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Form matters as much as function in today’s “age of look and feel,” she argues. Great design isn’t just an excuse to splurge at a shoe sale or a way for iMac’s advertisers to separate you from your money. It’s essential for the creativity and growth of society.
“You write a book like this and you find yourself becoming obsessed,” says Postrel. “You spend all day writing about aesthetics, and then all you want to do is go out and look at great clothes or hire an expensive designer.”
Postrel’s controversial social theories have earned her an array of important enemies, including Pat Buchanan, whom she fingered as standing in the way of social and economic progress in her last book. Despite such foes, she has no intention of backing down.
As a woman, Postrel is a rarity in the field of financial journalism. The self-proclaimed “nerd” and Princeton graduate in English has held her own among her predominantly male peers, writing extensive articles for Inc., Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, among others. She served as an editor of Reason — a politics, news and ideas magazine with a 90 percent male readership — for more than a decade and writes a monthly economics column for the New York Times.
If anything, Postrel sees her role as a bridge between typically male and female schools of thought, bringing both parties to the table for a more compelling discussion. With a chuckle, she says, “The most popular editorial I ever wrote was about how you can understand the whole economy by looking at nail salons.”