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Buyology: How Everything We Believe About Why We Buy Is Wrong Hardcover – 28 Oct 2008

3.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business (28 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847940110
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847940117
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.3 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 317,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Lindstrom brings together a great many strands of research to build a fascinating case. The writing is snappy and the book s a page turner --BBC Focus November 2008

A must-have for those involved with marketing and advertising --ReFresh


'... thorough and persuasive ... rewarding reading not just for marketing professionals, but for anyone interested in the way we behave.'

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
buyology presents a few interesting insights, but mostly the narrative is marred by the authors irrelevant and boastful ego trip. Also - I find the book lacking in nuance. E.g. Lindstrom often reports that X has an effect on Y - but not how big an effect, and alternative explanations are not given much thought nor space.

Mostly the book fails because it does not tell us why we react in certain ways. In that respect the book simply shows us that brainscanning can tell us which advertising schemes works. But brainscanning can't tell us in advance how or why this works and that does not. Also the book lacks a discussion of how the brainscanning set-up is different from real-world advertising. E.g. It's all fine that mirror-neurons get credit for the ipod fad, but why only the ipod? Why not all other products?

A better book, with focus on the brain, would be A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives. Also The Political Brain: How We Make Up Our Minds Without Using Our Heads is highly reccommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a pretty lightweight book, and self-indulgent as well.

Most people will learn very little of interest that they probably don't already know. The possible exception to this is facts about the author himself, which are sprinkled throughout the text. Did you know he has an "extremely young, boyish-looking face"? Or that he has "raked-back blond hair"? Do you care?

So anyway, what I have learned is that we don't remember most of the advertisments we see; and we mostly buy stuff for irrational, unconscious or emotional reasons. And by scanning people's brains, you can see how different parts respond to brands and logos. This gives you a bit of insight into hard-to-explain human behaviour, such as smokers who smoke heavily despite the dire health warnings on cigarette packets.

Other amazing things I've learned include the fact that the smell of coffee makes you want to drink coffee.

As far as the book itself goes, Lindstrom fails to produce a decent narrative - it's just a jumble of loosely-connected facts, heaps and heaps of padding, repetition and irrelevant personal details. Plus I spotted a couple of dubious-looking "facts" which I easily found to be incorrect with a quick search of the web.

And as for the author himself - well, after a while he just comes across as egotistical, if not mildy delusional. He's just puffing up a few fairly obvious bits of science into a book he can use to promote his own personal brand.

Oh, and he claims to be responsible for egg yolks being bright yellow. I kid you not.
Comment 71 of 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like other bona fide readers of this book, I found it a strange mixture: it does have some interesting insights. But these are overshadowed by the vanity of the author. As well as a shocking sloppiness about facts: for example, one of the two scientific techniques used in the research that supposedly underpins this books is "S.S.T." What does SST actually stand for? Good question - in some parts of the book (e.g. the index) he says it stands for "Solid State Typography". Elsewhere is the book he says it stands for "Solid State Topography". (e.g. page 208). If he can't get even that right, it's difficult to trust him elsewhere.

Speaking of trust. I can't help notice that reviews on this site for this book fall into two camps: reviews like mine, which say the book is "okay but". There there are THIRTY reviews which give it a 5. All these reviews appear to be by reviewers who have reviewed no other book, and give this work one paragraph reviews that verge on the ecstatic: "Mind Blowing!" "Oh what a book!" "Perfectly written". I'm sorry, and I don't wish to offend anyone, but I find it difficult to believe that all these reviews are genuine.

If you're interested in the subject, worth buying -- but be prepared to skip the bits about what a genius the author is, and treat the book with caution -- as well as some of the reviews about it you can read here.
2 Comments 44 of 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
This book talks about research which has been carried out to determine what makes us buy things. Paco Underhill wrote "Why we Buy" but his approach has been to study people in supermarkets and understand behaviour that way. This book uses the latest in technology - eg MRI - to assess reactions to things. So there is a kind of bizarre fascination in reading how we really do not understand why we react to things in a particular way - it is all determined by the subconscious. Some very interesting findings are presented. My problem is that reading this book is a bit like going on a treasure hunt. There are some wonderful grains of genius, but there is a lot of fluff around it. I got the impression that this author was padding it out so that he could produce a decent length book and make a lot of money. He repeats himself a lot and engages in a lot of "Did you think X? Well, the next chapter will show you how wrong you were" or "I thought Y, and I set out to prove it". OK, I can see the author is some kind of genius, but this book really should provide more for your money than a few interesting facts dressed up in a long and rambling tale.

If you're interested in marketing then by all means buy this book but be prepared to be bored at least half of the time.
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