends who are basically white, like to renovate old homes, and are the only reason why things like documentaries and liberal arts universities exist.
After reading this book I now have a fuller, deeper understanding of the world. I'm Chinese but I do have many white friends, and they perplex me. Why is he listening to public radio on a Saturday morning? Why does he want to invite me to a film festival -- who wants to watch that crap? Why did he suddenly decide to get married at age 39? Why does he subscribe to the New Yorker, and not actually read it? Why does she have all the ugly modern furniture in her room? Now I finally know: It's because they're white.
The book is subtitled "The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions" but it's more of a work in progress than an encyclopedia. There are many instances where I found myself arguing with the author. For example, Christian Lander writes that white people like the New Yorker -- but in my experience I've discovered that they like the New York Review of Books more because they've never read it, and they're pretty sure no one's ever read it either.
And yes Wes Anderson is a very white director but I think the quintessentially white director is Noah Baumbach. His debut film "Kicking and Screaming" was a movie that every white has thought of making, and it's about college kids who speak and think in a manner that white people imagined they once did.
But I'm merely nitpicking here. This will indubitably become one of the most important books of our time, and I strongly encourage this text to be taught in high schools around the world.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2011
Had the author stopped at 50, I'd be a fan. There are about fifty funny ones, with an extra hundred thrown in to flesh the book out. Cutesy and precious is the net effect. I don't know what nerve this guy is tickling in people, but, I'm long past tickled. Now I'm just annoyed.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2012
I thought this book was really funny. The author writes in a kind of mock "kindly mentor" fashion, assuming that the reader is non-white and teaching the reader about the ins and outs of the modern American white person (meaning liberal, affluent and thinking of themselves as "hip".) He is able to take myriad aspects of culture and poke gentle fun at them using this guise.
I really liked the kind, almost tender way that the author describes his subject, even while skewering them. He gives tips on how to ingratiate yourself with white people, how to make them happy and make them feel good. He often cautions the reader not to do or say certain things that might make the white person feel bad. It was refreshing to read something funny that wasn't being too mean. His prose is the perfect mix of almost-sarcastic.
I also saw myself in many of the descriptions, though I'm only about 60% white according to the quiz in the book.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2010
This book is exactly one joke told and retold 150 times. It's funny on the first page, eye rolling by page 10 and by page 200? Well, I didn't get that far.
Here's the formula the author uses:
1. Pick a random subject (ex. muscle cars)
2. Say that white people like it ("Every white person loves muscle cars, especially if they're classic muscle cars").
3. Random snarky comments mixed in with vague photographs.
4. Discuss how the subject makes white people feel good about themselves.. or not ("Under no circumstances should you point out that cars are bad for the environment or the white person will feel bad about themselves")
I just saved you $15. You're welcome.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2010
Although this book can be witty and funny I'd argue that much of what Lander refers to as 'stuff that white people like' is actually 'stuff that upper-middle class people like'. I'm not white but much of what he talks about resonates with me. I had a good liberal arts education, religiously buy organic foods, care about the environment and love the great outdoors. But this doesn't make me white though it might make me upper-middle class. And as one reviewer puts it "This must be a yuppie version of white people from the north or California. Yanks... *tsk tsk*". I think Lander needs to look more carefully at what he chooses to categorize as "white" since he equates "white" with what is in reality the interests of people of a certain socio-economic class. There are many whites who are economically disadvantaged who can't related to these things and people of color who are affluent who can relate.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
A mildly amusing book if you can overcome the realization that by "White People" Lander means urban, college educated young people and that the narrator's perspective is explaining their preferences to someone who is not part of that demographic, say for example a Martian. A Martian who wants to be "in" and ingratiate him or herself to white people. While this perspective allows Lander to cast a jaundiced eye on 150 different "likes" it also casts white people as interchangeable dweebs and the reader as an anthropology student.
Of course, the true target audience of the book is the very same demographic that Lander is making fun of, allowing white people to show their ability to laugh at themselves. That could be #151.