Monday, May 26, 2014

BOOK NOTES: Why Men Marry Bitches - Chapter 7

Please refer to introductory comments and definitions of terms in Chapter 1 Notes


Getting a Ring on the Finger That He's Wrapped Around


69)  Relationship Principle 69:  You have a much better chance of getting engaged when a man doesn't feel pressured into it.


- The bitch doesn't pout.  She doesn't hint.  She doesn't nag.  For a whole year, there is none of that.  She goes out, has fun, and doesn't tip her hand or discuss commitment.  Why?  Because a year or so later, he is attached.  He is powerfully hooked.  He finds her desirable to be around.  She doesn't represent pressure or an obligation.

70)  Relationship Principle 70:  The bitch won't allow herself to be with a man who is biding his time until something better comes along. 


- This directly relates to why men marry bitches.  A bitch has strength of conviction.  As painful as it is, as afraid as she might feel--she will leave if she doesn't get what she wants.  And guess what? That's precisely why she gets what she wants.

- That said, you can't give him an ultimatum.

- You should however, say something like this:
"We've been going out for a year.  I love you and think you are wonderful.  And I accept things as they are.   But I'd like a little bit more from a relationship than what we have right now and this doesn't really seem to be progressing."  (Then, be silent.)

71)  Relationship Principle 71: The bitch does not hint about marriage or ask, "Where is this going?"  Instead, she hints about the removal of herself from the relationship.  The word "marriage" never even comes up.


- If he is still not telling you he wants the relationship to move forward, you may want to consider telling him the following:

"We've had a wonderful time.  And I don't regret the time we've spent together.  I think the world of you.  But obviously we want different things, so we need to do the right thing.  I love you and I want you to be happy, I want you to have what you are looking for also.  I think it's time for us to move on."

- Simply emphasize what you want, and then appear strong and mature.  [No crying, guilt trips, or begging.]  If you are calm, it scares a man far more, because then he knows it's not a hormone-driven decision.  You've based it on what he's offering, who he is, and what he has shown you he is willing to contribute.  And you don't intend to settle because you don't see yourself as desperate. This raises your stock.

- To recap: He doesn't get an ultimatum, or pressure. You are mature, open, honest, and nonjudgmental.  You aren't expressing anger.  You've simply said, "You are fun, neat, and cool, and I love you, but before we waste any more of each other's time, we need to get this thing figured out."

- When you are willing to stand on your principles even though it might be painful or it might cost you something, you become the ultimate warrior.

- This is their ultimate dream girl--a feminine woman who is not ruled by emotions and insecurity.

- There is a quiet dignity about certain women.  [HINT:  Be one of those women!]

- Her subdued self-worth and faith in herself is the true essence of what makes her a bitch. 

- "At the end of the day, your character and the willingness to stand by your convictions are all he can really rely on.  He knows that the wrong woman can ruin him emotionally and financially.  When a bitch stands up for what she believes in a decent and honest way, it brings all his emotions to the surface.

72)  Relationship Principle 72:  When you stand up for yourself in a dignified, feminine, and womanly way, you can get anything you want from a man.  When you place a high value on yourself in the right way, so will he. 


- Whereas women fall in love in a man's presence, men tend to realize they are in love in a woman's absence.  And sometimes all he needs is a little time to make that realization.

- This is precisely what a bitch brings to a relationship that an insecure "nice girl" does not: a joy of life.  [She'll be happy and live a great life whether she's married or single.]

73)  Relationship Principle 73:  In life, half of the battle has to do with the lens you choose to see yourself through. Your fulfillment hinges on whether you see yourself through a positive lens of a negative one. 


- If you don't feel like you are "enough" without a husband, you will not feel like you are enough with a husband.  If you see yourself through a negative lens, you will tell yourself things like, "What's wrong with me? All my friends are married except me."  Being single doesn't make you "less than" any more than marriage is a guarantee for happiness.  If that were the case, half the marriages wouldn't end in divorce.

- A man holds out for a strong, spirited woman who knows who she is.  He doesn't want to feel like he's adopting an orphan or taking in a needy child.

- So don't think about "happy endings," thing about a happy beginning.  And start that today, regardless of your marital status. 

- Men know that if a woman isn't happy with herself, he will become the recipient of her disillusionment and resentment. This is why men are instinctively drawn to a woman who is happy with him or without him.  It's why men marry bitches: A guy will be less likely to worry about losing his freedom to a woman who doesn't appear to need him to make her happy.

74)  Relationship Principle 74:  Men rarely take it as a compliment when you bend over backward or become too agreeable.  Men want to feel special, and when you are too nice he feels ordinary, because he assumes you'd acquiesce and become a yes-person with any man. 


- Deep down, men don't find it emotionally fulfilling to be in a relationship that makes him feel as if he's being idolized by an underling.

75)  Relationship Principle 75:  He doesn't marry a woman who puts him on a throne.  He marries a woman who is his equal...that special woman whom he can share all of life's special moments with. 


- A man wants to feel like he is your hero.  Men need to feel validated.  He wants to feel that you admire him, look up to him, and that he is the protective one in the relationship.  But he wants that from a self-respecting woman who has a backbone and who first and foremost loves herself. 

Book Reviews, Notes, Blogs, and much, much more at

BOOK NOTES: Why Men Marry Bitches - Chapter 6

Please refer to introductory comments and definitions of terms in Chapter 1 Notes


Stolen Secrets-All the Highly Classified Things Men Will Share Only in the Company of Other Men

64)  Relationship Principle 64:  Set your own timelines and limits, and leave if it's time to get out.  Until then, don't let him know about your timelines or deal breakers. Then keep your eyes open and watch how he manages his 50 percent of the relationship.  Then you'll get the real deal much quicker.

"As a woman, your best asset is to be unpredictable."

65)  Relationship Principle 65:  A guy who really thinks you could be "the one" will say very little about marriage.  He'll be much more reserved, and will slowly open up over the course of several months, because he won't want to scare you off.

66)  Relationship Principle 66:  The more control you have over yourself, the more of a hold you will have on his heart.

-"A person with self-control is a person who can get up and leave at any time."

 - According to one man:  "No guy wants to be sucked into becoming a meal ticket.  If you are a meal ticket, you feel cheap.  Then you have resentment that begins to grow, and you start to feel that all women can't be trusted."

67)  Relationship Principle 67:  If a man really cares, he feels vulnerable.  That's when he needs a protective shield the most and that's when he'll often behave more coolly.

-"If you always explore new things, and he can see you are growing independently, he will respect you.  There's nothing more attractive than a woman who is passionate about her own life and discovers new things.  He'll work to be a part of that, and he'll work to keep himself just as interesting."

68)  Relationship Principle 68:   Whenever boredom sets in, simply break the routine.  As soon as the routine changes, it will pique his interest and the relationship will become interesting again. 


-"When he truly cares, you won't get the on-again, off-again intermittent contact.  You'll have continuous access and you'll know all aspects of his life."


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BOOK NOTES: Why Men Marry Bitches - Chapter 5

Please refer to introductory comments and definitions of terms in Chapter 1 Notes


Why Financial Independence makes you Desirable as a Wife


51)  Relationship Principle 51:  When he's dating you, he'll constantly be on guard and watching to discern, "Does she like me for who I am? Or for what I can provide?"

52)  Relationship Principle 52:  When a man sees you are focused on your own dreams or on elevating yourself, he feels safer marrying you because he doesn't worry about what you'll be trying to take away from him.


-"Competence is the thing that is most attractive" - Will Smith

53)  Relationship Principle 53:  Men don't judge how much money you have.  They notice how you budget what you do have.

54)  Relationship Principle 54:  Men admire women who want to elevate themselves and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and fear women who are social climbers at a man's expense. 


- "Women are socialized to believe that they have a shelf life, sexually.  When I [Sherry Argov] spoke with men I was surprised to hear most men say that this was a myth.  If a woman takes care of herself, she can be sexy in her thirties, forties, fifties, and beyond. There is no "shelf life" for marriage."

- According to men, what makes a woman less desirable is the insecurity surrounding her sexuality, not the lack of it. Or, when a woman thinks the only thing she has to offer is sex...If that's all she has to offer, if she isn't competent, spicy, and independent, that's what will make her less desirable.

- The woman who can get up and leave at any time is the one who can put him in check.

55)  Relationship Principle 55:  He doesn't want to marry a helpless little girl whom he will have to take care of.


- When he sees that a woman can make good decisions in her own life, he will instantly feel closer to her.  That's the woman he'll take with him to pick out a starter home, new carpet, and new furniture.  She becomes an asset.

56)  Relationship Principle 56:  For a man, the words "respect" and "trust" are interchangeable.  If he doesn't respect you, he will not trust you.  And without trust, he will always keep you at arm's length.

"There are two things people want more than sex and money...recognition and praise."

57)  Relationship Principle 57:  When he gives you something, always acknowledge the kindness behind the gesture, not the material item itself.  Just like women can't get too many compliments, a man can't get too much appreciation for his contribution.

58)  Relationship Principle 58:  A man's favorite word is appreciate. He wants more than anything to feel revered, and valued by a woman.   When she's appreciative, it motivates him to give her the world.

59)  Relationship Principle 59:  A man will not be thinking about how much he spends on you if he believes you could be "the one."  In the beginning, he will be happy to pick up the tab.

60)  Relationship Principle 60:  A man who is financially comfortable but still very stingy doesn't want to give--anything. He won't want to be inconvenienced with his time, with sharing a dresser--much less a home or a life together.

61)  Relationship Principle 61:  When you move into someone else's place, you don't just give up your personal space and belongings.   More important, nearly always you also lose your feeling of independence.

62)  Relationship Principle 62:  If marriage is extremely important to you and you are ready to set a wedding date, don't move in unless you have a ring and a date.

"Whenever I [Sherry Argov] spoke with men about what they were looking for in a wife...what I heard time and time again was, 'I want someone I can trust and count on'."

63)  Relationship Principle 63:  The biggest turn-on for a man is knowing that he is in love with a woman he can really count on, who will really be there for him. 


Book Reviews, Notes, Blogs, and much, much more at


BOOK NOTES: Why Men Marry Bitches - Chapter 4

Please refer to introductory comments and definitions of terms in Chapter 1 Notes


Why Men Deliberately Annoy Women to Figure Out Where They Stand

39)  Relationship Principle 39:  When a woman reacts emotionally, men get three things:  attention, control, and the feeling of importance.

40)  Relationship Principle 40:  When you are easily manipulated, he will assume he doesn't have to give as much in the way of commitment in order to keep you there.

41)  Relationship Principle 41:  The best way to set limits with a guy when he's testing you is by controlling the ebb and flow of your attention.   An emotional reaction is always a reward, even if it's negative attention.

- There's a fine line between testing and disrespect. There is no such thing as a "little bit" of disrespect, because when a man sees that you'll accept a little, it entices him to even greater audacity.  To avoid playing into his hands, you'll have to be a bitch with your actions, not your words.

42)  Relationship Principle 42: Men hear what they see.

- "Sometimes the best way to throw a punch is to take a step back."

43)  Relationship Principle 43:  When a man tries to make you jealous, it rarely has anything to do with his desire for someone else.  When you are upset he gets the reassurance that you care.

-Apply the Hollywood axiom:  "No audience, no show."  If you don't provide a reaction, you won't encourage and reinforce the bad behavior.

-When he's trying to make you jealous, he wants to see who is behind the wheel.

-If you don't react, the button has been permanently disconnected and is no longer fun to push.

44)  Relationship Principle 44: Once you start doing the same thing he was doing, suddenly, the bad behavior will magically disappear.

- If you put the shoe on the other foot, does it mean you were "playing games"?  Absolutely not.  It was his game to begin with.  He dragged you into it.

- He should feel desired.  He should feel valued, appreciated, and adored.  Just not after he behaves badly; otherwise you'll create a monster.

45)  Relationship Principle 45: When a man doesn't call, a bunch of scenarios will typically run through a woman's mind.  Similarly, his imagination will run wild when he doesn't hear from you.

- [When he comes home late] and you aren't even there for his grand entrance, it's no fun anymore.

46)  Relationship Principle 46:  The more relational and calm you remain, the more emotional he will become.

47)  Relationship Principle 47:  To a man, it is totally inappropriate to be emotional when talking about something important.  When you speak calmly, he assumes it's much more important.

- A way to avert a fight is to call him out in one sentence or less.

- Whenever you take the high road, others are quicker to feel low.

- According to one man:  "You want a woman you'll joke around and be your partner in crime.  No guy wants a yes-girl." 

- He's looking to see if you'll be able to stand up for yourself without falling apart. If you can give it right back, he'll see you as a trusted partner.

48)  Relationship Principle 48:  Many men reduce women to a set of givens.  A man relies on the fact that most women are emotional and that he'll be able to push your emotional buttons once he finds out where they are.  When he can't, he'll often crumble and become more vulnerable in the relationship.

- Men assume women simply cannot be analytical. 

- A lot of women don't realize that showing you have a brain and a mind of your own is often the way to win his trust and respect.

49)  Relationship Principle 49:  He is testing to see if you believe in yourself. He wants to know who is at the controls. When you aren't easily shaken he sees "this one can't be manipulated."

Before he becomes your knight in shining armor he wants to know, "Is she even worth defending?"

50)  Relationship Principle 50:  To encourage the right behavior, state what you want, then give him the solution.  Show him how he can be your hero.

[When you need to talk] You will get his immediate attention when you use non-emotional words (which he is completely unprepared for).

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BOOK NOTES: Why Men Marry Bitches - Chapter 3

Please refer to introductory comments and definitions of terms in Chapter 1 Notes

CHAPTER 3:  The Sun Rises and Sets in his Boxer Shorts

How to Start a Fire in Him That He Can't Put Out

29)  Relationship Principle 29:  Women are constantly being told amazing sex will win a man's heart.  This is false.  Just because a man sleeps with you doesn't mean he cares about you.  Nor will good sex make him care about you.

30)  Relationship Principle 30:  The way to weed out the contenders from the pretenders is to asses their attitude about waiting for sex.  If he likes you, he'll be happy just being in your company.

31)  Relationship Principle 31:  The purpose of waiting is not just to seem classier.  You also want to give yourself time to observe him and find out key facts about him.

32)  Relationship Principle 32:   Who he tells you he is in the beginning has very little to do with how he will treat you.  If there's sex involved, he'll promise you things you've never even heard of.

-"The way men infer that you are loose is not by what you say.  They judge by how sophisticated your technique is the first time you are intimate."

-"A woman who behaves more coolly and casually after sex is the exact opposite of what he is used to experiencing. If a guy doesn't call you after he's been having crazy sex with you, it's because he is expecting a needy reaction."

33)  Relationship Principle 33: When you aren't mind-blown after sex, and you continue to focus on your own life, he'll automatically start looking at you differently. Then he'll start wanting to secure a relationship with you.

34)  Relationship Principle 34:  After sex, behave as if the relationship is still new.

-Men respect anything that they have to invest effort into.

35)  Relationship Principle 35:  Men are intrigued by anything they do not completely control.

-When you don't chase him, he'll come looking for "his girl."

36)  Relationship Principle 36:  When you maintain a bit of privacy and he has to wonder a little where you are, you are stimulating his imagination. The second he can't get a hold of you he'll send out an APB or "all points bulletin" to find you.

37)  Relationship Principle 37:  To a man, a relationship without sex represents a relationship with no love, no affection, and no emotional connection.

38)  Relationship Principle 38:  Always preserve the mystery. Keep the sex sporadic and unpredictable. It makes it much more intense for the man.


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BOOK NOTES: Why Men Marry Bitches - Chapter 2

BEFORE YOU READ:  Please refer to introductory comments and definitions of terms in Chapter 1 Notes.  

CHAPTER 2:  Make Him Chase You...Until You Catch Him

How to Convince Him Commitment Was His Idea

12)  Relationship Principle 12:  Men like to be curious.  They like to feel that there's more to the story than what they already know.

- Deep down men want to be chivalrous.  Just like a woman's instinct is to please, a man's instinct is to pursue.

- If he knows he has you, it's unlikely you will engender that overwhelming feeling of attraction that is necessary for him to want to marry you.

13)  Relationship Principle 13:  The mental challenge is not, "Can I get her to sleep with me?"  The mental challenge is, "Can I get and keep her attention?"

- When it comes to securing a man's interest in commitment, your best strategy is to behave as if you like him, but aren't that interested in locking him down.  Appear happy to see him, just don't assume the role of his girlfriend.  When you don't step into that role, he'll lower his guard and begin to pursue you.

14)  Relationship Principle 14:  Your power gets lost the minute you start asking, "Where do I stand?"  Because what you've just told him is that the terms of the relationship are now his to dictate.

15)  Relationship Principle 15:  As soon as a man has his guard up, he will not fall in love or get attached.  The only way he'll get attached is if you lower his guard first.

16)  Relationship Principle 16:  When a woman rushes in too quickly, a man will assume she is in love with a "fantasy" or that idea of having a relationship.  But if he has to slowly win her over, incrementally, he'll think she's falling in love with who he is.

17)  Relationship Principle 17:  Don't even mention the word "commitment."  That's the whole trick. The less you say about it, the close you are to getting one.

18)  Relationship Principle 18:  If he has no guarantees, becomes attached, and thinks you could be gone at any time, that's when he'll cherish the idea of securing a relationship.

19)  Relationship Principle 19:  There's nothing more prized to a man than something he had to wait for, work for, or struggle a lit bit to get.

20)  Relationship Principle 20:  As soon as a woman hands a man a more serious commitment on a silver platter, he'll be reluctant to take it.

21)  Relationship Principle 21:  Don't be so blunt, obvious, or available that you come across as having already made up your mind about the guy.

22)  Relationship Principle 22: You want to figure out his pattern, but don't let him figure out yours.

23)  Relationship Principle 23:   Men are far more smitten when they feel like they are "stealing" your time away from something else you could have been doing.


- The fact that you don't want to intrude [for example, in phone conversations keep it light an happy] will draw him in a very, very big way.  At the onset, that's your best asset--more than sex, and more than beauty.

24)  Relationship Principle 24:  When a woman makes a man feel he's trusted, it makes him feel strong and worthy. It makes him want to be honorable and do the right thing.

25)  Relationship Principle 25:  Men like rules and they like guidelines.  If there's something you don't like, he'll respect you for voicing it.  He wants to know what the "do's and don't's" are.

26)  Relationship Principle 26:  Men love knowing there's a small part of you that they can't get to.

27)  Relationship Principle 27:  Men read a lot into where you've been by how dolled up you are when you get home.  If you are dolled up and you weren't with him, it will keep him wondering a little.

- The most desirable characteristic he can have in a wife [is]:  You are whole within yourself, and you don't need him to validate your self-worth.

28)  Relationship Principle 28:  The magic formula is to give a little...and then pull back.  Give a little...and then pull back.

- If you keep moving, he'll keep chasing after you.

Book Reviews, Notes, Blogs, and much, much more at

BOOK NOTES: Why Men Marry Bitches - Chapter 1

Read This First:

Allow me to begin with a standard disclaimer.  For years, I've seen Sherry Argov's book in stores and have been curious about it.  I've even had friends recommend it, however, the title was so incredibly off-putting to me, I could never bring myself to buy the book or read it for that matter.  However, a couple weeks ago, I saw it lying around in my neighbor's apartment and she insisted I take it home and give it a read, and I'm so glad I did!  What I discovered when I opened the first page, was that the term "bitch" is not meant to be derogatory, nor does it refer to a distasteful or disrespectful woman.  On the contrary, Sherry Argov uses the term to describe a woman who shows respect for herself and respect for others.  (However, "Why Men Marry Upstanding Women" would probably not have become a bestseller.)  So before we delve into each chapter, like good researchers, let's start by defining our terms and our methodology.  According to the author, the axioms outlined in this book are derived from interviews with hundreds of men of all ages, marital status, and walks of life.

Definition of Terms:

According to the author, the word "bitch" stands for Babe In Total Control of Herself, and this is probably the best definition of how the term is used in the context of the book.  Argov says "bitch" is used to describe a strong woman who has her own identity and is secure with who she is.  

She is plenty happy giving her man space because she enjoys having hers. She is clear about what she will or will not accept. She'll back away at the slightest whiff of disrespect, and this makes her more exciting to a man, not less. That is the woman he dreams of marrying.  (xvi)

Men observe this. They watch woman act like marriage is the be all and end all and they make a mental note. It only confirms that he's always known: marriage doesn't necessarily mean she's in love with him. Some men feel that the woman is in love with the wedding or what marriage represents. He's just there to fill a position. (xvi-xvii)

Argov goes on to say: 
She's not a bitch because she's having a bad day. She's a bitch because she's a principled person who lives by her values. Standing up for yourself is one part of the equation. Being a stand-up person is the other part.  (168)

CHAPTER 1:  Throwing out the Rulebook

Why a Strong Woman Wins His Heart


1)  Relationship Principle 1:  In romance, there's nothing more attractive to a man than a woman who has dignity and pride in who she is.

- When you are happy, you are sexy.
- The attribute men respect most: a backbone.

2)  Relationship Principle 2:  He marries the woman who won't lay down like linoleum.

3)  Relationship Principal 3:  He doesn't marry a woman who is perfect. He marries a woman who is interesting.

4)  Relationship Principal 4:  When a woman is trying to hard, a man will usually test to see how hard she's willing to work for it.  He'll start throwing relationship Frisbees, just to see how hard she'll run and how high she'll jump.

5)  Relationship Principal 5: Don't believe what anyone tells you about yourself.

6)  Relationship Principal 6:  Men see how you dress, and then make assumptions about your relationship potential.

- According to men:  "It makes a woman more attractive if she's showing less skin. It makes you want to find out what's underneath."

- Once you get him curious and thinking about you, that's when his thoughts turn to the future.

7)  Relationship Principle 7: When a man sees you wearing very revealing clothes, he'll assume you don't have anything else going for you.

- Once he reduces you to one dimension, he'll keep you there.   He'll never take you seriously or think of you as having enough worth for a long-term relationship.  Men want to marry a woman that is the whole package.

- A quality guy won't marry a woman who cheapens herself.


8)  Relationship Principle 8:  When he sees you scantily dressed, he is not reminded of how great you look naked.  He immediately thinks of all the other men you've slept with.

9)  Relationship Principle 9: Every guy knows he can find a girl who is simply satisfied with satisfying him.  They are much more turned on by a woman who cares about her own pleasure as well.

- What a quality guy secretly longs for is a lover who is also a best friend.  And an equal partner.


10)  Relationship Principle 10:  You can tell how much someone respects you by how much he respects your opinion.  If he doesn't respect your opinion, he won't respect you. 


11)  Relationship Principal 11:  It is better to be disliked for being who you are than to be loved for who you are not.

Relationship Myths:


Myth 1:  You have to be perfect.

Myth 2:  You have to be his sex toy.

Myth 3:  You have to be whatever he wants you to be.

- Self-respect is a one-punch knockout to a guy.  When you are confident enough to wield your power and you show that you aren't fearful of losing him, he becomes fearful of losing you.

- Pleasing you keeps him engaged in the relationship.

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Shoptimism: A Book Review

Posted by Christie for BeautyLifeandLove

So, you probably know by now, much of my inspiration comes from what I read, and I just finished Lee Eisenberg’s Shoptimism:  Why the American Consumer Will Keep On Buying No Matter What.  And although trend lines in Eisenberg’s research may have experienced a bit of a hiccup due to the recent economic downturn and the ensuing effect on consumer spending, I believe the recession actually helped the author prove his point even more poignantly.  Nothing can separate us from the love of Buy, neither height (of unemployment), nor depth (of debt), nor any other commercial thing.

Americans will buy—No Matter What.  Eisenberg establishes that as a fact.  The more interesting question, however, is “Why?”  The author proffers a mélange of theories.  Is it the evil “Sell Side” that knows how to push the right advertising, marketing and branding buttons on us like pins in a customer voodoo doll, conjuring up a bewitching, intoxicating brew that has us handing over our credit cards before we even realize it was the scented department store air that hit us?  (Eisenberg discusses how retailers carefully infuse their ventilation systems with just the right amount of the perfect scent—i.e. baby powder in the baby department— subliminally seducing us to linger longer and thereby increasing the likelihood of a sale.)  Eisenberg argues the Sell Side has blurred the line between a genuine “need” and a superfluous “want.”  (I tend to agree, although it’s a difficult point to prove; who’s to judge which qualifies as which for someone else?)

Let’s explore an alternative perspective.  What if it’s not “Them” (the Sell Side)?  What if it’s “Us” (the Consumer)?  Eisenberg reveals that Americans buy for status (social belonging, self-esteem, prestige and recognition), and we also buy as a form of therapy, retail therapy to be exact.  Either way, Eisenberg argues Americans are what they buy (identity) and why they buy (status/therapy).  For example, when it comes to what we buy, we use brands (like Apple or Harley-Davidson) to connect us to others and to express our values:  Mac users are cool, creative free-thinkers; hogs are rebels (the author’s characterization, not my own).  Furthermore, we use self-gifting to lift our spirits.  Studies done with fMRIs showed subjects’ pleasure receptors danced when exposed to merchandise and the prospect of purchase.   

And though I learned a lot of interesting facts about…advertising, marketing, Romantic vs. Classic Buyers, Buy Scolds, Spend Thrifts and the like, I felt a little bogged down with an overly detailed exposé of the Sell Side (the “Them and Ewe” concept) with its marketing gurus, Sherlock-like consumer snoops and digital data miners meticulously calculating our every click, reviewing retailers’ big brother video footage and recording our online rants and raves.  I felt particularly overwhelmed by Eisenberg’s chapter on the “four ways to think about advertising” (appropriately named “Bombarded”) and by the “Unified Buy Theory” which, only after painstaking investigation, forces the reader to conclude such a theory simply doesn’t exist.  But despite excessive mapping and charting, the theories that don’t pan out, and other non-quantifiable ambiguities, I emerged with a greater understanding of the retail rat race. 

My favorite part of the book was when Eisenberg trailed Paco Underhill, self-proclaimed “retail anthropologist” and also one of my favorite retail researchers.  He wrote the book Why We Buy:  The Science of Shopping--my first journey into the world of American consumerism, or “shoptimism.”  To be honest, I was a little star-struck by Paco’s appearance in the book.  It was that same feeling you get when your favorite celebrity has a cameo in a movie or television show you’re watching (like for me, when Condi played the piano on 30 Rock).  But I digress.  Back to the point at hand.      

Although I found the author’s research more disparate than comprehensive, I can’t really fault him for it.  Covering the entire retail-scape of American consumer culture is quite an undertaking.  The book moves from LBDs*, to automobiles, jewelry, men’s, women’s and children’s attire, shoes, accessories, food, drink, groceries, home goods, music, toys, perfume, cologne, the list goes on and on…  So where does one begin when cataloguing the whole of the American buy?  I’m not sure.  But what I am sure of, is that the “Why” of the Buy delves deep into the cultural and individual identity of every American and is complicated and compounded by multi-million dollar advertising, marketing and branding schemes to capture our attention, our loyalty, and most importantly, our dollars.    

I admire Eisenberg’s tenacity in tackling such a sprawling concept as the sociology of shopping, and with such a diverse resume (apparel company executive, Editor of GQ, and pseudo-academic), he may very well be a most appropriate person for the job.  Though I have to admit, I did get a little lost in the weeds ‘round about the center of the book, that won’t keep me from reading another of Lee Eisenberg’s works:  The Number, a New York Times Bestseller, which I’ve heard is quite good.

Which leads me to my next review…Page One (the documentary that takes you): Inside the New York Times.  Stay tuned for more.

*For those men reading this who don’t know, LBD stands for “little black dress,” not to be confused with an associated acronym VPL, or “visible panty line.”

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