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Fewer, Better Things: The Importance of Objects Today
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Fewer, Better Things: The Importance of Objects Today

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Curator and scholar Glenn Adamson opens Fewer, Better Things by contrasting his beloved childhood teddy bear to the smartphones and digital tablets children have today. He laments that many children and adults are losing touch with the material objects that have nurtured human development for thousands of years. The objects are still here, but we seem to care less and know ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Bloomsbury USA
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Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know that I agree with other reviewers when they come to the conclusion that this book’s title is misleading. Not with an overline that reads “The Hidden Wisdom of Objects”, nor with a perfectly adequate description of the book’s contents available right inside the cover. You know what you’re in for: various informed musings on how objects come to be, from someone who used to be director of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, among other things.

Come on, people. Were you expecting
Jami Murphy
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent study of objects. I highly recommend reading this book but maybe reading one chapter a day like a book of daily inspiration. The chapters are short and are almost like meditations on craft and the object.

Such a pleasure to read something so thoughtful and beautifully written.
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Glenn Adamson is one of the most perspicacious writers on craft today, easily in my top three. I have found all of his books worth reading, and this one will be one of the few that I plan to reread in its entirety at some point.

Just two cautions. First, this is not a terribly structured book, which may lead to its being misunderstood by those with a more restricted notion of the types of different arguments that authors can employ. This book is primarily a "meditation" in the sense of being abou
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The myth of the dumb object.

You cannot go visit someone through our screens. Individuals are reduced to a screen scroll of texts. We have tactile contact with the screen and make it our master. If an event is not digitally captured to the cloud, then it did not happen. "The only permanent anchor in our lives will be the cloud".

"The problem is that, as we come to depend on these mysterious machines more and more, we are less and less aware of our physical environment." On a famous mountain trail
Suryadarshini Campbell
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In this world of digital connection and consumer overload, Glenn Adamson encourages us to exchange materialism for materiality. A delightful collection from this curator and scholar, Adamson explores the hidden wisdom contained within objects, and the felt experience of them in our hands and our lives. Short chapters to read before bed, or in between checking your Instagram before clicking on Netflix.

David Small
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Adamson makes the case for staying in touch literally with the real world of hand wrought artifacts and objects. Everybody wants her/his kid to go to college, even if the kid (by the thousands) would be happier and better off becoming a skilled craftsperson--plumber, electrician, carpenter, potter, metal worker, an auto repair expert. It's possible a few parents would see the light if they read this book and set their kid free from meeting their deluded expectations. This book is too quiet and t ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title of this book, as other reviews point out, is a little misleading, but what it actually is is much more interesting than what it sounds like. Rather than another minimalist, shed-the-weight-of-your -stuff self-help book, it's about the importance and value of knowing how things are made, and what they are made of. Adamson does have an argument to make about how can make us better appreciate what we have, and make better choices about what we bring into our lives, but there are other rea ...more
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
The author was masterful in the way he described the importance of physical objects. I especially enjoyed the chapters on relics and the Tucumcari museum. Other chapters I completely skipped because I was not interested. For the most part, I gained wisdom on this subject because he explained the value in certain objects, ways of the past, and museums. The main takeaway I received was that you should be especially deliberate in the physical objects you acquire. Good read - I already recommended i ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent appreciation of a sleeping philosophy.

This book is an excellent introduction to the philosophy of craftsmanship. It's an informal read full of anecdotes, as well as historical citations. Adamson takes the approach that reacquainting ourselves with the origins of our stuff will consequently lead to the titular fewer, better things.

Concise chapters make this quick and enjoyable read, great for anyone who's ever thought to themselves "why do I need all this stuff?"
Gary McCallister
As a luthier, I am very interested in craft, material, and hands on building. This book explores a lot of craft concepts mostly from an old fashioned perspective. That is the author is fixated on the old crafts mostly from the British Isles. It is interesting to read about thrashing and such, but not too applicable.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not what I was expecting- the title is somewhat misleading. Nonetheless, this book was really interesting! It’s a survey of the history of material science, interlaid with stories of interesting individuals in the field. It also addresses the environmental impacts of materials and the philosophical implications of our current relationship to materials. Really interesting and unique read!
Giovanna Walker
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Academic style writing, with personal anecdotes - interesting thoughts around how we should give more attention to crafted items. That an appreciation of where things come from, how they are made, engages us. Can be said of where our food comes from too. American examples, but no less relevant. Just didn't engage me in his writing style. ...more
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has such a soothing, familiar writing style that makes it very easy to read. I enjoyed and appreciated the discussion of material intelligence, how it is characterized and more importantly how it fits in our digital lives. Well worth the read. Looking forward to his next book!
Jan 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at our material intelligence and how it is decreasing and evolving in a digital age. As a weaver, I was fascinated with different discussions of materials as well as thinking about the value of objects in our lives.
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed this book. Not about “crafting”, it’s about the craft of how objects are made, how to appreciate the different techniques used, and ultimately appreciate the item itself. I found something interesting in every chapter.
Valerie Sherman
Sep 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I identify with and support the overall message and enjoyed many of the bite-sized chapters on specific subjects, but it lacked a unifying theme and somewhat lost its center at the end.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, m
More philosophical than I can appreciate, your results may vary.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Many of us appreciate technology but realize that it needs to be combined with other kinds of knowledge, as well. For those readers, this book can be a five star rating.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful and educational book. Reading it was, in a way, like a meditation on sustainability.
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very pleasant and thoughtful read about substance and time. I enjoyed this with several cups of tea along the way.
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Good! Totally unlike anything I read typically.
Alina Yasnaya
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very thoughtful analysis of what supports our life, the real life, that is, and how little we pay attention to things that matter.
Matt Dubois
Interesting, but not as compelling as I thought it might be.
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly amazing. It's like an object itself, with all kinds of fascinating views and textures each time you turn it in your hands. ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
The title is misleading, and the content is somewhat academic and dry, boring.
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Dec 03, 2019
rated it really liked it
Dec 14, 2018
Becca Min
rated it it was ok
Sep 04, 2019
Erin Wiley
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Jul 04, 2019
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