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House Lust: America's Obsession with Our Homes Audio CD – Bargain Price, January 22, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Despite the current downturn in the housing market, the country's mania for homes that exploded during the last half-decade is still alive and well, according to Newsweek writer McGinn. The fascination with homes—talking about, valuing, scheming over, envying, shopping for, refinancing, or just plain ogling homes—has continued even after the market has cooled, McGinn argues, and can be seen in the ongoing popularity of HGTV, the 24-7 real estate and home improvement cable channel and its flagship show, House Hunters. To prove his thesis, McGinn entertainingly explores the gamut of housing obsessions, from buying personally designed and oversized trophy homes, attempting large-scale renovations and spending obscene amounts of time on real estate Web sites such as Zillow and PropertyShark to actually going out and getting a real estate license, which McGinn himself does after only minimal training. It is this ability to get inside the actual lives of the housing-obsessed rather that relying purely on statistics to prove his point that makes this book as enjoyable as an episode of Flip This House, another popular housing reality show that McGinn cites in a book that is, at heart, all about behavior, not economics. (Dec. 26)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The best part of this smart, entertaining book is that while you're laughing at other people's excesses, you're simultaneously calculating how much it would cost to do a renovation like theirs." ---Joel Stein, columnist for Time --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
This is an intresting book that is written in and entertaining way. When I first picked it up I expected it to be a little dated being written before the Great Recession insted it still very appropriate as it investigate people deeper connection to property ownership.
Furthermore, McGinn's effort is awash in credibility. Not only did he research house lust, he lived it. Among his many participatory exploits are his eyebrow-raising purchase of a rental property in Pocatello, Idaho (he used his book advance, much to the, umm, chagrin of his wife) and his pursuit of a Realtor license. In each case, the author's first-hand involvement greatly enriches the tale.
Of additional note are McGinn's efforts to keep the book relevant at the time of the sub-prime-fueled, foreclosure-laden bust of the bubble. The book was conceived mid-bubble. The market had clearly turned prior to publication. McGinn notes this dramatic shift and adds what I feel is an appropriate level of commentary about the implications. To that end, in his Acknowledgements section he mentions that esteemed economist and Newsweek colleague Robert Samuelson "provided generous advice on adjusting the book's tone as the housing market weakened."
Speaking of Newsweek, like many others I suppose, I learned of this book through the excerpt in that weekly. I've been a long-time (20+ years) subscriber. It's a delight to see how many colleagues McGinn credits by name and how many he counts as friends. It's a workplace that seems very family-like and collegial. In the wake of a significant buyout of many of Newsweek's longtime writers, it leaves me a bit melancholy. This is the downside of the web revolution and rapidly plummeting print circulations: the busting up and atrophying of great talent pools like Newsweek is a most unfortunate thing for readers like me...and it seems for people like Daniel McGinn, a generous journalist who understands how a place like Newsweek molded him.
Dan looks at "house lust" from several interesting, amusing, and unexpected angles. One of my many favorites was what he calls the "maximum-use imperative" in which people buy more house than they use on a day-to-day basis bedrooms, bathrooms, gamerooms etc) so that all the extended family members can stay with them once a year or they can host that perfect once-a-year party.
This book was like an adult education course at a community college - learning and laughing about a subject that proved to be fun and revelatory.
I give away most of my books, otherwise, I would be living in an abandoned K-mart. But House Lust stays in the house.
Most recent customer reviews
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