The Power of Glamour
with Virginia Postrel
Virginia Postrel is an author, columnist, and speaker whose work spans a broad range of topics, from social science to fashion, concentrating on the intersection of culture and commerce.
Writing in Vanity Fair, Sam Tanenhaus described her as "a master D.J. who sequences the latest riffs from the hard sciences, the social sciences, business, and technology, to name only a few sources."
Postrel's most recent work isThe Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion, published by Simon & Schuster. Her previous books are The Substance of Style (2003) and The Future and Its Enemies (1998). She is a regular columnist for Bloomberg View.
A popular speaker for business, design, and university groups, she has taught seminars on "Glamour: Theory and Practice" in the Branding MPS program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her corporate speaking venues have included Nike, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, 7 for All Mankind, Target, Liz Claiborne, Sony, and IDEO.
She has been a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and Forbes and its companion technology magazine Forbes ASAP.
Postrel received the 2011 Bastiat Prize, honoring journalism that displays "support for the institutions of the free society, persuasiveness, wit and creativity, relevance, and clarity and simplicity." Her work was featured in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004. In 2012, her Bloomberg View columns received a first-place award for online entertainment commentary from the Los Angeles Press Club. The judges wrote that "Postrel shows a sharp eye for detail and gleans meaningful truths from our entertainment culture."
From July 1989 to January 2000, Postrel was the editor of Reason magazine. Under her leadership, Reason was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards, the industry's highest honor, for essays in 1993 and public interest journalism in 1996 and in 1998, when Reason had two finalist articles. She founded Reason.com in 1995, establishing Reason as an online pioneer.
In March 2006, she donated a kidney to her friend Sally Satel, a psychiatrist and research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She has become a vocal advocate of living organ donations and supports reforming federal laws that prohibit payment of any "valuable consideration" to organ donors. She writes and speaks frequently on the subject. Her most comprehensive article on the subject is this Atlantic.com feature.
She serves on the board of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Postrel has twice been a finalist in the commentary category of the Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism for her columns in Reason. In 1995, she received the Free Press Association's Mencken Award for Commentary for an editorial in Reason. In 2002, she received the Press Club of Dallas's Katie Award for commentary for a column in D Magazine.
Prior to becoming editor of the magazine in 1989, Postrel served as associate editor of Reason and, before that, as a reporter for Inc. and the Wall Street Journal.
Postrel graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University, with a degree in English literature, specializing in the Renaissance, and a heavy concentration of economics coursework. She is married to Steven Postrel, an economist and business strategy professor, and lives in Los Angeles.
She spoke to the Bastiat Society of St. Louis in 2014 about the Power of Glamour, and its influence over the market through advertising and culture.