100 books like Crafting Luxury

By Mark Bloomfield, Shaun Borstrock, Silvio Carta , Veronica Manlow

Here are 100 books that Crafting Luxury fans have personally recommended if you like Crafting Luxury. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Critical Luxury Studies: Art, Design, Media

Christopher J. Berry Author Of The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation

From my list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic my work is in the area of political theory and my interest in ‘luxury’ came from the awareness that it involved questions of history (why was it seen as a threat to the Roman republic) and socio-political issues around inequality and consumerism. I was awarded a grant to start the investigation and my university (Glasgow) published it along with other awards and it got picked up by the media with the consequence I had my ‘ten minutes of fame’ as I was interviewed by newspapers and on the radio.  My book is the eventual fruit of that study which has, in the words of more than one author, been judged ‘seminal’. 

Christopher's book list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?

Christopher J. Berry Why did Christopher love this book?

As its editors explain this collection of ten essays in its diverse ways aims to criticise the contemporary luxury industry. What I found valuable are the ways it challenges the assumptions of much of the literature which simply takes as given the roles luxury places in production, distribution, and especially consumption without challenging them for their wider impact. For anyone who is sceptical of those roles for encouraging waste, entrenching inequality, glorifying private indulgence and so on then this is a ‘must read’. The editors in their contribution directly engage with my argument.

By John Armitage (editor), Joanne Roberts (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Critical Luxury Studies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Assembling the foremost scholars in this innovative, distinctive and expanding subject, internationally well-known critical theorists John Armitage and Joanne Roberts present a ground-breaking aesthetic, design-led and media-related examination of the relations between historical and, crucially, contemporary ideas of luxury. Critical Luxury Studies offers a technoculturally inspired survey of the mediated arts and design, as well as a means of comprehending the socio-economic order with novel philosophical tools and critical methods of interrogation that are re-defining the concept of luxury in the 21st century.


Book cover of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster

Christopher J. Berry Author Of The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation

From my list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic my work is in the area of political theory and my interest in ‘luxury’ came from the awareness that it involved questions of history (why was it seen as a threat to the Roman republic) and socio-political issues around inequality and consumerism. I was awarded a grant to start the investigation and my university (Glasgow) published it along with other awards and it got picked up by the media with the consequence I had my ‘ten minutes of fame’ as I was interviewed by newspapers and on the radio.  My book is the eventual fruit of that study which has, in the words of more than one author, been judged ‘seminal’. 

Christopher's book list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?

Christopher J. Berry Why did Christopher love this book?

This is a deservedly best-selling book that decries what the author judges to be the decline of true luxury products into mass-produced items. The luxury industry she believes has sacrificed integrity and hoodwinked consumers. The book’s strength is its investigative reportage of how (so-called) luxury goods are actually made but, as befits the writer’s non-academic, journalistic background, this is done in a readable, accessible way. While it is very different from my own work, its stimulating discussion will prompt those whose interest it piques to explore the issue more widely.

By Dana Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deluxe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dana Thomas's Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre goes deep inside the workings of today's world of profit margins and market share to discover the real meaning of 'luxury'.

Fashion may be fabulous, but what's the true price of luxury? From the importance of fashion owners, to red carpet stars and the seasonal 'must-have' handbags, Dana Thomas shows how far illustrious houses have moved from their roots. Thomas witnesses how these 'luxury' handbags are no longer one in a million, discovers why luxury brand clothing doesn't last as long, and finds out just who is making your perfume.

From terrifying…


Book cover of Luxury Fever: Weighing the Cost of Excess

Christopher J. Berry Author Of The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation

From my list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic my work is in the area of political theory and my interest in ‘luxury’ came from the awareness that it involved questions of history (why was it seen as a threat to the Roman republic) and socio-political issues around inequality and consumerism. I was awarded a grant to start the investigation and my university (Glasgow) published it along with other awards and it got picked up by the media with the consequence I had my ‘ten minutes of fame’ as I was interviewed by newspapers and on the radio.  My book is the eventual fruit of that study which has, in the words of more than one author, been judged ‘seminal’. 

Christopher's book list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?

Christopher J. Berry Why did Christopher love this book?

Frank’s book is the work of well-known and respected economists who has the considerable ability to translate what could be dry technical analyses into engaging and approachable prose. This makes his discussion of luxury stand out so that those with no expertise can not only understand but enjoy this book. I found its commitment and seriousness thought-provoking and it is by far the best book on luxury from an ‘economic’ perspective. He uses the discipline’s tools to argue that though pursuing luxuries is rational from an individual perspective it is irrational from a wider societal perspective. He also puts his ‘money where his mouth is’ by advocating social/taxation policies to assuage the ‘fever’. My book features in his bibliography but his agenda is very different and (of course) none the worse for that.

By Robert H. Frank,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Luxury Fever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The turn of the twenty-first century witnessed a spectacular rise in gross consumption. With the super-rich setting the pace, everyone spent furiously in a desperate attempt to keep up. As cars and houses grew larger and more expensive, the costs were enormous--not only monetarily but also socially. Consumers spent more time at work and less time with their family and friends; they saved less money and borrowed more. In this book, Robert Frank presents the first comprehensive and accessible account of these financial choices. Frank uses scientific evidence to demonstrate how these spending patterns have not made us happier or…


Book cover of Luxury: A Rich History

Christopher J. Berry Author Of The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation

From my list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic my work is in the area of political theory and my interest in ‘luxury’ came from the awareness that it involved questions of history (why was it seen as a threat to the Roman republic) and socio-political issues around inequality and consumerism. I was awarded a grant to start the investigation and my university (Glasgow) published it along with other awards and it got picked up by the media with the consequence I had my ‘ten minutes of fame’ as I was interviewed by newspapers and on the radio.  My book is the eventual fruit of that study which has, in the words of more than one author, been judged ‘seminal’. 

Christopher's book list on answering the question, what is ‘luxury’?

Christopher J. Berry Why did Christopher love this book?

The authors’ aim is to differentiate their work from historical and analytical works like mine (though they include it among others as structuring their own framework). Instead they focus on ‘objects’ and how they reveal, across different cultures and time periods, social practices and aspirations. Hence, supplemented with many excellent illustrations, they discuss for example carpets, furniture, clocks, and textiles. This makes the book an attractive volume that will inform and delight, the reading – or even perusal – of which will (to echo its subtitle) be richly rewarding.

By Peter McNeil, Giorgio Riello,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Luxury as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We live in a world obsessed by luxury. Long-distance airlines compete to offer first-class sleeping experiences and hotels recommend exclusive suites where you are never disturbed. Luxury is a rapidly changing global industry that makes the headlines daily in our newspapers and on the internet. More than ever, luxury is a pervasive presence in the cultural and economic life of the West - and increasingly too in the emerging super-economies of Asia and Latin America.

Yet luxury is hardly a new phenomenon. Today's obsession with luxury brands and services is just one of the many manifestations that luxury has assumed.…


Book cover of Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies

Michael Smithson Author Of Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on ignorance, uncertainty, and risk.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in ignorance and uncertainty was sparked when I was an undergraduate mathematics student. I was taking my first courses in probability and then reading about Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, realizing that even mathematics contains untamed unknowns. Later, as a PhD student in sociology I read theories about how knowledge is socially constructed, the foundation of the “sociology of knowledge”. I wondered why there wasn’t also a “sociology of ignorance”. That ignited my interest, and the social construction of ignorance became my life-long research topic. I have since seen it grow from my solo efforts in the 1980s to a flourishing multidisciplinary topic of research and public debate.  

Michael's book list on ignorance, uncertainty, and risk

Michael Smithson Why did Michael love this book?

Ignorance studies arrived full-blown with the first edition of this Handbook in 2015, and the second edition is even better, both in breadth and in depth. 

As the editors point out, ignorance has become increasingly politically relevant recently, and the book’s chapters reflect this. It’s arranged in five parts, starting with new philosophical insights and perspectives on the study of ignorance, and moving to the manifestations and uses of ignorance in science and technology, politics and law, inter-group relations, and political economy. 

An impressive variety of disciplines and domains is represented, including the arts, social sciences, law, philosophy, and physical and biological sciences. If you desire a deep dive into ignorance then this book is for you, and it’s available as an ebook at a very reasonable price. 

By Matthias Gross (editor), Linsey McGoey (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once treated as the absence of knowledge, ignorance has now become a highly influential and rapidly growing topic in its own right. This new edition of the seminal text in the field is fully revised and includes new and expanded chapters on religion; domestic law and jurisprudence; sexuality and gender studies; memory studies; international relations; psychology; decision-theory; and colonial history.

The study of ignorance has attracted growing attention across the natural and social sciences where a wide range of scholars explore the social life and political issues involved in the distribution and strategic use of not knowing. This handbook reflects…


Book cover of Arts and Humanities in Progress: A Manifesto of Numanities

Rick Szostak Author Of Integrating the Human Sciences: Enhancing Progress and Coherence across the Social Sciences and Humanities

From my list on reforming the social sciences and humanities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am proud to be a human (social) scientist but think that we could collectively achieve a much more successful human science enterprise. And I believe that a better human science would translate into better public policy. Most human scientists focus on their own research, paying little attention to how the broader enterprise functions. I have written many works of a methodological nature over the years. I am pleased to point here to a handful of works with sound advice for enhancing the human science enterprise.

Rick's book list on reforming the social sciences and humanities

Rick Szostak Why did Rick love this book?

There are far fewer works in the humanities than in social science that suggest a path toward a more productive scholarly enterprise.

Martinelli is by far my favorite book about reforming humanities scholarship. He and I disagree about the main purpose of the humanities – I stress the role that art plays in human societies, while he urges an appreciation of the great thinkers of the past, and also appreciating such values as beauty and human dignity.

Yet he makes recommendations that I applaud regarding integration, appreciating diverse theories and methods, being reflective, and pursuing clear and logical argumentation.

By Dario Martinelli,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Arts and Humanities in Progress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book aims to introduce a research concept called "Numanities", as one possible attempt to overcome the current scientific, social and institutional crisis of the humanities.

Such crisis involves their impact on, and role within, society; their popularity among students and scholars; and their identity as producers and promoters of knowledge. The modern western world and its economic policies have been identified as the strongest cause of such a crisis. Creating the conditions for, but in fact encouraging it.

However, a self-critical assessment of the situation is called for. Our primary fault as humanists was that of stubbornly thinking that…


Book cover of Cumulative Social Inquiry: Transforming Novelty into Innovation

Rick Szostak Author Of Integrating the Human Sciences: Enhancing Progress and Coherence across the Social Sciences and Humanities

From my list on reforming the social sciences and humanities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am proud to be a human (social) scientist but think that we could collectively achieve a much more successful human science enterprise. And I believe that a better human science would translate into better public policy. Most human scientists focus on their own research, paying little attention to how the broader enterprise functions. I have written many works of a methodological nature over the years. I am pleased to point here to a handful of works with sound advice for enhancing the human science enterprise.

Rick's book list on reforming the social sciences and humanities

Rick Szostak Why did Rick love this book?

This book is a bit older than the others I recommend. Yet it provides a very clear critique of how the emphasis on novelty in social science – every publication is supposed to say something new – actually detracts from the pursuit of increased understanding.

Smith urges cumulative research programs that alternate between theory and empirics. He notes that natural scientists define novelty differently than social scientists and are thus able to publish in a way that advances cumulative research. He makes important recommendations for theorizing about small systems of phenomena (but appreciating connections to other phenomena) and employing mixed methods in investigating such theories.

By Robert B. Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cumulative Social Inquiry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many social researchers today put a premium on novel perspectives, original topics of study, and new approaches. The importance of incrementally advancing established lines of theorizing and research is often overlooked. Cumulative Social Inquiry offers researchers strategies for building meaningful connections among lines of research that would otherwise remain disparate, thus facilitating systematic theory building and the generation of policy-oriented empirical evidence. Robert B. Smith shows how to design theoretically informed studies that illuminate the social structures, processes, and mechanisms that produce observable outcomes. Numerous examples of classic and contemporary mixed-methods studies illustrate the ways in which qualitative and quantitative…


Book cover of The Production of Knowledge: Enhancing Progress in Social Science

Rick Szostak Author Of Integrating the Human Sciences: Enhancing Progress and Coherence across the Social Sciences and Humanities

From my list on reforming the social sciences and humanities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am proud to be a human (social) scientist but think that we could collectively achieve a much more successful human science enterprise. And I believe that a better human science would translate into better public policy. Most human scientists focus on their own research, paying little attention to how the broader enterprise functions. I have written many works of a methodological nature over the years. I am pleased to point here to a handful of works with sound advice for enhancing the human science enterprise.

Rick's book list on reforming the social sciences and humanities

Rick Szostak Why did Rick love this book?

The excellent contributions to this volume tackle three critical problems in social science.

The first is the crisis of replication: research results are rarely replicated and often cannot be. The second is that theories rise and fall without adding to our understanding. The third is that the little bits of understanding that we do possess are not tied into a larger whole. I found the analysis persuasive and the writing very clear.

The recommendations, especially for greater attempts at integration, complement those that I make in my own book. 

By Colin Elman (editor), John Gerring (editor), James Mahoney (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Production of Knowledge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whilst a great deal of progress has been made in recent decades, concerns persist about the course of the social sciences. Progress in these disciplines is hard to assess and core scientific goals such as discovery, transparency, reproducibility, and cumulation remain frustratingly out of reach. Despite having technical acumen and an array tools at their disposal, today's social scientists may be only slightly better equipped to vanquish error and construct an edifice of truth than their forbears - who conducted analyses with slide rules and wrote up results with typewriters. This volume considers the challenges facing the social sciences, as…


Book cover of Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working-Class Culture in America

Daniel Silliman Author Of Reading Evangelicals: How Christian Fiction Shaped a Culture and a Faith

From my list on reading about reading.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a journalist and a historian who writes about how American evangelicals are complicated. I was trying to explain Left Behind in graduate school and I talked and talked about the theology in the book—all about the doctrines of the rapture, the antichrist, and the millennium. Then my professor said, “But it’s fiction, right? Why is it fiction? What are people doing when they read a novel instead, of say, a theological treatise?” I had no idea. But it seemed like a good question. That was the spark of Reading Evangelicals. But first, I had to read everything I could find about how readers read and what happens when they do.

Daniel's book list on reading about reading

Daniel Silliman Why did Daniel love this book?

Denning is a master. He mixes literary analysis, historical sleuthing, and some smart ideological excavation to see how dime novels—treated like trash by most scholars—were used by working men and women in 19th century America. They were creating a culture and their reading did all the things that culture does: helped them make sense of the world, gave them a place to pay with ideas, and invent myths and narratives for orientation. All while middle-class scolds told them they were reading “wrong.”

If you’ve ever loved a book that wasn’t good for you, or wanted to seriously think about something that wasn’t “serious,” this book is for you.

By Michael Denning,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mechanic Accents as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mechanic Accents is a widely acclaimed study of American popular fiction and working-class culture. Combining Marxist literary theory with American labor history, Michael Denning explores what happened when, in the nineteenth century, working people began to read cheap novels and the ""fiction question"" became a class question. In a new afterword, Denning locates his study within the context of current debates on class and cultural studies.


Book cover of The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction

Alejandra Bronfman Author Of Isles of Noise: Sonic Media in the Caribbean

From my list on sound and why you should care about it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been doing research in the Caribbean for twenty-five years. The region is diverse and magnificent. Caribbean people have sought creative solutions for racial inequality, climate and sustainability, media literacy and information, women’s and family issues. The transnational connections with the US are complex and wide-ranging, and knowing more about this region is an urgent matter. I work to understand how sound and media work because they structure our reality in important ways. Listening as a way of approaching relationships in work and play is key to our survival. So is understanding how media works, where we get our information from, and how to tell what’s relevant, significant, and true, and what is not. 

Alejandra's book list on sound and why you should care about it

Alejandra Bronfman Why did Alejandra love this book?

Sterne explores the cultural history of how and why Americans developed technologies that reproduced and transmitted sound. It is a surprising story that takes us through the Civil War and ideas about death, deaf children and their teachers, the discipline of medicine, and the practice of folklore. It turns out that cultural shifts encouraged the preservation of sound, and those machines we developed in turn changed the ways we listen.

By Jonathan Sterne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Audible Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Audible Past explores the cultural origins of sound reproduction. It describes a distinctive sound culture that gave birth to the sound recording and the transmission devices so ubiquitous in modern life. With an ear for the unexpected, scholar and musician Jonathan Sterne uses the technological and cultural precursors of telephony, phonography, and radio as an entry point into a history of sound in its own right. Sterne studies the constantly shifting boundary between phenomena organized as "sound" and "not sound." In The Audible Past, this history crisscrosses the liminal regions between bodies and machines, originals and copies, nature and…


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