The Substance of Style by Virginia Postrel

The tagline is "How the rise of aesthetic value is remaking commerce, culture, and consciousness," which sums up the book pretty nicely. Postrel argues that our culture's disapproval of liking something only for its aesthetic beauty is misplaced. Briefly put, we like things that are pretty, and that's ok. Moreover, tools that are aesthetically pleasing are also more effective, because they are being used by humans. That is, if a tool you are using makes you feel good through its aesthetic, you'll be more productive.

This book also has an awesome quote near the end, thrown out almost offhandedly, that neatly sums up exactly why humans are so afraid of cultural change.

Rating: 4 of 5
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Other books by Virginia Postrel:
Category Title Author Rating Description
Culture The Future and Its Enemies Virginia Postrel
Postrel has a talent for uniquely insightful critiques of culture and politics, and it's on full display in this work.