The subtitle of the book is “The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions,” and a similar tongue-in-cheek sarcasm pervades through the entire book. It’s divided into 150 different things that white people like, and it even features a quiz at the end to determine your “whiteness” (I’m only about 52% white, strangely enough… time to ask my folks some questions, perhaps). Most of the categories are pretty funny, and they all generally refer to today’s urban, educated white people; in fact, many of the categories have disclaimers stating that if you’re talking to a white person who doesn’t like that particular item, then you’re dealing with “the wrong kind of white person.”
If you’re familiar with the website of the same name, then some of the categories—like “Coffee” (#1), “Making You Feel Bad For Not Going Outside” (#9), and “Threatening To Move To Canada” (#75)–are the same, but others—such as “Not Having Cash” (#132) or “Public Transportation That Is Not A Bus” (#147)—seem to be unique to the book. Still others from the website–“Ugly Sweater Parties,” “Grammar,” and “Frisbee Sports,” for example–don’t appear in the book.
In any case, it’s a good laugh and a quick, engaging read, as evidenced by the fact that I got through it in about a day (but then again, white people like me like books, #138). I have to admit, though, that in terms of laugh-out-loud-ness, this book didn’t hit me as hard as “The Hipster Handbook” or “Food Court Druids, Cherohonkees and Other Species Unique to the Republic” (thanks again for those, Marie!). I think that the main reason for that is because although white people like self-deprecating humor (#103), it’s still preferable to laugh at hipsters, “Cherohonkees,” and the other “species” described in these latter two books. That’s probably because I don’t consider myself a hipster, but I do consider myself white. Now that I think about it, though, it seems like my coworkers once had a debate about whether I was a hipster or not… I can’t remember the outcome.
In any case, this is still a good book, and I’d recommend you checking it out. In fact, I was thinking of starting my own site about “Stuff Costa Ricans Like,” but knowing that white people like lawyers (#56), doing so could get me into a lawsuit with Christian Lander… unless the author’s tendency to avoid confrontation (#128) trumps his tendency to sue. I guess I could start one called “Things Ticos Are Fond Of,” but it just might not have the same ring to it… and most people who haven’t been here might not get the joke, anyhow.
The bottom line is this: Any of these three books I’ve mentioned here are a good laugh, and they’re near-essential survival guides to understanding the gentrifying locals if you live in New York, San Francisco, or Portland. Check them out.