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Snoop: What Your Stuff Says about You
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Snoop: What Your Stuff Says about You

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3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  2,882 ratings  ·  434 reviews
Do the things on your desk betray the thoughts on your mind? Does your dining room d cor carry clues to your character? Award-winning psychologist Sam Gosling has dispatched teams of scientific investigators to poke around bedrooms and offices, check out iPods, and peek at personal websites-to see what can be learned about us simply from looking at our belongings. What he...more
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Published May 12th 2009 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published 2001)
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Trevor
Mar 13, 2009 Trevor rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Trevor by: Jennie
Do you know that feeling you have when you have enjoyed a book and are about to write a review and think, “God, I hope that not everything I say sounds like a criticism.”

Well, I did enjoy this book, but I’ve a horrible feeling that might not come across.

If I’d been writing this book I would have started off by calling it, “So You Think You Want to be Sherlock Holmes?” Do you know how the start of every Holmes mystery has him showing off by telling his new client (or the ever corrigible Dr Watson...more
Kip
Picked this up after hearing the author on NPR. It's much more theoretical/academic than I'd hoped, and the real-life anecdotes are almost exclusively drawn from the author's academic life -- so unless you are looking for lots of rumination about dorm rooms and admissions interviews, this may not be the book for you.

Also, I can't remember the last time I felt an author LOVING himself as much Dr. Gosling does here. He really does think he's the shiz. If I ever discovered a guy texting the content...more
Christy
Aside from the arresting cover design, I was also drawn to this book because I have, at times, exhibited tendencies toward incorrigible snooping. Rifling through people's belongings is so much easier than actually talking to them, isn't it? The premise of Snoop is that people reveal their personalities through their environments: homes, offices, dorm rooms, cars, etc. For the keen observer, there is much to be learned from someone's personal space.

The problem with a lot of these pop psychology b...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
I had to return this book to the library before I was finished, but I didn't mind. It had never captured my interest. I didn't like the charts, and I wasn't interested in analyzing myself just to be able to understand the methods presented here.
I felt like the author never got to the nitty-gritty of what things meant, but kept describing rooms without then analyzing them clearly for the reader. This was not the book for me, not wanting to do the work of figuring out the charts, or the lengthy se...more
Jennifer Cooper
Jul 14, 2008 Jennifer Cooper rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Chris
The book's claim is that you can tell what people are like by looking at their stuff. This is an interesting premise, but I didn't think that the book quite lived up to it. It spent quite a bit of time exploring what it really means to know someone, and how we can categorize personality characteristics. After he's gone through this, he starts talking about whether (and how) we can judge someone's openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism from their belongings. Unf...more
Megan
I am a cluttered person. Even if I didn't live with a packrat of a husband, I would still be at least a little cluttered. I very much like surrounding myself with things like pictures, stuffed animals, little figurines and knickknacks. And I prefer it when other people's homes are cluttered, too; it feels as though life is really lived in the place, and it gives me something to look at. One of my friends, in particular, always has something new at her house, some weird quirky thing like a chess...more
Carol
This seemed like a really good fun read--how to "read" a person based on their stuff in their room. Heck, who doesn't do it already?

But it reads like an expanded, somewhat lightened academic paper. I majored in Psych and enjoy social science research, but I expected a fun Mary Roach-esque romp through entertainment science, and it wasn't.

Gosling tried to keep it light, but just threw study after study into the book. Some only tenuously connected to the overall theme. For example, in the chapte...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cheryl
Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals says that this book says that our refrigerators *don't* reveal much about us. Um, that simply can't be right.

Ok, well, the deal is that you've got to put that information in context with the other clues in their home. And you've got to believe that relating the clues to the Big Five personality traits (that psychology academics are so enamored by) is the main thing that matters.

I personally disagree with t...more
Ed
I found this book a tedious. It seemed as if the author had very little to say and filed the book with quotes from studies done by others. This must be a university publish or perish situation.
Leah
I have to say I didn't really like this book very much. I enjoyed the premise, which is that our physical trappings can give insights into our inner lives. I agree with that, but I found the presentation in this book to be off-putting.

The author seems to have tried to appeal to a wider audience by couching his arguments and hypotheses in a pseudo how-to book. All of the chapters are framed in a "how-to-be-a-snoop" style. I would have preferred just a simple, straightforward discussion of his top...more
Judy
This book was more psychological than I expected. Not being big on reading psychology I wasn't sure what I was in for, but was pleasantly surprised as indicated by my 4 star rating. My original motivation for picking up this book was to find out why someone would snoop in a friend's medicine cabinet and bedroom. Mr. Gosling never gives the answer, in fact, he encourages the reader to do the same. However, after reading his book, I'm sure it has to do with his lower level of conscientiousness. (...more
Grace
I can't make up my mind about this book because it seemed like every time I turned the page, the author stated something that piqued my curiosity or crossed that fine line between being a half way decent person and being a scumbag.

I thoroughly enjoyed the implementation and use of a new personality test, called OCEANs Five, which focused on Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. I felt this new system was able to more broadly encompass the variations in a per...more
Kater Cheek
This book is justification for the people who inspect others' bookshelves and secretly judge them. As we all pretty much knew already, you CAN find out a lot about people by looking at their stuff. The question is, how much?

That's what this book delves into. Gosling has done much of the research himself, for which I commend him, and he has plenty of tables and charts peppering the book with visual explanations of what this research has revealed. However, despite what the jacket says, the bulk of...more
Matthew
I was looking forward to reading this book, but it turned out to be a slight disappointment. I was expecting either a guide to how to snoop, or a bunch of case studies of Gosling's snooping. Instead, I ended up with too much background on personality theory, and an unsatisfying smattering of "how to snoop" mixed in with a few real-life examples. [It should be noted that the reason the personality theory stuff was annoying to me is that it's all stuff I remembered from college, when I was trying...more
Ruth
I expected a fun read from which I might learn a few interesting things.

The interesting things were few and far apart. So was the fun.
Julie
What could someone learn about your personality by checking out your bedroom? How about your iTunes playlist? Or your Facebook profile? That's what Sam Gosling sets out to discuss in Snoop.

Gosling uses our various environments, both physical and virtual, to describe our personalities according to psychology's "big five" indicators: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. He describes where many of our instincts get it right -- people are remarkably good about...more
Jenny
The first page of this book makes you think the book will be pretty riveting.

However, I found that it wasn't quite what I expected. I thought the book would go over specific bedrooms, what the researcher found, what it means about the inhabitants.

And yes, there was some of that, but the majority of the book seemed to focus on personality. Gosling spends a lot of time telling you how to tell whether a job applicant is conscientious, open, etc.

The subtitle of the book is "What your stuff says abo...more
Claire
Professor of Coolness(at least he's trying to be with this buddy-buddy writing style!) Dr. Gosling explains how people's rooms/offices/blogs/etc reflect major personality traits such as conscientiousness, openness, extroversion, and to a lesser extent, agreeableness and neuroticism. I thought this book would be a little wacko, but it's not - it's interesting, well-researched, and well-illustrated with compelling research examples. Who knew that people who have those horrible inspirational poster...more
Kim Mcnelly
Snoop, what your stuff says about you by Sam Gosling
I chose to read this book because it caught my eye when browsing iTunes offering. I struggle with EIQ and being able to read people and situations and I chose this book in hopes to broaden my knowledge of how to read people. Because it specifically talked about workplace environments and how these are arranges, I thought that maybe helpful to me at work.
My learnings from this book are:
• Taking a look at people’s personal surroundings can tell y...more
Efox
I really enjoyed this book. The central premise is that our personality (which he uses OCEAN test rather than the more static MBPTI for personality types since it measures you on a sliding scale rather than fitting into or out of a box http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/) seeps out of us in ways we are unaware. The way we decorate our spaces, but particularly our bedrooms, say a lot about who we are. He leads you through an archaeological type excavation of what our personality prints leave beh...more
Azadeh Nasrazadani
Before picking up this book, I initially giggled at a review that said:” Gosh, did you know that if someone has flowers on their desk, it means they probably like flowers? That's about the gist of this book.”

But after finishing the book, I feel like that is an unfair over-generalization of this work. As a scientist (albeit in the biological sciences), I appreciated the seemingly thorough referencing of both his and other groups’ findings. I liked that we got to see the “raw data”, but more so I...more
Deb
*How to snoop to get the scoop*

What does that bowl of please-help-yourself-anytime(!) candy on your co-worker's desk reveal about her? What do the type and placement of the pictures and knickknacks you've placed in your office say about you? What kind of personality clues can you get from looking at someone's book collection and how it is (or is not) arranged? What can your date's iPod list tell you about his interests and values? What do your e-mail address and signature communicate about your...more
Jerry Smith
Disappointing and somewhat unsatisfactory take on the trail we leave in our work and living spaces and how you can determine personality traits from examination of said spaces.

Written with a fairly heavy reliance on the author's personal experience and this grates after a while. There is a certain amount of research referenced in the text and certainly there are interesting elements. Overall however one is left with the resounding impression: "so what?".

Many of the examples bear fruit but there...more
Spoonbridge
This was a fascinating, quick read that urges the reader to indulge in their inner voyeur when encountering new people, “snooping” common household and personal objects to indulge in clues as to their personality, both “outer” and “inner.” From the types of decorations to the music we listen to, author Sam Gosling argues that everything can be a clue to a certain person’s level of extroversion or introversion, openness, even their likely political beliefs. While written engagingly, the book can...more
Liralen
I enjoyed this more for what the researchers discovered about what you *couldn't* read into a glance at someone's desk, bedroom, or bathroom, than just the things you could. I also loved that a great deal of this book isn't about "Well, if you see a seagull on the ceiling it means X about the person." It's *not* a dictionary linking things you find to things you can know about the person.

It's all about the context, how important the items are, where they're placed, and it's more about learning...more
Trena
I was hoping I would love this book. The title is brill and it's written by a guy who has a PhD and is a professor in this stuff. Aside from which he is British, lives in Austin (where I would live in a perfect world), and from the jacket cover is hot.

Alas.

It's sort of a guidebook for the layperson to learn how to discern the personality of a room's occupant based on their space. Since this was coming from an expert I expected it to be deeper than what I could figure out for myself, but it's re...more
Jean Oram
I think I was expecting this book to be one huge list of what certain things mean when you come across them in someone's home. Truly, it teaches you enough psychology that you can interpret what you come across while 'snooping' and trying to figure someone out. You learn to pick up clues to 'behaviour reside' which people naturally make and tells us about that person in the grand psychology/personality scheme of things. It also teaches the reader how to distinguish between real clues and ones th...more
Misty
I just couldn't get into this book. Maybe I've read too many of these: Phders telling you how people are both predictable and anomalistic and that reading them is intuitive and yet counterintuitive at times. After awhile I think you just get tired of learning about how our behaviors reveal our deep dark secrets or not. In fact the most appreciated information I got from "Snoop" was on the inside of the back jacket sleeve. I already know that people reveal things about themselves in a million way...more
Katherine
This book seems to get a lot of negative/lukewarm reviews on GoodReads, so I'm tossing my hat in the ring.

First of all, it is an interesting and engaging read. Definitely fun stuff. Gosling is an intelligent, clever writer. I blew through this book in three sittings. It does have some intriguing observations about people and their stuff, BUT it's nothing really all that earth-shattering.

My biggest complaint is that Gosling uses the "Big Five" model of personality throughout the entire book, as...more
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“Just because something makes sense after the fact doesn't mean it was obvious all along.” 3 likes
“Much of the stuff we gather about us and the environments we create are there not to send messages about our identities but specifically to manage our emotions and thoughts.” 0 likes
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