Robin Goldstein's book about good yet cheap wine.
Actually, The Wine Trials 2010, The World's bestselling guide to inexpensive wine, is only superficially about good wines that cost less than 15 dollars. The book is essentially a polemic against the idea that if a producer can convince the consumer that a product is superior, then it is not only right to charge more for it, but the consumer should be honored to pay more for it even though it functions no better than something that costs much less. That said, they could just as easily have chosen to pick from any product category to find examples of overpriced products that work no better than cheaper more generic brands.
When I was an undergrad I performed a chemistry lab where I was given 5 blind samples of chlorine bleach and told to determine the amount of sodium hypochlorite in each. When they all tested at between 5-5.25% the professor revealed their identities and the price per gallon of each. Even though they all had essentially the same amount of active ingredient, some of the brand name version were more than 50% more expensive than "cheaper" brands and generics.
Our glorious hyper-materialistic consumer culture is full of such examples of products whose intrinsic value is enhanced by a BS veil of efficacy, exclusivity, hipness created by brand engineers and marketers to sucker the credulous. And here in The Wine Trials Goldstein and Herschkowitsch more than convincingly make the case that many of the wines (e.g. Dom Perignon, $150/750ml) that we believe are worth paying many times the price of putatively plebeian plonk (e.g. Domaine Ste Michelle Brut, $12/750ml) don't do well in blind tastings against their cheaper cousins. They also suggest that people who overpay for wine that could be equaled in quality by much cheaper stuff are also buying entry into the kind of life and social class they want to inhabit. In other words, if one buys and drinks $1000 bottles of Chateau d' Yquem one joins ranks of the Donald Trumps and the Jay Zs and enters the class of people who can afford to blow a grand on a bottle of wine.
Really their pillorying of the notion that just because a product is wrapped in an aura of quality and exclusivity it is actually worth more money than something of equal quality that is wrapped in a newspaper plucked a resonant chord on my inner lute of truth and justice.
I've been on the hunt for things, services, concepts that do what I want them to do on the cheap since I was a kid and realized that I could find really cool stuff by ferreting through the garbage that my neighbors put out on trash day. (Actually, it's kind of part of my life's work.) So yeah, I loved this book.