A brilliant analyst and award-winning commentator, Virginia Postrel speaks and writes about social trends and their economic implications. Her recent work focuses on aesthetics and how fundamental they are to our personal, social and economic lives. Her book, The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value is Remaking Commerce, Culture and Consciousness, describes how the look and feel of things has become the new-and required-ingredient in creating economic value. Lively, engaging and articulate on the platform, Virginia speaks to a wide range of audiences about how aesthetics will affect their businesses and how to turn the broadening trend toward aesthetics to competitive advantage.
In The Substance of Style, Virginia shows how sensory appeal is so integrated into our lives that its absence can decrease the value and use of just about anything. The art of design has broken out of the beauty and luxury markets and has become a factor in all aspects of economic life. Designers of all products and services now must think beyond function and include meaning and pleasure in their designs as a necessary element of their economic value. Players who do not consider aesthetics in their designs will lose to those that do.
Virginia's previous book, The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress, explores how progress really occurs, that is, by unplanned trial and error, a process that requires freedom in order to work well. In it, she calls for "dynamism," an open-ended society in which creativity and enterprise are free from the constraints that the future's enemies would apply in the name of their "isms." By focusing on conflicting views of progress rather than on the traditional struggle between left and right, the book redefined our political and cultural debate about the future.
Virginia is a columnist for Forbes magazine. She publishes regularly in The New York Times and was the editor of Reason magazine for more than a decade.