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Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing + The Marketing of Culture

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  454 ratings  ·  48 reviews
From John Seabrook, one of our most incisive and amusing cultural critics, comes Nobrow, a fascinatingly original look at the radical convergence of marketing and culture.

In the old days, highbrow was elite and unique and lowbrow was commercial and mass-produced. Those distinctions have been eradicated by a new cultural landscape where “good” means popular, where artists s
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 6th 2001 by Vintage (first published February 15th 2000)
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Oct 29, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating, utterly fascinating, if you're interested in: John Seabrook; John Seabrook's family; the sophistication of John Seabrook and his family; the old wealth (deserved, of course) of John Seabrook's family; did I, John Seabrook, mention that I went to Princeton; and, of course, John Seabrook.

If you're not interested in those things, this book, which is purportedly about the melding of high and low culture but which is actually about, yes, you guessed it, John Seabrook, is pretty much a w
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Постмоденізм стер лінію між хайброу і лоуброу культурою. Це я знав. А ось що лінія між культурою і маркетингом також поступово щезає - ні. Дуже проникливе і захопливе дослідження феномену ноуброу — культури ні високої, ні низької, ні в строгому сенсі "культури", ні в строгому сенсі "реклами".

Автор — чудовий оповідач, розумний і ерудований, пише так, що ти непомітно солідаризуєшся з описаним досвідом. Він добре тримає баланс між зовнішньою, описовою інформацією, смисловою рефлексією і репрезентац
Mariya  Bahareva
Jun 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Я думала, что это будет действительно интересная книга, которая полноценно описывает явление, типа «Бобо в раю», а это оказалась ПОЛНАЯ ХУЕТА. В послесловии автор, говоря о продвижении своей книги, как раз ноет, что «Бобо» продается гораздо лучше — чувак, проблема не в продвижении, а в том, что она и правда гораздо лучше.
Александр Шушпанов
Говорят, что эта книга в магазинах появляется или в разделе культурологии, или в разделе маркетинга. Я нашёл её в разделе издательства рядом с "Бобо в раю" (о ней я уже говорил ранее) и считаю, что два предыдущих способа классификации в принципе неверны.
А с "Бобо" книга в некоторых деталях созвучна и прекрасно дополнит её парой ярких примеров.

Нет, культурологическая вылазка в нью-йоркские 90-е (некоторыми отголосками и редакционной политикой телеканала "эмптиви" посетившие и нас) присутствует. З
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
Meh. It was a quick and engrossing read, mostly because it was enjoyable to read about what happens at the New Yorker and what David Geffen's house looks like. I basically skipped over the word "Nobrow" whenever I saw it because by the end I still didn't really get what he meant. Okay, high culture and low culture meet in the middle. So what? The actual cultural analysis seemed very naive and rudimentary. That said, seems like Seabrook got to talk to a lot of cool people during his career as a w ...more
Christopher (Donut)
Of course it's been years since I read it, but this is the book which describes an interview for a job at MTV:

Do you know what "fly" means?

Yes. It means "cool."

Do you know what "dope" means?

Yes. It means "cool."

etc etc

Also, reading Martin Amis reminded me of the slight amount of "dish" on Tina Brown in here.
Sona Arsenyan
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Замечательная книга. Живой разговор с человеком, который постарше, умнее, опытнее, но в то же время не так далек от моего поколения, как, например, мои родители, которые выросли в совершенно другом мире - Советских социалистических реалий. Для мамы рваные джинсы - глупость, для меня - феномен, который интересно изучать, ведь это часть моей жизни. Моей, не маминой. Точно так же для Сибрука "Звёздные войны" не пустой звук, а ноубрау - возможность отказаться от лживых разделение на категории высоко ...more
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not the book I was expecting. More of just a compilation of previous interviews and memories about them, and less of a sociological look at the role of high culture and class in America. I wanted something more serious and less of a reminiscence from a wealthy New Yorker reporting on other wealthy New Yorkers and their friends elsewhere. I can see why it got good blurbs; the author moved in these overly self-referential circles. That said, it is a fairly interesting look into the subjects of his ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Its main flaw is in succumbing to many of the very cultural trappings it seeks to bring to our attention. Meaning, if course, you must be perceptive enough to distill and universalize wisdom from page after page of very narrowly-constructed framework (read: self-aggrandizing "LOOK AT ME I CAME FROM OLD MONEY AND WORK FOR THE NEWWW YOUUUURKAHH" bloat. For someone looking to embrace a world without high-low culture, it sure reads a lot like a little orphan boy desperately trying to assert his plac ...more
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
чудесна, і, чомусь мені так відчувається, пішохідно-заціпеніла, подорож вулицями яскравої реклами, блискучих вітрин, майже епілептичного піксельного шалу, звуків, кольорів, текстур, облич, голосів, тканин, запахів - усього того шуму, який, здається, навіки лишає спокій і тишу потертого журналістського стола в припалому пилом забутому, вицвілому минулому. книга, яка може викликати майже instant drooling і водночас гіркоту майже instant прочитання без можливості розтягнути задоволення. книга, яка ...more
Mar 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
A wonderful historical and personal jaunt through the marketing highbrow culture and how it slowly evolved into his term..."nobrow". A very telling and insightful book told loosely through the story of evolution of the New Yorker.

If you are interested in learning about how and when 200 dollar torn jeans became popular and how marketing has taken underground movements and popularized them then this is the book for you. It also examines the reverse, how high culture has been dummed down in some c
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Culture is marketing, marketing is culture. I'm a big fan of The New Yorker, the magazine where you can read articles about Trent Reznor, Oliver Sucks and criticism of new G.O.P. initiatives in a single issue. John Seabrook's thoughts about the phenomenon of nobrow culture as a result of commercialization of taste are entertaining and informative. I would prefer more insights from The New Yorker editorial process though. P.S. Russian translation is awful.
Dmitriy Podluzny
Легкое чтение побуждающее задуматься о современной культуре. Автор ни на что не претендует, он просто рассказывает свою историю. Немного об Америке, немного о семье, немного о работе.

Нужно было бы ее прочитать лет пятнадцать назад, но хорошо хоть можно прочитать сейчас.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Довольно интересно о том, как и когда устарело аристократическое разделение культуры на высокую и низкую, какой эффект произвели «Звёздные войны» и MTV, как поменялись журналы. Много личных историй и много сумбура, к концу перестаёшь уже следить за темой.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
—and i don't say this lightly—lose your allusion
Jan 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
An interesting book, well-written in a smooth style that demonstrates why Seabrook is a staff writer for The New Yorker. This was actually a memoir pinned to a framework of musings on culture, and was significantly less structured and systemic that I was expecting given the subtitle. Perhaps it's appropriate that the marketing for this book in particular mistook well-developed style for substance.

Still, I'm not sorry to have spent time reading this. Seabrook's theses regarding the dissolution of
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Mostly, too rambling, like a witty journal entry when I wanted Seabrook to make his points, lay down his bottom lines. The best part was his tracking of the evolution of The New Yorker magazine editors, and pages 169 and 170 in the chapter "Sunday in Soho," in which he puts into words something we're all familiar with, an aspect of Lasch's "culture of narcissism."

At a gallery showing new media work, he tries to judge it from high and low brow categories, which doesn't work. He discovers that "th
Carrie Andersen
Jan 10, 2010 rated it liked it
I was first assigned to read excerpts from this for a class, a few lectures focusing on the distinctions between highbrow and lowbrow culture in America. I enjoyed those, so decided to read the full book.

I think it goes without saying that Seabrook's writing style is relatively easy to enjoy. His anecdotes are witty and informative, colored with just enough personal experience to make these case studies points on an autobiographical trek through cultural consumption.

But they are, fundamentally,
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Bought this on a whim from a secondhand shop and thus went in with no expectations. So having expected a work on sociology I was surprised to find this was just as much memoir, and that the anecdotal evidence that prompted the philosophical meanderings were all born of Seabrook's life experiences, especially as a writer for The New Yorker. His position at said magazine at a critical time in its rebirth as a Tina Brown vehicle drives much of the narrative, and it's definitely a pretty fascinating ...more
Sep 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: marketers of culture, and culturers or marketing
yes I did just make up the word culturers...

I liked it, reminded me of a lot of the stuff we talked about in this History of American Consumption class I took. Seabrook comes off as an elitist prick sometimes (esp in the chapter about his father's closest...who gives a fuck about how many jackets your dad has, really) but it is interesting and he makes a lot of good points that make sense. I think if I did not live in New York I would have a harder time understanding some of his examples since t
Feb 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Students of the culture of the New Yorker Magazine
Marginally better than Gladwell's Blink, in that it held me through to the end. But I also came away wondering if the Author really had anything to say about anything, or if he was just writing to be a professional writer like dear old dad. Certainly it is interesting to note how the rich hide amongst everybody else, but he never really wants to talk about the reasons why, other than a vague sense of cultural anxiety.

This book is so 20 seasons ago.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
This book is god-awful. First of all, it is way too long - it it like a 300 page essay that could VERY easily be shortened. While it did have some interesting insights on things like Star Wars, it was very repetative in everything it said, and most of the chapters made no sense at all to me. After reading it, I can honestly say that I still have no idea what it is about. Please do not read this book unless you wish to torture yourself.
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookshelf, nonfiction
Interesting....reading it 12 years after it was published makes it seem like a prequel to what came, is coming. Funny that Ben Kweller is still around while Hanson really isn't. At the end he finally gets to the point or realizes the obvious: it is all quite a high-brow issue. You cant know a decline or diminishing in tastes without having some elitist tastes yourself.
Sep 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for a class, and thought it was a very interesting look at how what used to be highbrow lost its distinction as highbrow once marketing took over and the highbrow products were made available to everywhere. As a result, what was high-brow became low-brow, and what was low-brow became high-brow, leaving us in a state of "no-brow".
Jun 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: yes!
Shelves: readandrecommend
I read this book for a class I'm taking~ The rhetoric of pop culture. I really enjoyed this book. It's a very insightful tale about marketing and culture in American culture. Despite having read it for class and being of the subject of marketing and culture, this was a very interesting read and I could hardly put it down.
Oct 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
This is an interesting, anecdotal look at one writer's experience with trends and advertising in the magazine industry. I was hoping for something a bit more scholarship than memoir, but that's my fault for not reading the "about the author" blurb before I purchased. It isn't particularly substantive, and redundant in places, but I found it entertaining nonetheless.
Jessica Robinson
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Enjoyable but mostly pointless. I'm fascinated by marketing but this is really a clever, disjointed memoir pretending to be an analysis of class, culture, and marketing. I learned a bit about Seabrook and that's honestly enough for me but you're not going to learn anything new.
Jun 26, 2008 rated it liked it
CooooooOOOl. Dude writes for the big magazines. Has a way with words if he is a bit too into some bullshit. Learned where the usage of Culture/Kulture in the English language comes from thanks to this book.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Has some pretty interesting comments about the mythos of the artist as 'a special being,' equating it with a sort of value-added aspect of art when art subsumed into the market. A bit too anecdotal, but some chewable ideas in there.
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John Seabrook has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1993. The author of several books including Nobrow, he has taught narrative nonfiction writing at Princeton University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.