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Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You Paperback – May 12, 2009

3.6 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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"

"Grounded in first-rate science, "Snoop" is an entertaining page-turner and a must read for anyone who wants to learn about the cutting edge of psychological research."-Eric Abrahamson, coauthor of "A Perfect Mess"

"If you are looking for a lover, a job, a new house, or a serial killer, "Snoop" is for you. It's great science and a fun read by a world-renowned personality researcher."-James W. Pennebaker, author of "Opening Up and Writing to Heal"

"Hugely enjoyable and insightful...Gosling has produced the perfect combination of rigorous research and lightness of prose to create a book that will transform every reader into a super snooper."-Richard Wiseman, author of "Quirkology"

""Snoop" is a tour de force! It's one of the smartest and most original books I've come across in a long time. I devoured it and then rushed over to clean up my desk and change my iPod playlist."-Richard Florida, author of "The Rise of the Creative Class" and "Who's Your City?"

"I love this book. The content is fascinating, and Gosling presents it with great style and clarity. He teaches you to find clues about people in the most unlikely places--from the clutter in their closets to the smiles on their faces. If you want to know what your stuff really says about you, read "Snoop,""-Jonathan Haidt, author of "The Happiness Hypothesis"

"Gosling is the rarest of authors--a superb behavioral scientist who is as funny as he is smart. One of his great contributions is giving us fresh insight into what makes each of us who we are."-Dan P. McAdams, author of "The Redemptive Self"

""Snoop" isn't conventional self-help. Instead, the psychology professor a the University of Texas-Austin draws on academic research to explain how to look at other people's stuff - music, CD's, books, personal websites, posters, email usernames - and figure out who they are in terms of five traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism."-"USA Today"

.,."charming and well written...readable and practical guide to understanding the people around you."-"New Scientist"

"Gosling's research addresses some fierce debates in academic psychology, and makes them lively and accessible to general readers in "Snoop,""-"Times Higher Education Supplement"

"Gosling's work, reminiscent of Martha Stout's "The Sociopath Next Door" in its vivid, true-to-life portraits of people and places, is a unique blend of scholarly research and accessible vignettes. Expect future books from this young scholar, whose storytelling skills prove he's capable of bridging the gap between ivory-tower dwellers and street denizens."-"Library Journal," starred review

"Gosling, a psychology professor, shows us how the bits and pieces of our everyday lives can reveal more than we ever imagined. Did you know that the stuff you keep on your desk can tell a shrewd observer not just your likes and dislikes, but also your political leanings, your sexual interests, your fears, even your secret self-image (as opposed to the version of yourself you present to the world)?"-"Booklist"

"The basic premise behind "Snoop" is that you can tell an awful lot about a person based on their apartment; their work space; their favorite music; their style of dress - even their trash. (Gosling approvingly quotes Ward Harrison, a professional scavenger who made a career rummaging through the trash of celebs, who once said, "Garbage is a window into the soul.") This thesis puts "Snoop" firmly in "Blink" or "Freakonomics" territory."-"New York Post"

About the Author

Sam Gosling, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His work has been featured in the New York Times and Psychology Today, on NPR, Nightline, and Good Morning America, and his research is featured in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. He is the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology. He lives in Austin, Texas.

www.samgosling.com

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465013821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465013821
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
About: University of Texas at Austin psychology professor Gosling fancies himself a "snoopologist" and studies how people's belongings exhibit their personalities. While he believes belongings give clues to personality, he notes that it does not work for all folks in all situations. Personality is defined as "An individual's unique pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving that is consistent over time." (pg 28). Gosling uses the Big 5 personality traits (Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) to further break down the personalities he describes in the book and spends quite a bit of time going over the basics of these 5 traits.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Sam Gosling's book is an anti-materialist's nightmare--or is it? In a time when many are advocating that we "purge" our possessions and live "simpler" lives, "Snoop" is an amusing, clever, and occasionally unnerving brain teaser. It posits that we are, in fact, our stuff, and everything we wear, hang, collect, listen to, display, etc. says something revealing about us. (Even the way people arrange pictures in an office--facing a guest so as to impress, or facing the owner to provide reassurance/emotional nurturance--is significant.) Occasionally the book gets fairly scientific when measuring various psychological qualities (Neuroticism, Openness, etc.), but it's nothing that will throw anyone who's ever taken a Meyers-Briggs test. Gosling also analyzes "hoarders" and "emotional narcissists" who never throw anything away, and his conclusions are thought-provoking. And the charts analyzing different music listeners (gospel, rap, rock, etc.), and folks' stereotypes about these people based on their music choices, are real eye-openers. If anything, the book is too short; another chapter or two would've been pure gravy, especially if it dealt with the current trend of disposability, or "renting" rather than owning (as in people who only take CD's or DVD's out from the library rather than buying them). Some may also find the tone a bit facile, though I thought it was funny and clever (especially a chapter entitled "Knowing Me Knowing You" with several pointed ABBA jokes). Still, after I read this book, I couldn't walk into any room in my home without casting a critical eye at the art, the knick-knacks, the books, etc. It's the sort of book that may genuinely change the way you see yourself, as well as the world around you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoy pop psychology books but I found this book a little tedious and droning at times. Some thoughts were interesting, such as identifiers being geared to influence the opinion of others versus to reassure yourself, but because the test subjects were nearly all college students I, as a person over 40, didn't find much of interest for the world that I inhabit. The author did not acknowledge that college students and that time in a person's life is unlike the bulk of an average person's existence. College and young adulthood is a time of trying out new identities, supporting causes, and learning about new social ideals, and few demands made on your time by children, aging parents, and spouses. So while it's interesting to hear about how young adults decorate their dorm rooms and how that reflects their personality it would be more interesting (to me) to visit people out of the academic milieu and learn how to make educated guesses about their personalities.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To write a book about snooping and not once mention the entire field of ethnographic research is just wrong. This book seems to be more suited for a pamphlet about this one lab's research rather than an actual investigation into what your stuff says about you. I was so, so disappointed in this book.

I finally had to stop reading it when the author actually asserted that everyone's refrigerator basically contains the same stuff so you cannot really learn anything about people from this. Are you serious? This suggest to me the author's work is confined to a single university, single culture, single socio-economic group, and as such is incredibly limited in its reach.

I really, really wanted to love this book.
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