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Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life Paperback – 1 Nov 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (1 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007179642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007179640
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 483,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Courtney Boyle, 1958-, is a British author and journalist who writes mainly about history and new ideas in economics, money, business and culture. He lives in the South Downs. His most recent public role was conducting an independent review for the Treasury and the Cabinet Office on Barriers to Public Service Choice, which reported early in 2013.

His book Authenticity put the phenomenon on the business and political agenda. His previous books The Tyranny of Numbers and The Sum of Our Discontent predicted and fermented the backlash against target culture. Funny Money helped launched the time banks movement in the UK.

More recently, he has been writing about why organisations and public services are so ineffective, working with the New Economics Foundation and NESTA on a series of publications about coproduction, and publishing his own solutions as The Human Element. This argues that organisations have abandoned human skills in favour of numerical targets or IT systems, which frustrate the business of building relationships and making things happen.

His history books usually have a business or economic dimension, including Blondel's Song (UK) and The Troubadour's Song (USA) about the imprisonment and ransom of Richard the Lionheart. His 2008 book Toward the Setting Sun tells the intertwined story of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot and Amerigo Vespucci and their race for America in the 1490s. His 2010 book, Eminent Corporations with (Andrew Simms) has introduced a new genre, the mini-corporate biography, launching the idea of corporate history as tragedy. His recent book Broke has launched a public debate about the plight of the middle classes.

He has been the editor of several journals including New Economics and Town & Country Planning. He is a fellow of the New Economics Foundation and has been at the heart of the effort to develop co-production and introduce time banks to Britain as a critical element of public service reform. He has been closely involved in their Clone Town Britain campaign and writes about the future of volunteering, cities and business. He edited the Foundation's publications New Economics, News from the New Economy, and then Radical Economics from 1987-2010.

David helped found the London Time Bank, and was co-founder of Time Banking UK. He has been a candidate for Parliament of the United Kingdom. He was editor of the weekly Liberal Democrat News from 1992-1998.

His bestselling books for Kindle have mainly been about history, including Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma, Peace on Earth and Unheard, Unseen.

Product Description

Review

‘A beguiling vision of hope for the future.’ Time Out

‘Authenticity has always been seeping out of our lives…and yet…[it] has a habit of fighting back. David Boyle walks the front lines of the way between real and fake.’ Financial Times

‘Boyle joins a long line, from Plato to Keynes, who argue that our view of reality, whether the figurative shadows on a cave wall, or the numbers called on a trading floor, is a speculative froth that distracts us from a superior reality.’ Telegraph

‘An insightful, ambitious argument.’ Independent

‘A book beginning here could easily be another polemic against consumer capitalism, superficial politics and the influence of a cynical media. Though Boyle criticises all three, his argument is subtler than bestselling broadsides like Naomi Klein's “No Logo” or Michael Moore’s “Stupid White Men”…The guts of the argument are that we need to find a new set of relationships between democracy, individualism and capitalism… its wide range, well-written examples and lively style offer something for us all.’ Management Today

‘A bold attempt to pull together a thousand strands of modern nostalgia and unease and present them as a unified whole.’ Scotsman

About the Author

David Boyle is the author of Funny Money and The Tyranny of Numbers. Editor of New Economics since 1988, he has also edited a range of other publications. David Boyle is a Fellow of the RSA and a well-known figure in organisations such as the New Economics Foundation. He has been a Winston Churchill Fellow and is a regular broadcaster on the future of money, cities, economics and now – reality.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr A M Simms on 30 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
You know something authentic is important when multinational corporations spend millions trying to fake it. That's the insight of this book. It shows in case after case how big business is playing catch-up with people's desire for a real connection with the world around them - but never quite 'gets it.'
The reason, it seems, is that the failed markets presided over by our age's corporate leviathans are culturally innoculated by their own business models from the real world. Their executives float above us in glass-walled office suites, business class flights and five star hotels and make decisions that roll out goods and services identically around the world, virtually regardless of local place and context. Meanwhile, the modern backlash, the quest for the real and authentic, is being met by individual artists, entrepeneurs and community activists who've never been inside a boardroom.
What makes the book so enjoyable is that Boyle is a great story teller. And, like the best, he loves his characters and empathises with their world. What also comes through is that the author is not just an observer. His insights come from someone who also actually 'does things' at the local level.
Reading authenticity is like being released into fresh air from a room where you have been suffocated by commercial fakery, lies and corporate desperation - a place where men in suits pursuade you of your own inadequacy, and then promptly sell you an answer to it.
So, feel the breeze, buy the book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alex MacGillivray on 25 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I strongly recommend this if you're dubious about fake food, culture and politics. You'll feel as though you've been on a real whirlwind tour around consumer-mad Britain, France, the USA and Japan, accompanied by an astute and irreverent guide. The author is definely on to something with the New Realists, but doesn't preach. If David Boyle didn't exist, we'd have to invent him. Excellent.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lovborg on 26 July 2004
Format: Paperback
With all the humourless self-satisfaction of the eternally right, David Boyle launches into a confused yarn about authenticity, and the tone remains self-satisfied, rather than satisfying throughout this earnest and meandering work.
This is not a dreadful book, in fact it has a number of useful and interesting examples in it. But it is a very poor take on a fascinating and important phenomenon, and there are too many examples that are asserted rather than argued. The success of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings etc. does not herald an escape into fantasy, apparently, but a reassertion of reality. Why? Because he has a quote to hand that says that storytelling is always about reality, that's why.
If you're happy to pick and choose, then you'll find much to use in here. If you want to be involved in an argument that you believe and feel you can add to, I fear you'll find that Boyle's tone and sudden assertions of fact are off-putting and distancing.
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3 of 16 people found the following review helpful By jill on 26 Dec. 2004
Format: Paperback
Boyle's central argument, for a future based on appreciation of the "authentic" (yes, the inverted commas raise yet skirt an issue), is interesting but sadly mired in typographical and factual errors. His prose is hedged - replete with extraneous, journalistic dashes - and lazily researched; the reader will learn nothing new from what is, essentially, a cobbled together rehearsal of now trite mass-cultural critiques, from those diatribes beloved of the Franfurt School to Naomi Klein's more impassioned No Logo, which is all-too-obvious template. I'm sure there is a great disquisition to be written on the subject, but this undergrad-style, pat re-tread is sadly not it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Better than The World is Flat. 12 July 2006
By J. Rodeck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Makes you realize the artificiality of our existence today. Full of interesting anecdotes, and pithy quotes of great philosophers, theologians, economists. How this book can be so ignored while such a trifle like *The Tipping Point* can be so successful is shocking. It's probably because of its dreadful generic cover and funky title. Too bad; this book will get your mind racing!
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