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Personal Stereo - Object Lessons (Paperback)
  • Personal Stereo - Object Lessons (Paperback)
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Personal Stereo - Object Lessons (Paperback)

(author)
£9.99
Paperback 152 Pages / Published: 07/09/2017
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Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. When the Sony Walkman debuted in 1979, people were enthralled by the novel experience it offered: immersion in the music of their choice, anytime, anywhere. But the Walkman was also denounced as self-indulgent and antisocial-the quintessential accessory for the "me" generation. In Personal Stereo, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow takes us back to the birth of the device, exploring legal battles over credit for its invention, its ambivalent reception in 1980s America, and its lasting effects on social norms and public space. Ranging from postwar Japan to the present, Tuhus-Dubrow tells an illuminating story about our emotional responses to technological change. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
ISBN: 9781501322815
Number of pages: 152
Weight: 145 g
Dimensions: 165 x 121 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
A compelling and expertly researched study of the Sony Walkman. * New Books Network *
An honest & deft entry in [Bloomsbury's] Object Lessons series. * Music Book Review *
In 2017, having music pumped into your ears through headphones while existing in public is a thoroughly normal thing to do. But as Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow outlines in the delightful Personal Stereo, being able to do so is a relatively recent development ... Her thoughtfulness imbues this chronicle of a once-modern, now-obsolete device with a mindfulness that isn't often seen in writing about technology. * Pitchfork (named one of Pitchfork's favorite books of 2017) *
[A] careful, astute study. * The Wire *
Tuhus-Dubrow illuminates a web of stories connected to the Walkman, her references as ubiquitous as its users ... After finishing Personal Stereo, I found myself wondering about the secret lives of every object around me, as if each device were whispering, "Oh, I am much so more than meets the eye"... Tuhus-Dubrow is a master researcher and synthesizer. It would appear that she has left no Walkman-related stone unturned ... Tuhus-Dubrow [is] an elegant, engaging storyteller who unpacks complex social and political concepts with clarity and panache ... Personal Stereo is a joy to read. * Los Angeles Review of Books *
Personal Stereo is loving, wise, and exuberant, a moving meditation on nostalgia and obsolescence. Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow writes as beautifully about Georg Simmel and Allan Bloom as she does about Jane Fonda and Metallica. Now I understand why I still own the taxicab-yellow Walkman my grandmother gave me in 1988. * Nathaniel Rich, author of Odds Against Tomorrow *
Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow's affectionate history traces the Walkman out of an electronics workshop in bombed-out postwar Tokyo to global icon of solitary, un-networked bliss. * Sasha Issenberg, author of The Sushi Economy *
Personal Stereo explores the development of the Walkman, its impact on our culture, and its legacy, not only highlighting its time as a status symbol but discussing its surprising resurgence today as part of the analog revolution. Plus Tuhus-Dubrow shares her own personal memories of Walkman ownership, offering a nice intimate touch to a book full of fun pop-culture trivia and anecdotes. Perhaps the best part of Personal Stereo was seeing parallels between reactions to the Walkman and recent complaints about smartphone ownership. (Particularly regarding selfishness and isolation.) Observing these cyclical historical undercurrents, large and small, is both entertaining and engaging. You might have preferred your iPod, but there's no doubt the Walkman was worthy of a tribute and brief history like this. * San Francisco Book Review *
Tuhus-Dubrow's valuable historical and pop cultural analysis provides a genuine yet evenhanded portrait of all that has been loved and lost in the way the personal stereo has impacted public spaces and social communication. Personal Stereo is a clear-eyed study on the way this technology continues to disrupt, for better and for worse. * PopMatters *
A fascinating and informative, yet also nostalgic, look at the rise and fall of the personal stereo ... The author has worked hard to make this book readable, accessible and thorough in its enquiry ... Tuhus-Dubrow manages to keep the feel of the book light and engaging. It has enough information in to feel academically researched, yet is written in an easily accessible fashion ... Although I enjoyed the final 'Nostalgia' section, I think anybody with an interest in design, business, technology, or social and cultural history, will find the first section, 'Novelty', an interesting delve into the development of Sony as a company, its founders, and its famous Walkman. Five stars. * The Bookbag *
Personal Stereo accomplishes a lot in the short time it takes to read. It reminds readers (or informs them) of just how revolutionary the Walkman experience was, and how much it anticipated today's conversations about technology and personal space. * The Current *

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