This is the book I recommend when people tell me they don't know much about art and want to learn about it. I like this better than general art and art history books because those tend to be bogged down with dry facts and too many historical details, whereas Ways of Seeing
is very short, easy to understand, and demystifies art to the general public without having the reader struggle to remember names and dates. Berger explores the ways in which images (both fine art images and commercial images) create meaning and are used, as well as offering insight on the relationships between art, the artist, and the viewer. Although this book was written in the early 70s, it is still very much relevant, and the chapter on advertising seems to apply even more so now. My only criticism is that the pictures are not in colour! To someone with a basic background in art history or culture theory, this book may seem overly simplistic but I think it's a great one to start off with for anyone who wants to examine and question the visual world in which we live.