A colleague gave me this book–she herself never finished it, but thought I might like it. This was an unusual book for me…I’d heard of it, but it wasn’t on my list of books to read. The bottom line for me was that it was a thought provoking read–it’s always good to venture into domains of knowledge that less accessible to me, and that’s what this book did for me.
The basic premise of the book is that style, or design, has a value all it’s own. Certainly, style is enhanced by other factors, but Postrel’s case is that style is good for style’s sake and that other factors are made better by the presence of style (read: good design). Postrel is an excellent writer and makes her case very clearly. She’s articulate and concise, though sometimes I felt like she was beating me over the head with her thesis. I mean, how many different ways can you say this stuff? More than I would’ve imagined. She pulls historical examples, as well as more recent ones. She also takes the time to disect critics of style/design and put them in their place.
This book didn’t really shake me to my core. I gained a better (more conscious) understanding of why I like good design and learned about the arguments for why good design is critical. Other than that, I’m generally unmoved.