An "exciting and engaging" investigation (Jonah Berger) of the secret, tangled emotional relationships people have with things—drawing on cutting-edge findings from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and marketing.
Books, baseball cards, ceramic figurines, art, iPhones, clothing, cars, music, dolls, furniture, and even nature itself. If you're like most people, at some point in your life you've found yourself indulging in a love affair with some thing that brings you immense joy, comfort, or fulfillment. Why is it that we so often feel intense passion for objects? What does this tendency tell us about ourselves and our society?
In The Things We Love, Dr. Aaron Ahuvia presents astonishing discoveries that prove we are far less “rational” than we think when it comes to our possessions and hobbies. In fact, we have passionate relationships with the things we love, and these relationships are driven by influences deep within our culture and our biology. Some of our passions are sudden, obsessive, and fleeting; others are devoted and lifelong affairs. Some turn dark: we become hoarders, or would prefer to destroy certain objects rather than let anyone else own them. And as technology improves, becoming increasingly addictive, one wonders: might our lives become so dominated by our emotional ties to things that we lose interest in other people?
Packed with fascinating case studies, scientific analysis, and takeaways for living in a modern and ever-so-material world, The Things We Love offers a truly original and insightful look into our love for inanimate objects — and how better understanding these relationships can enrich and improve our lives.
About the Author
Aaron Ahuvia, PhD, is a Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Business and the most widely published and cited academic expert on non-interpersonal love. He has published more 100 academic papers and conference presentations, and his research has been quoted in Time, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour, and major publications in Europe and Japan. Dr. Ahuvia has also appeared on public radio talk shows as well as popular television shows such as the Oprah Winfrey Show.
"Love is the one emotion that keeps us hopeful and sane in a world of chaos. Aaron Ahuvia writes beautifully about this wonderful state of being in all of its manifestations. Read and learn how your self-concept is so girded and gifted by your love of things."—Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing and author of Marketing Management
“The Things We Love is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand what it means to be human in the modern world. Dr. Ahuvia makes a compelling case that who we are has much more to do with what we love than we might expect.”—Francesca Gino, author of Rebel Talent
“We’re all living in a material world. But while we’re surrounded by things, we have a lot less of a sense of how those things make us who we are. In this exciting and engaging read, Dr. Ahuvia synthesizes recent discoveries from psychology, neuroscience, biology, and marketing to help us better understand our things and ourselves.”—Jonah Berger, author of Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst
“Ahuvia’s conversational tone makes the bounty of research findings entertaining and easily digestible. This stimulating volume is easy to love.”—Publishers Weekly
"People often spend money on things in pursuit of happiness, which often leaves us unfulfilled. Dr. Ahuvia’s work spans social psychology, neuroscience, business, and technology to help us explore our love of things in order to anchor on purposeful relationships with ourselves and others. A meaningful read."—Jennifer Aaker, General Atlantic Professor, Stanford University, and coauthor of Humor, Seriously and The Dragonfly Effect
“I read this book with great interest and found it extremely well written, entertaining, and well grounded in research. Aaron Ahuvia gives us a fascinating, rich, lively and yet profound insight on how we can fall in love with the world and bring a sense of fulfillment in our life. How the love of nature, among others, can generate a sense of wonderment and respect. As a Buddhist, I was particularly interested in his discussions of how craving for things that we don’t need, which modern marketing makes us desire, often leads to entanglement in further craving and may end up in an environmental disaster.”—Matthieu Ricard, author of Happiness
“Who knew there was so much more to our relationships with things than meets the eye? Dr. Ahuvia brilliantly illuminates the science and psychology that underlies our affection for certain treasured possessions, and in the process, he reveals fascinating insights into what makes each one of us tick.”—Nir Eyal, author of Hooked and Indistractable
“In the modern world, we are renegotiating our relationship with ‘stuff.’ Conversations on the topic have veered toward minimalism, tidiness, and environmental impact. Ahuvia offers a fresh angle by introducing the idea that we love stuff. As much as this is a book about cars, lamps, and photo albums, it is a book about how we fall in love. Drawing on fascinating and seldomly reported research, Ahuvia teaches us not only about our belongings but about ourselves. Speaking of love and stuff, you will love this book!”—Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener, author of The Upside of Your Dark Side
“In this remarkably insightful and well-written book, Aaron Ahuvia deftly weaves cutting-edge research with fascinating anecdotes to explain why we love the things we do and what those preferences say about who we are. In so doing, he expands our understanding of human nature. The Things We Love is a tour de force.”—Ethan Kross, author of Chatter
“As Aaron Ahuvia makes clear, even the most monogamously minded of us are actually engaged in multiple relationships—just not with people. Instead, we extend our human capacity for love to objects, activities, and animals, from our smartphones to our passions to our pets. The Things We Love is a fascinating exploration of what it means to love something—and what our non-human relationships say about us.”—Catherine Price, author of How to Break Up with Your Phone and The Power of Fun