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Hidden Persuaders, The [Paperback]

Vance Packard
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 Oct 2007
A discussion of how modern advertising attempts to control our thoughts and desires in order to make us buy the products it produces.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing; Reissue Ed edition (10 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097884310X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978843106
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 16.1 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criticism at its best 19 Dec 2009
By Peter Buckley VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Vance Packard was a ground-breaking social critic best known for `The Hidden Persuaders', which detailed how behavioural scientists recruited by the American advertising industry were increasingly using psychological techniques to increase sales. Motivational Research aimed to discover the reasons people bought one brand over another, fuelled purchasing `crazes', and generally spent in a seemingly non-logical or irrational way, revealing much about themselves to the observant analyst. Our subconscious attitudes, they discovered, are far from being the entire explanation of our buying behaviour, but manipulating them went a long way to help companies overcome hostility to their products.
Since this information has increasingly been traded, in order to persuade us to buy any number of goods, often in a manner cynically eroding individuality, Packard believed consumers should develop a `recognition reflex', to protect against the merchandising manipulators, or persuaders, because ultimately assuming that Commerce is merely supplying what we, the consumer, demands, is outmoded and simplistic.
Packard believes we are far more cautious about religion and politics, even though both can use alarmingly similar techniques to manipulate. Interestingly, many see the world as comprising these three elements; namely Religion, Politics and Commerce.
Most of us would like to think of ourselves as shrewd, careful, hard-headed consumers, highly individual, informed and enlightened. Ironically, this very image, by appealing to our vanities, is the one most favoured by the agencies persuading us to buy their products, from cars, insurance, foodstuffs, tobacco, clothing and cosmetics (specific products focused on in this book).
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Anyone dubious about consumerism should read this and anyone who supports it cannot morally justify it in light of this staggering book. Packard wrote a meticulously researched, highly readable and shocking account of how the subconcious minds of the American public have been manipulated by the use of psychological testing to sell them mass produced good from the 50s onwards. This book needed to be written and is an unsettling and often sickening account of the lengths to which advertisers have gone to pursuade consumers to buy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A groundbreaking book on marketing and consumerism. 12 April 2007
By Jay
Format:Hardcover
A popular phrase entitled 'We have ways to make you think' is fully exemplified in this book written half a century ago. Fast forward to today and we discover that these theories form the crux of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP) the 3 most important words in Marketing. With a more Politically Correct (PC) society, many of these perceptions have been dispelled but have given rise to others with the rise of the Web and E Marketing. A groundbreaking book on marketing and consumerism.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book 21 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
I can't remember where I got the recommendation to buy this book but I know it had something to do with Mad Men, and I was interested to read more about the advertising industry and the history of same. It is a really good book, so grab it if you are at all interested in this subject, because it often goes out of stock, but always seems to remain in print so that speaks volumes about the quality of the book itself even after all this time. Very enjoyable and suprising read about how people can be manipulated into buying just about anything.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading 9 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is staggering that a book published in 1957 should remain so relevant, vibrant and important over 5 decades later. This is the story of how the consumer society was created by motivating the public to desire, consume and replace what they probably don't need and didn't know that they wanted. All the techniques described continue to be used to manipulate the public and drive an economy based on consumption, built in obsolescence and fad.

This should be essential reading for all young people in secondary school. However, unfortunately, the power of the persuaders is so great and our will, mine included, so weak that even knowing we are being manipulated for other's profit we continue to fall for it over and over again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book 10 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
written many years ago but still valid today you can't trust advertisers to tell the complete truth a very good read if a little dry
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By roberto
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is of essential importance to know our recent past to understand our society and its means of control. This book is an introduction to the strategies used in the society of consumerism. An easy read worth the time and money invested.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant !!!
The same goes for this work as my assessment on The Waste Makers
A great Book to have on your shelf 10 out of 10 !
Published 9 months ago by Gimartin
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting
this book is highly interesting and really makes you think about advertising and the way it influences the mind. Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2011 by Blue Lotus
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Marvellous.

A classic (first published in 1957) about the advertising industry and the use of psychology to create a consumer society. Read more
Published on 25 Oct 2011 by Pete Burden
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldie but goodie
Vance Packard's book changed the way I thought about marketing, I first read it in the early sixties and it was a revelation. Read more
Published on 18 Aug 2011 by Mr. Robert P. Green
4.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Persuaders
A thought provoking book---very well worth reading----I first read it many many years ago when the author's views were relevant and accurate but perhaps a little before his time... Read more
Published on 24 April 2011 by FionaH Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have read classic
A sign of the times is this book. Advertising in the mid 50's based on motivation research. Can we allow it or not? Is it ethical to do so? It is Madman in a written form. Read more
Published on 27 May 2010 by H. Nieuwenhuis
5.0 out of 5 stars The "evils" of advertizing
It's valuable to have this book in my library once more; it should be prescribed reading for everyone exposed to the attacks on our reasoning by devious advertizers - and that... Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2009 by BM Edwards
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