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Scenario: Guy meets Girl. Guy lives with Girl for a while and decides to buy the cow. Guy and Girl, planning wedding, walk around Bed Bath & Beyond with a scan gun, picking out crap for their registry. Guy who has never, ever cared about vacuuming has to have the $400 Dyson upright. Why? Because it never loses suction. Because he, donning an English accent, “just wants things to work properly.” This is but one example of “murketing,” the buzzword created by Rob Walker and explored in his book, Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. Walker, who writes the “Consumed” column for the New York Times, gets all up in our dirty little secrets to dissect why people are drawn to brands old (PBR) and relatively new (Ecko Unltd). Although at times the book comes off as a how-to for marketers, Walker’s case studies—like his column—offer a good deal of cultural insight into how and why certain brands hold power over us and only rarely lose their suction.

WALKER DISCUSSES AND SIGNS COPIES OF HIS WORK AT 7 P.M. AT POLITICS & PROSE, 5015 CONNECTICUT AVE. NW. FREE. (202) 364-1919.