Very Important People: Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit

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Very Important People: Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit
Title Very Important People: Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit
Author
Publisher Princeton University Press
Release DateMay 26, 2020
Category Business and Leadership
Total Pages 310 pages
ISBN B0824B49LS
Book Rating 4.3 out of 5 from 67 reviews
Language EN, ES, BE, DA ,DE , NL and FR
Book Review & Summary:

A sociologist and former fashion model takes readers inside the elite global party circuit of "models and bottles" to reveal how beautiful young women are used to boost the status of men Million-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera, and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today's New Gilded Age, the world's moneyed classes have taken conspicuous consumption to new extremes. In Very Important People, sociologist, author, and former fashion model Ashley Mears takes readers inside the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit—from New York City and the Hamptons to Miami and Saint-Tropez—to reveal the intricate economy of beauty, status, and money that lies behind these spectacular displays of wealth and leisure. Mears spent eighteen months in this world of "models and bottles" to write this captivating, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking narrative. She describes how clubs and restaurants pay promoters to recruit beautiful young women to their venues in order to attract men and get them to spend huge sums in the ritual of bottle service. These "girls" enhance the status of the men and enrich club owners, exchanging their bodily capital for as little as free drinks and a chance to party with men who are rich or aspire to be. Though they are priceless assets in the party circuit, these women are regarded as worthless as long-term relationship prospects, and their bodies are constantly assessed against men's money. A story of extreme gender inequality in a seductive world, Very Important People unveils troubling realities behind moneyed leisure in an age of record economic disparity.

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Book Summary:

A sociologist and former fashion model takes readers inside the elite global party circuit of "models and bottles" to reveal how beautiful young women are used to boost the status of men Million-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera, and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today's New Gilded Age, the world's moneyed classes have taken conspicuous consumption to new extremes. In Very Important People, sociologist, author, and former fashion model Ashley Mears takes readers inside the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit—from New York City and the Hamptons to Miami and Saint-Tropez—to reveal the intricate economy of beauty, status, and money that lies behind these spectacular displays of wealth and leisure. Mears spent eighteen months in this world of "models and bottles" to write this captivating, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking narrative. She describes how clubs and restaurants pay promoters to recruit beautiful young women to their venues in order to attract men and get them to spend huge sums in the ritual of bottle service. These "girls" enhance the status of the men and enrich club owners, exchanging their bodily capital for as little as free drinks and a chance to party with men who are rich or aspire to be. Though they are priceless assets in the party circuit, these women are regarded as worthless as long-term relationship prospects, and their bodies are constantly assessed against men's money. A story of extreme gender inequality in a seductive world, Very Important People unveils troubling realities behind moneyed leisure in an age of record economic disparity.

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Sociologist Ashley Mears takes us behind the brightly lit runways and glossy advertisements of the fashion industry in this insider’s study of the world of modeling. Mears, who worked as a model in New York and London, draws on observations as well as extensive interviews with male and female models, agents, clients, photographers, stylists, and others, to explore the economics and politics—and the arbitrariness— behind the business of glamour. Exploring a largely hidden arena of cultural production, she shows how the right "look" is discovered, developed, and packaged to become a prized commodity. She examines how models sell themselves, how agents promote them, and how clients decide to hire them. An original contribution to the sociology of work in the new cultural economy, Pricing Beauty offers rich, accessible analysis of the invisible ways in which gender, race, and class shape worth in the marketplace.

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How the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite, and how their consumer habits affect us all In today’s world, the leisure class has been replaced by a new elite. Highly educated and defined by cultural capital rather than income bracket, these individuals earnestly buy organic, carry NPR tote bags, and breast-feed their babies. They care about discreet, inconspicuous consumption—like eating free-range chicken and heirloom tomatoes, wearing organic cotton shirts and TOMS shoes, and listening to the Serial podcast. They use their purchasing power to hire nannies and housekeepers, to cultivate their children’s growth, and to practice yoga and Pilates. In The Sum of Small Things, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett dubs this segment of society “the aspirational class” and discusses how, through deft decisions about education, health, parenting, and retirement, the aspirational class reproduces wealth and upward mobility, deepening the ever-wider class divide. Exploring the rise of the aspirational class, Currid-Halkett considers how much has changed since the 1899 publication of Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. In that inflammatory classic, which coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption,” Veblen described upper-class frivolities: men who used walking sticks for show, and women who bought silver flatware despite the effectiveness of cheaper aluminum utensils. Now, Currid-Halkett argues, the power of material goods as symbols of social position has diminished due to their accessibility. As a result, the aspirational class has altered its consumer habits away from overt materialism to more subtle expenditures that reveal status and knowledge. And these transformations influence how we all make choices. With a rich narrative and extensive interviews and research, The Sum of Small Things illustrates how cultural capital leads to lifestyle shifts and what this forecasts, not just for the aspirational class but for everyone.

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Time is the ultimate scarce resource and thus quintessentially a topic for economics, which studies scarcity. Starting with the observation that time is increasingly valuable given competing demands as we have more things we can buy and do, Spending Time provides engaging insights into how people use their time and what determines their decisions about spending their time. That our time is limited by the number of hours in a day, days in a year, and years in our lives means that we face constraints and thus choices that involve trade-offs. We sleep, eat, have fun, watch TV, and not least we work. How much we dedicate to each, and why we do so, is intriguing and no one is better placed to shed light on similarities and differences than Daniel S. Hamermesh, the leading authority on time-use. Here he explores how people use their time, including across countries, regions, cultures, class, and gender. Americans now work more than people in other rich countries, but as recently as the late 1970s they worked no more than others; and they also work longer into older age. Men and women do different things at different times of the day, which affects how well-off they feel. Both the arrival of children and retirement create major shocks to existing time uses, with differences between the sexes. Higher incomes and higher wage rates lead people to hurry more, both on and off the job, and higher wage rates lead people to cut back on activities that take time away from work. Being stressed for time is central to modern life, and Hamermesh shows who is rushed, and why. With Americans working more than people in France, Germany, the U.K., Japan and other rich countries, the book offers a simple but radical proposal for changing Americans' lives and reducing the stress about time.

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From New York Times business reporter Nelson D. Schwartz comes a bold and urgent investigation of division between the wealthy and the middle class n every arena of American life. In nearly every realm of daily life--from health care to education, highways to home security--there is an invisible velvet rope that divides how Americans live. On one side of the rope, for a price, red tape is cut, lines are jumped, appointments are secured, and doors are opened. On the other side, middle- and working-class Americans fight to find an empty seat on the plane, a place in line with their kids at the amusement park, a college acceptance, or a hospital bed. We are all aware of the gap between the rich and everyone else, but when we weren't looking, business innovators stepped in to exploit it, shifting services away from the masses and finding new ways to profit by serving the privileged. And as decision-makers and corporate leaders increasingly live on the friction-free side of the velvet rope, they are less inclined to change--or even notice--the obstacles everyone else must contend with. Schwartz's "must read" book takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of this new reality and shows the toll the velvet rope divide takes on society.

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A provocative and thoroughly researched inquiry into what we find beautiful and why, skewering the myth that the pursuit of beauty is a learned behavior. In Survival of the Prettiest, Nancy Etcoff, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a practicing psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, argues that beauty is neither a cultural construction, an invention of the fashion industry, nor a backlash against feminism—it’s in our biology. Beauty, she explains, is an essential and ineradicable part of human nature that is revered and ferociously pursued in nearly every civilization—and for good reason. Those features to which we are most attracted are often signals of fertility and fecundity. When seen in the context of a Darwinian struggle for survival, our sometimes extreme attempts to attain beauty—both to become beautiful ourselves and to acquire an attractive partner—suddenly become much more understandable. Moreover, if we understand how the desire for beauty is innate, then we can begin to work in our own interests, and not just the interests of our genetic tendencies.

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The post-WWI crisis of statelessness induced creative legal thinking, as officials and jurists debated cosmopolitan citizenship beyond the borders of sovereigns. But by midcentury the state won out as the lone site of citizenship. Mira Siegelberg uncovers the ideological roots of this transformation and its impact on the international order.

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Over the past three decades, economic sociology has been revealing how culture shapes economic life even while economic facts affect social relationships. This work has transformed the field into a flourishing and increasingly influential discipline. No one has played a greater role in this development than Viviana Zelizer, one of the world's leading sociologists. Economic Lives synthesizes and extends her most important work to date, demonstrating the full breadth and range of her field-defining contributions in a single volume for the first time. Economic Lives shows how shared cultural understandings and interpersonal relations shape everyday economic activities. Far from being simple responses to narrow individual incentives and preferences, economic actions emerge, persist, and are transformed by our relations to others. Distilling three decades of research, the book offers a distinctive vision of economic activity that brings out the hidden meanings and social actions behind the supposedly impersonal worlds of production, consumption, and asset transfer. Economic Lives ranges broadly from life insurance marketing, corporate ethics, household budgets, and migrant remittances to caring labor, workplace romance, baby markets, and payments for sex. These examples demonstrate an alternative approach to explaining how we manage economic activity--as well as a different way of understanding why conventional economic theory has proved incapable of predicting or responding to recent economic crises. Providing an important perspective on the recent past and possible futures of a growing field, Economic Lives promises to be widely read and discussed.

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It's nighttime in the city and everybody's working a hustle. Winking bartenders and smiling waitresses flirt their way to bigger tips. Hostesses and bouncers hit up the crowd of would-be customers for bribes. And on the other side of the velvet rope, single men and women are on a perpetual hunt to score - or at least pick up a phone number. Every night of the week they all play the same game, relentlessly competing for money, sex, self-esteem, and status. David Grazian's riveting tour of downtown Philadelphia and its newly bustling nightlife scene reveals the city as an urban playground where everyone dabbles in games of chance and perpetrates elaborate cons. Entertainment in the city has evolved into a professional industry replete with set designers, stage directors, and method actors whose dazzling illusions tempt even the shrewdest of customers. Public relations consultants, event planners, and a new breed of urban hustler - the so-called ''reality marketer'' who gets paid to party - all walk a fine line between spinning hype and outright duplicity. For the young and affluent, nightlife is a sport - a combative game of deception and risk complete with pregame drinking rituals and trendy uniforms. They navigate the dangers and delights of the city with a combination of wide-eyed optimism and streetwise savvy, drawing from their own bag of tricks that include everything from the right makeup and costume to fake IDs, counterfeit phone numbers, and wingmen. As entertaining and illuminating as the confessional stories it recounts, David Grazian's On the Make is a fascinating expos of the smoke and mirrors employed in the city at night.

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Title Shanghai Nightscapes
Author James Farrer
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Release Date 2015-08-03
Category Social Science
Total Pages 280
ISBN 9780226262918
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The pulsing beat of its nightlife has long drawn travelers to the streets of Shanghai, where the night scene is a crucial component of the city’s image as a global metropolis. In Shanghai Nightscapes, sociologist James Farrer and historian Andrew David Field examine the cosmopolitan nightlife culture that first arose in Shanghai in the 1920s and that has been experiencing a revival since the 1980s. Drawing on over twenty years of fieldwork and hundreds of interviews, the authors spotlight a largely hidden world of nighttime pleasures—the dancing, drinking, and socializing going on in dance clubs and bars that have flourished in Shanghai over the last century. The book begins by examining the history of the jazz-age dance scenes that arose in the ballrooms and nightclubs of Shanghai’s foreign settlements. During its heyday in the 1930s, Shanghai was known worldwide for its jazz cabarets that fused Chinese and Western cultures. The 1990s have seen the proliferation of a drinking, music, and sexual culture collectively constructed to create new contact zones between the local and tourist populations. Today’s Shanghai night scenes are simultaneously spaces of inequality and friction, where men and women from many different walks of life compete for status and attention, and spaces of sociability, in which intercultural communities are formed. Shanghai Nightscapes highlights the continuities in the city’s nightlife across a turbulent century, as well as the importance of the multicultural agents of nightlife in shaping cosmopolitan urban culture in China’s greatest global city. To listen to an audio diary of a night out in Shanghai with Farrer and Field, click here: http://n.pr/1VsIKAw.

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Title Measuring Culture
Author John W. Mohr
Publisher Columbia University Press
Release Date 2020-08-11
Category Social Science
Total Pages 238
ISBN 9780231542586
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Social scientists seek to develop systematic ways to understand how people make meaning and how the meanings they make shape them and the world in which they live. But how do we measure such processes? Measuring Culture is an essential point of entry for both those new to the field and those who are deeply immersed in the measurement of meaning. Written collectively by a team of leading qualitative and quantitative sociologists of culture, the book considers three common subjects of measurement—people, objects, and relationships—and then discusses how to pivot effectively between subjects and methods. Measuring Culture takes the reader on a tour of the state of the art in measuring meaning, from discussions of neuroscience to computational social science. It provides both the definitive introduction to the sociological literature on culture as well as a critical set of case studies for methods courses across the social sciences.

Uneasy Street by Rachel Sherman

Title Uneasy Street
Author Rachel Sherman
Publisher Princeton University Press
Release Date 2019-05-14
Category Social Science
Total Pages 328
ISBN 9780691191904
Language English, Spanish, and French
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A surprising and revealing look at how today’s elite view their wealth and place in society From TV’s “real housewives” to The Wolf of Wall Street, our popular culture portrays the wealthy as materialistic and entitled. But what do we really know about those who live on “easy street”? In this penetrating book, Rachel Sherman draws on rare in-depth interviews that she conducted with fifty affluent New Yorkers—from hedge fund financiers and artists to stay-at-home mothers—to examine their lifestyle choices and understanding of privilege. Sherman upends images of wealthy people as invested only in accruing social advantages for themselves and their children. Instead, these liberal elites, who believe in diversity and meritocracy, feel conflicted about their position in a highly unequal society. As the distance between rich and poor widens, Uneasy Street not only explores the lives of those at the top but also sheds light on how extreme inequality comes to seem ordinary and acceptable to the rest of us.

The Origins Of You by Jay Belsky

Title The Origins of You
Author Jay Belsky
Publisher Unknown
Release Date 2020
Category Family & Relationships
Total Pages 432
ISBN 9780674983458
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Does temperament in childhood shape adult personality? Four psychologists followed thousands of people as they grew up, observing how genes, parenting, and other aspects of young people's experience influence development. This holistic approach offers unprecedented insight into what makes us the adults we become.

Maximum Canada by Doug Saunders

Title Maximum Canada
Author Doug Saunders
Publisher Vintage Canada
Release Date 2019-08-20
Category
Total Pages 256
ISBN 9780735273108
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

To face the future, Canada needs more Canadians. But why and how many? Canada's population has always grown slowly, when it has grown at all. That wasn't by accident. For centuries before Confederation and a century after, colonial economic policies and an inward-facing world view isolated this country, attracting few of the people and building few of the institutions needed to sustain a sovereign nation. In fact, during most years before 1967, a greater number of people fled Canada than immigrated to it. Canada's growth has faltered and left us underpopulated ever since. At Canada's 150th anniversary, a more open, pluralist and international vision has largely overturned that colonial mindset and become consensus across the country and its major political parties. But that consensus is ever fragile. Our small population continues to hamper our competitive clout, our ability to act independently in an increasingly unstable world, and our capacity to build the resources we need to make our future viable. In Maximum Canada, a bold and detailed vision for Canada's future, award-winning author and Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders proposes a most audacious way forward: to avoid global obscurity and create lasting prosperity, to build equality and reconciliation of indigenous and regional divides, and to ensure economic and ecological sustainability, Canada needs to triple its population.

Title A Brief History of Surfing
Author Matt Warshaw
Publisher Chronicle Books
Release Date 2017-03-14
Category Sports & Recreation
Total Pages 272
ISBN 9781452152806
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Matt Warshaw knows more about surfing than any other person on the planet, as evidenced by The History of Surfing, Warshaw's definitive take on the sport. Now, he has honed that book into an abridged and excerpted edition for surfers everywhere. Each spread features a micro essay alongside an image capturing a slice of surf history, from Kelly Slater and the invention of the thruster to shark attacks and localism. Packaged in a small and chunky hardcover, A Brief History of Surfing deftly defines surf culture in an entertaining and irresistible volume with wide appeal.

We Re Still Here by Jennifer M. Silva

Title We re Still Here
Author Jennifer M. Silva
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date 2019
Category Coal mines and mining
Total Pages 206
ISBN 9780190888046
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Jennifer M. Silva tells a deep, multi-generational story of pain and politics that will endure long after the Trump administration. Drawing on over 100 interviews with black, white, and Latino working-class residents of a declining coal town in Pennsylvania, Silva reveals how the erosion of the American Dream is lived and felt.

Anatomy Of A Food Addiction by Anne Katherine

Title Anatomy of a Food Addiction
Author Anne Katherine
Publisher Gurze Books
Release Date 2013-10-18
Category Psychology
Total Pages 241
ISBN 0936077131
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Featuring an honest account of the author's own struggles with food, "Anatomy of a Food Addiction" helps readers understand binge eating and plan a recovery through exercises, self-tests, and an examination of family issues. Illustrations.

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