This book is not a dictionary, though it tells you all you need know about everything from authenticity to zips. It's not an autobiography, though it does offer a revealing and highly personal inside view of contemporary culture. It's an essential tool kit for understanding the world around us. It's about what makes a Warhol a genuine fake; the creation of national identities; the mania to collect.
In The Language of Things, Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum, decodes the things around us: their hidden meanings, our relationships with them, how they shape our lives and why we desire them. Design is everywhere. It seduces, pleases and inspires us. It makes us part with our money. It defines who we think we are. An iPhone, an anglepoise lamp, a Picasso, a banknote, an Armani suit, a William Morris textile, a Lucky Strike packet, a spacecraft - every object tells a story.