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Bonfire Of The Brands: How I Learnt to Live Without Labels: How I Learned to Live Without Labels [Paperback]

Neil Boorman
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Sep 2007
Average number of ads exposed to each day: 3000 Average number of ads exposed to by age of 65: 2 million Average number of brand names memorised by a 10-year-old: 400 Worldwide advertising spend in 2006: $427 billion. In our consumer world, saturated by branded goods, is there any escape from the vice-grip of advertising on all our lives? Neil Boorman, journalist, brand consulatant (and recovering brand addict), draws on his vast professional and personal experience to build a compelling case for change. In Bonfire Of The Brands he assesses the impact of advertising on the individual, the broader implications for society as a whole and the consequences for the near future. If the industry won't give it up, is it time for the individual to take back control?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (6 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841959871
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841959870
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 852,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


... gives a revealing critique of the modern consumer. -- Brand Strategy

... makes for a great read... a vivid portrait of one man's relationship with adverts and unnecessary spending. -- New Statesman

Boorman has brains, humility and a winning style. -- Financial Times

His diary is thoughtful, wry, self-aware and self serving in a positive sense. -- The Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

'If we don't shift to a less consumerist and throwaway society, we'll hit crisis after crisis, and it's coming soon.' Clare Short

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Branded from birth 7 Sep 2007
Having watched all Neil Boorman's branded goods go up in flames last year on BBC News 24, I was eager to read his book Bonfire of the Brands. I don't usually read `political' books, but this is a page-turner. It takes a diary form, with personal experiences of his own `de-branding' alongside an analysis of contemporary culture and the history of brands.

There's been so much hype about the book recently that I wasn't sure if it was going to deliver all it promised, but it`s in turn, humorous, candid and thought-provoking. At some level, we are all sucked into consuming products that we don't really need, and although Neil's actions are pretty extreme, there's something to be said for a more moderate approach to buying, especially as the world faces escalating ecological and environmental challenges.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars witty and thought-provoking 13 Sep 2007
Before I read this, I would have said that it would be impossible to lead a brand-free existence (even supermarket own-brand is a brand?), but Neil Boorman seems to have actually done it - right down to making his own toothpaste.

I also needed some persuading to the idea that brands are bad. Surely they just help us make decisions about what to buy? But Neil's painfully honest confessions about how he obsessed over labels has made me question why I buy the things I do ... and made me realise that most of it is a waste of money. We're being sold an unattainable dream rather than a product.

If you're a fan of Alain De Botton's books you'll enjoy the similar way in which Boorman takes complicated ideas (in this case about branding and marketing) and makes them easily understandable - without ever dumbing down.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever spent over 100 on an item of basic clothing (jeans, trainers, handbags..) - you'll laugh-out loud with recognition of brand-anxiety that Neil describes.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Neil Boorman's infamous bonfire of the brands seems to divide people a little. They either think that burning all his branded possessions is self indulgent and gimmicky, or they think it's an inspired act of rebellion. Personally, I think there's something of the Old Testament prophet about it - a big over-the-top gesture that, love it or hate it, makes its point memorably and gets people talking.

The book itself continues the conversation that the fire started. It reads like a diary, written initially as a blog as Neil prepared for his bonfire. It includes the background of branding, lists of things to burn, sessions with his therapist, and lots of wry reflections on famous brands. The literature of the anti-corporation movement is often a little humourless, and this is a welcome change of perspective as Neil tries to make his own toothpaste, agonizes over throwing away his Ralph Lauren shirts, and laments the loss of his Blackberry. I found lots that made me laugh, and lots that made me think too, adding up to an enjoyable read that has a more serious message than you might expect.
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2.0 out of 5 stars groan 12 Dec 2013
By m. dosa
i did not get far in this book the idea of a brand addicted chap burning his former passion had me thinking donate it all to the charity shop a crass form of self publicity and the book design is so smug
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 1 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was an interesting read, and indeed a journey. I found it thought provoking, and it certainly made me think about my own consumption - which is not comparable to this! Shopping has become a hobby for us as a nation, what would we all rather be doing instead? Provided some good references also, further reading to be done...
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