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I finished off Sam Gosling's Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You you today, and while I hate to be down on everything I read nowadays, my reactions were largely "wow, this is kind of light" or "wow, this is kind of creepy." It purports to be a pop social-science book about how one's personality is communicated through one's work and living spaces. Contrary to my expectations, though, the book's less for curious sorts idly wondering "hey, neat! I wonder what my Garfield mug says about me!" and more for serious snoopers who really, really, want to rummage around in their friends' stuff to judge and get a leg up on them. I think the line from "whimsical" to "possibly prosecutable" was crossed when Gosling suggested searching through a friend's IMs to their significant other to get more information on them. If you want to follow through on this author's recommendations, then you might have larger psych problems than trying to get inside your friends' heads.

Besides the creepiness, the book's psychological info doesn't extend much past a Psych 101 review of the Big Five OCEAN personality traits. It doesn't have much structure, either, instead existing as a series of vignettes on psych experiments; a chapter's stated thesis at the outset will often be forgotten by its end. (The author's admitted low score on Conscientiousness is no excuse.) Moreover, Gosling's often nasty to his subjects quick to label them as "nerds" and "prigs"; for a psychologist, he doesn't seem to like people much. (All right, I don't like people much, either, but I'm a bitter, cynical LJ poster, not an author who makes people his stock-in-trade.)

Anyhow: not very enlightening, and not recommended.



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