book | Snoop

About a year ago, I ordered “Snoop” by Sam Gosling off of Amazon. It was recommended to me based on my interest in Malcolm Gladwell and Winnifred Gallagher, along with  other general psychology of design books etc. I was intrigued. It came in the mail and managed to ride carry-on (hardcover, not ideal) with me during multiple trips to Texas. However, not once did I open it. It was one of those books that I knew I would really like, so I wanted to ‘ save it ‘ for a time when I felt less mentally overloaded and could sit for some down time with a career related read. months passed…

After months of carrying it around, I finally opened it on a return trip to New York. Four short hours later, as we pulled into JFK, I was almost half way through. (a slower read since I would often go back or re-read sections I found particularly interesting). Since “The Power of Place”, I have not been able to read on a plane. Albeit with earplugs, both books have allowed me to block out even the most persistent of children’s screams.

Last  week I was able to finish the rest of the book on another flight between Austin and new York. The end of the book really started to get into the “meat” of design psychology that I am primarily interested in. I was sad when it was finished. Never the less, here are my notes:

There are interesting non-design bits like; what a handshake, email address, or car say about ones personality. Along with some simple tests and general traits of narcissism, for playing along while reading. As well as a section on politics- interior spaces and general geological locations of liberals vs. Conservatives. Stereotypes and racial influences on space and social implications are also discussed. Followed by music preferences and what they say about your personality… Explaining why music taste is often a top question on dating sites. Even dog stereotypes have a chapter.

While the entire book is not about design, there are multiple sections  for those interested in design psychology like me. The chapters on office spaces were particularly interesting to me as I am working a few corporate spaces right now. The personalization ( or lack of ) is unique to each employee and can even shed light on their overall involvement or interest in the company as a whole. However, there were the less design relevant sections that all tied back to the psychology behind what we carry in our wallets, post on Facebook, favorite vacation sits and even choice of domestic pets. All of which are interesting to anyone, not just designers or psychologists.

The chapter on hoarding is particularly interesting… Relating both to OCD, the psychology behind hoarding, vs. collecting; As well as what both types of accumulation mean to ones space.

Also of interest (short of me copying the entire book into this post) are a lot of very informational and fascinating peeks into the human psyche. Personality types, and their relationship to others as well as  their surroundings. Along with charts and tests for self analysis of personality traits. It’s fun to evaluate yourself (or others) as you read.

Other Authors/ people mentioned, that I will research to read next:

-Dan McAdams. McAdams has some very interesting studies on sociology and human interaction, including the tipping point between acquaintance and friendship.

-The presentation of self in everyday life, by Erving Goffman. How are people seen and how would they ideally like to be seen? This applies to our living environments, our person (clothing etc) as well as our virtual presence. websites etc..

-Chris Travis, True Home in round top TX. Env. psyche Co.  A builder with a ‘True Home’ work shop to” help people identify their emotional and psychological associations to places and to integrate those associations into the design of their houses”. p220

Other Interior Design related quotes that I liked:

-“Our personalities are inextricably linked to the places that surround us.” p226

-” Your enriched knowledge of how people relate to their spaces, deliberately and inadvertently, will help you investigate domains of expression that have yet to be studied scientifically.” p227

One last thing. “digital clocks and Christmas trees.” Gosling said those were ‘boring’ topics in a chapter on friends vs. acquaintances (a very interesting chapter by the way) I beg to differ about the boring comment… Well, if your friends are designers or ecologists I suppose…

While very intellectual, Snoop is an easy read with witty moments of sarcasm and humor. Well, at least I thought so…but in the words of Lamar Burton ” you don’t have to take my word for it!”

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