Designed for Success

Designed for Success Better Living and Self-Improvement With Midcentury Instructional Records

Hardback (07 May 2024)

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Publisher's Synopsis

A charmingly illustrated history of midcentury instructional records and their untold contribution to the American narrative of self-improvement, aspiration, and success. For the midcentury Americans who wished to better their golf game through hypnosis, teach their parakeet to talk, or achieve sexual harmony in their marriage, the answers lay no further than the record player. In Designed for Success, Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder shed light on these endearingly earnest albums that contributed to a powerful American vision of personal success. Rescued from charity shops, record store cast-off bins, or forgotten boxes in attics and basements, these educational records reveal the American consumers' rich but sometimes surprising relationship to advertising, self-help, identity construction, and even aspects of transcendentalist thought. Relegated to obscurity and novelty, instructional records such as Secrets of Successful Varmint Calling, You Be a Disc Jockey, and How to Ski (A Living-Room Guide for Beginners) offer distinct insights into midcentury media production and consumption. Tracing the history of instructional records from the inception of the recording industry to the height of their popularity, Borgerson and Schroeder offer close readings of the abundant topics covered by "designed for success" records. Complemented by over a hundred full-color illustrations, Designed for Success is a wonderfully nostalgic tour that showcases the essential role these vinyl records played as an unappreciated precursor to contemporary do-it-yourself culture and modern conceptions of self-improvement.

Book information

ISBN: 9780262048835
Publisher: The MIT Press
Imprint: The MIT Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 371.39430973
DEWEY edition: 23/eng/20231117
Language: English
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 1094g
Height: 262mm
Width: 211mm
Spine width: 24mm