Book Details

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I Want That!

How We All Became Shoppers


About the Book

Shopping has a lot in common with sex.
Just about everybody does it.
Some people brag about how well they do it.
Some keep it a secret.
And both provide ample opportunities
to make foolish choices.

Choosing and using objects is a primal human activity, and I Want That! is nothing less than a portrait of humanity as the species that shops. It explores the history of acquisition -- finding, choosing, spending -- from our amber-coveting Neolithic forebears to Renaissance nobles who outfitted themselves for power to twenty-first-century bargain hunters looking for a good buy on eBay. I Want That! explores the minds of shoppers in the quest to nourish and feed fantasies, to define individuality, to provide for family, and to satisfy the needs for celebration, power, and choice -- all of which lead us to malls, boutiques, websites, and superstores.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“I Want That! raises questions about consumption, material goods, trends, cultural shapers, markets, choice, desire and guilt, and makes one really think about the state of perverse pleasure and desire for reward that Thomas Hine terms the “buyosphere.” Shop till you drop, or consume only till noon? The ultimate rewards of our crazy lives of perpetual work, the evanescent pleasure of consuming, and our over-informative material culture with its excrescence of choice, are all discussed, clearly, concisely, and cogently. I Want This Book! —Karim Rashid, Industrial Designer

“A witty and informal history of the way people shop. Casual and Cheerful, with interesting nuggets scattered about.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A choice morsel to consider while foraging on your next hunter-gatherer expedition.” —Dallas Morning News

“A fun book to read.” —St. Petersburg Times

“I Want That![s] us understand an activity that is fraught with cultural implications. ” —New York Times

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780060959838
  • ISBN 10: 0060959835
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 10/14/2003
  • Pages: 240
  • List Price: 18.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: HISTORY / General
  • BISAC2: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
  • BISAC3: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture

I Want That! by Thomas Hine

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