No toaster is an island. In fact, as Harvey Molotch demonstrates in this sparkling tour of how things are created, the everyday objects of our life are a delicate and clever intermingling of design, timing and functionality that mirrors contemporary life.
"Where Stuff Comes From" is about paper clips, post-its, bathtubs, cars and all the other stuff in our lives. It is about how these items were imagined into existence and made a part of the American material culture. From the designer to the manufacturer to the business owner to the consumer, Molotch guides us through the worlds of technology, design, corporate culture and popular culture, giving us a sense of how and why we want stuff. He rolls up his sleeves and goes behind the scenes at trade shows and in design studios to speak with the product-makers who gave us the Nike swoosh and Volkswagen's resurrected Beetle.
A witty and surprising voyage into the aesthetic unconscious of the consumer, "Where Stuff Comes From" probes the meaning of the objects in our lives and what our possessions say about us. Ultimately, Molotch opens a fascinating window into our economy, society and culture by unlocking the complex strategies behind simple things.
"Successful products must fit into the whole panoply of life and society. The whole story can only be told by someone with a grand view of things, who sees both the trees of design and manufacturing and the forest of the social and political forces upon all of us. Three cheers for Harvey Molotch--this is a great book.
-Donald A. Norman, author of "The Design of Everyday Things
"Manages to answer questions that have puzzled me for a lifetime. On nearly every page is some absolutely fascinating bit of useless information."