Another Kind of Spying

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says about You by Sam Gosling

This is one of those books that has a person looking around her living space, thinking, “I am so sadly obvious.” Yikes. Gosling, a professor of psychology at U.T.-Austin, is an expert at deciphering the clues we place right out there in clear view, in our offices, living rooms, and especially in our bedrooms. He also describes how we can learn some interesting things about people by looking at the email address they choose for themselves, and by looking at the contents of their iPod. There’s an interesting explanation here of the Big Five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Gosling explains how these factors inform many of the observations we can make about people by checking out the possessions they have chosen for themselves. This is one of those books, along with Paco Underhill’s Why We Buy, that makes me realize that people are observing things about us that we don’t even realize… and it’s kind of cool, and yes, it’s also kind of creepy.

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