cover image The Things We Love: How Our Passions Connect Us and Make Us Who We Are

The Things We Love: How Our Passions Connect Us and Make Us Who We Are

Aaron Ahuvia. Little, Brown Spark, $29 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-49822-7

Ahuvia, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan–Dearborn, debuts with an excellent exploration of the “psychology of loving things.” Drawing on scientific studies and the wisdom of marketing experts, the author examines what leads people to “love” objects and hobbies: “Our love of things is really about creating our identities and connecting to the people we care about.” He suggests that affection for loved ones can rub off on items associated with their memory, and notes that when natural disasters destroy homes, people are often most upset about the ruined photographs and heirlooms that connected them to deceased relatives. Brand allegiance can offer community, Ahuvia posits, theorizing that “Bronies” (mostly adult male fans of the children’s show My Little Pony) derive a transgressive sense of belonging through their fandom of a show aimed at a much younger audience. Citing a study in which participants overestimated the value and quality of their origami creations, the author argues that people “value things a lot more when they have helped design or build them.” Ahuvia’s conversational tone makes the bounty of research findings entertaining and easily digestible. This stimulating volume is easy to love. Agent: Esmond Harmsworth, Aevitas Creative Management. (July)